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‘Too early’ to say when major railway line will be electrified, says minister

It is “too early” to say when the North Wales Main Line will be electrified, a government minister has said.

Mark Harper, the UK government’s transport secretary, said the project to electrify the line will involve “unprecedented investment” in the region.

The Department for Transport says the £1bn investment in improvements to the line will be funded after plans to extend HS2 north of Birmingham were scrapped.

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There have previously been calls for Wales to get “up to £5bn” by re-designating the project as England-only.

The UK government argues HS2 is a “national project” which benefits both countries, despite the line not entering Wales.

Asked when the North Wales Main Line project will happen, Mr Harper said it is “too early” to give a timetable.

He said he was “not going to pluck a figure out of the air”, adding: “I think people are very realistic.”

The 126-mile route runs between Crewe, Warrington, Wrexham and Holyhead.

At the port in Holyhead, ferry services run to and from Dublin.

Local MPs, councillors and business leaders met with Mr Harper in Llandudno on Friday to discuss the project.

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The electrification of the Great Western Railway line connecting London and South Wales ran several times over its expected budget of around £900m.

Mr Harper said the government had “learned a lot” from that project.

Sky News Source