A £200million rail upgrade linking North Wales and the North West of England through a new super-hub at Chester can power a pandemic bounce-back boom in the region, it has been claimed.

The investment would include £60m to speed up the North Wales main line to Holyhead, £60m to modernise and upgrade Chester Station and £80m to connect Wrexham to Liverpool, including £20m for a new station on Deeside.

The proposed investment package will be presented at Regional Recovery 2021, an online conference this month for the North Wales Mersey Dee area, to be attended by public and private sector leaders including government ministers from both Westminster and Cardiff.

Leading the bid will be Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chair of Growth Track 360, the campaign group launched by a cross-border alliance of business and political leaders.

Taking part will be Welsh Government Economy Minister Ken Skates MS and UK Government Ministers, Paul Scully MP, from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and David Davies MP, from the Welsh Office.

Regional Recovery 2021 is being held on Wednesday, February 24, and will also involve political and business leaders from the Mersey Dee Alliance, Cheshire and Warrington LEP and the North Wales Economic Ambition Board.

Councillor Gittins said: “Growth Track 360 is pursuing a two-track strategy, firstly by seeking investment in the region of North Wales and the Mersey-Dee cross-border area and secondly seeking to influence major strategic UK rail investments like HS2.

“We are calling for an upgrade to the North Wales Coast Main Line to enable more trains to run along the line more quickly, for a redevelopment of Chester Station to increase services to the rest of the UK.

“We also want a transformation of the Wrexham to Bidston line into a Wrexham to Liverpool service that runs services similar to the MerseyRail network and forms the basis of a cross border metro system based on rail hubs with connecting bus services and travel corridors.

“These local investments will enable better, economy-boosting connectivity from North Wales and Cheshire to the big UK rail investments in HS2 at Crewe to London and the Midlands, Northern Powerhouse Rail at Warrington to Manchester, Leeds and the Northern Cities and access to Manchester and its international airport, our gateway to the world.”

The ambitious rail plan aims for an initial £20m to get the ball rolling with a 20-year plan aimed at securing £1bn of rail improvements, which would transform the North Wales and Cheshire economy and deliver 70,000 new jobs.

Cllr Mark Pritchard, chair of the MDA and Wrexham Council Leader, said: “Investment in the Mersey Dee Alliance geography is critical to enable a post-Covid economic recovery and meet the challenge of Brexit for the regional economy.

“We are looking for a substantial sum to counter the impact of Covid on employers like Airbus and its supply chain. Our area needs to develop new markets as 80 per cent of exports made in the MDA area go to the EU.

“The economy has to adapt to climate change and eradicate carbon emissions from day to day operations including transport. This is a big agenda and we are starting with a transport infrastructure that has been held back by cross-border complexity where too many governmental cooks have spoilt the broth.”

Cllr Pritchard will be among the speakers at RR 2021 and joining him will be Gwynedd Council Leader Dyfrig Siencyn, Chair of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board and Clare Hayward MBE, Chair of Cheshire & Warrington LEP.

Regional Recovery 2021, hosted by former BBC Wales Today presenter Jamie Owen, takes place online on Wednesday, February 24, from 10am to 2.30pm and is free to attend.

Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/regional-recovery-2021-north-wales-mersey-dee-business-summit-tickets-132917779657