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Capital Investment (Rail)

Volume 554: debated on Wednesday 28 November 2012

13. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on capital investment in rail infrastructure in Wales; and if he will make a statement. (129645)

I discussed railway infrastructure with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport when I met him last month. Last week I met local authorities and business leaders in north Wales to confirm my commitment to progressive electrification of the railways in Wales.

I was disappointed to read in a recent letter from the Minister of State, Department for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr Burns) that the Welsh Government has not prioritised the electrification of the north Wales line. In view of the fact that the Welsh Government do not seem to be interested in north Wales, will the Secretary of State provide an assurance that the Wales Office will prioritise expenditure on the north Wales line in due course?

As my hon. Friend will know, only last Friday I held a meeting in Llandudno, the consequence of which was the formation of a working group to work towards the electrification of the north Wales coast line. The group has started its work and I hope that it will receive support from hon. Members in this House.

Far from the Assembly’s Transport Minister not being interested in north Wales, he represents a north Wales seat and has been communicating with me about electrifying the Wrexham-Bidston line. Will the Secretary of State please join our communication and work with us to improve public transport networks in north-east Wales?

The Wrexham-Bidston line was also a matter under discussion last Friday. I mention again the two enterprise zones in Wirral Waters and Deeside, which would benefit enormously from the electrification of that line. I am very supportive of what the hon. Gentleman says.