Rishi Sunak vows to electrify North Wales Main Line with funds from cancelled HS2 leg

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to electrify the North Wales Main Line using money from the cancelled HS2 leg to Manchester.

During his speech at the Tory Party Conference in Manchester, Sunak said he was cancelling the rest of the HS2 project and reinvesting every single penny to provide better transport links.

The £36 billion pounds that would have been spent on the high speed rail line from London to Manchester has now been pledged towards regions including North Wales.

The £36 billion pounds that would have been spent on the HS2 leg has now been pledged towards improving transport across the country. Credit: PA Images

The Prime Minister told delegates: "What we really need is better transport connections in the north. I wanted to come here to Manchester to say this will be our priority."

Sunak described his plans for the new 'Network North' as the most ambitious scheme for northern transport ever undertaken by a government.

The Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies said: "There's been discussion of North Wales rail's electrification for the past forty years, so the news is absolutely brilliant for people across the whole of North Wales today."

People in Prestatyn had mixed views on the Prime Minister's announcement. One said: "I think it's just false hopes, they're just doing it to gain votes for the election next year."

Another local said she thought Wales' rail network was very antiquated and had been under invested for such a long time, she described it as a 'pipe dream'.

One woman, a frequent user of North Wales' train services was very happy with the news and said "there's always room for improvements."

Sunak's announcement comes a day after Vaughan Gething said the cancellation of the HS2 leg beyond Birmingham would be a betrayal by the Conservative Government to the North of England.

Sunak described his plans for the new 'Network North' as the most ambitious scheme for Northern Transport ever undertaken by a government. Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Economy Minister also added that it had "always been a fiction that HS2 was an England and Wales project."

HS2 had been classified an England and Wales project - with the UK government arguing that it would boost reliability, connectivity and capacity on routes across the UK, including services into Wales.

A station at Crewe was planned to be an interchange for people travelling from North Wales to London and because of this, Wales was denied extra funding.

In response to the Prime Minister's announcement, Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies MS, said: “His announcement is great news for Wales with substantial funding to electrify the North Wales Rail Mainline."

North Wales, Vale of Clwyd MP James Davies also welcomed Sunak's pledge.

He said: "This £1 billion investment will transform North Wales’ public transport infrastructure, getting more people off the roads and on to trains, and giving the North Wales economy the shot in the arm it desperately needs.”   

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