Better rail connections between the Liverpool City Region and North Wales, and more modern trains, have been broadly welcomed by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
The improvements were revealed as part of the new arrangements for the Wales and Borders rail franchise.
Under the new 15-year franchise, to be operated by KeolisAmey, £5 billion will be invested, with all current trains replaced, and 95% of journeys made on new-build stock.
Additional trains will run between Liverpool and Chester from December 2018, on the newly-completed Halton Curve, which was funded by £18.7m from the Combined Authority.
There will be more frequent trains on the Wrexham-Bidston line, with two trains every hour from December 2021.
And in December 2022 new services will be introduced from Liverpool to Llandudno and Shrewsbury and between Liverpool and Cardiff.
Commenting on the announcement, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, said:
“We broadly welcome these new arrangements, which will improve connections between the city region and North Wales, opening up a huge range of work and leisure opportunities for our residents.
“We have received everything we asked for, which is testament to the strong working relationships we have built up with the Welsh Assembly and other partners.
“My only concern is that I am impatient for change and some of the timescales for these improvements are a little long and depend on new trains being ordered and built. That aside, however, this is great news and should provide a huge economic boost for the Liverpool City Region and our neighbours in North Wales and Cheshire.”
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority recently invested £19m to re-open the Halton Curve, a key piece of line enabling better rail connections between the city region and North Wales. Work was completed over the recent Bank Holiday weekend.