With a summit of Northern leaders taking place in Leeds yesterday to discuss transport and a recent petition calling for the reinstatement of cancelled electrification schemes and demanding more investment in the north gaining over 80,000 signatures, Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Transport Committee, explains why it is important that we continue to push for fairer investment in our rail services.

"Yesterday's summit of Northern leaders in Leeds to discuss transport is a great example of how areas across the north are coming together to fight for a fairer share of funding for major transport schemes, which will help amplify our own rail ambitions in the Liverpool City Region.

"Many people are right to be angry over the recent cancellation by the Department of Transport of electrification schemes and the imbalance of investment in the North's transport network compared to the South.

"A strong rail network is fundamental in helping to grow the economy and is at the heart of our ambitious 30 Year vision outlined in the Liverpool City Region "Long Term Rail Strategy" an evolving document which was first published in 2014 and is due to be refreshed soon.

"We are already well on the way to delivering some of the initial local projects from that, working together with rail operators and Network Rail on improvements to Newton-le-Willows station, the new station at Maghull North and the re-opening of the Halton Curve, bringing back the opportunity for direct rail services to Wales from Liverpool, all of which are scheduled to be completed next year. All of this is on top of the work taking place to improve capacity at Lime Street station which will see new, additional services from the end of 2019, including a direct service to Scotland.

"We have a number of other aims in the long-term, including a rail link to Skelmersdale, improvements to the Borderlands Bidston to Wrexham line and the Ormskirk to Preston line (which would include the reintroduction of the Burscough curves).

"Anyone wanting to find out more information about key investment in City Region rail schemes by the end of 2019 should visit www.keepliverpoolmoving.com.

"However, we have bigger ambitions working as part of Transport for the North, for high speed rail links for Liverpool north-south and west-east , which would help with the capacity issues that currently limit further development of our existing rail network, both for freight and passengers, linking us closer across the North and beyond.

"While none of this work would be cheap, the evidence is clear that such investment will significantly grow our local and regional economy. We have bags of ambition locally for this agenda- it's time the Government matched this with the transformational investment that the North needs."