£340m railway upgrade planned for Liverpool City Region

Liverpool Albert Docks - City Centre
Network Rail announces investment as part of Upgrade Plan
Published Tue, 2016-03-22 11:23

Liverpool City Region (LCR) train passengers are to benefit from £340 million of rail improvements over the next three years.




Liverpool Albert Docks - City Centre © Beverley Goodwin - Wikimedia Commons

The investment, by Network Rail and the Liverpool City Region – much through Government’s Growth Deal funding– will provide passengers with faster, more frequent and more reliable train services by 2019.

The improvements - part of Network Rail’s nationwide Railway Upgrade Plan - will help meet a forecast 100% increase in demand for rail travel across the region.

They will pave the way for additional services, such as planned new First Transpennine Express services from Liverpool to Glasgow in 2019, and new Liverpool-to-Chester services. 

Of the £340m, Network Rail is contributing £229m with the Liverpool City Region putting in £111m.
The work will include:

  • building new and longer platforms at Liverpool Lime Street station to accommodate more services and longer trains
  • renewing tracks on the underground loop on the Merseyrail network
  • adding additional track between Huyton and Roby to allow faster trains to overtake local services
  • building a new station at Maghull North and revamping Newton-le-Willows station
  • installing a new section of railway to enable frequent new services between Liverpool and Chester, with ambitions of extending these into North Wales.

Network Rail has been working closely with partners to ensure that robust alternative travel arrangements are in place while these improvements are carried out. 

The main areas of investment are:
Liverpool Lime Street
At Liverpool Lime Street station, track, signalling and platform upgrades will enable longer trains and more frequent services and once completed will create the potential for three extra services per hour to leave from Lime Street station. Lime Street station is expected to close for a period in autumn 2017 and again in 2018, where alternative transport will be provided to passengers. Work is on-going to ensure services and access are maintained for customers with quality onward travel solutions such as rail to rail transfers where ever possible.

Liverpool underground upgrade
The final phase the on-going renewal of the riverbed and loop line ‘slab track’ – the railway track on the Wirral line and underground loop section of the Merseyrail network will take place between January and June 2017. This will improve the safety and reliability of services using the underground, which was built in the 1970s. Where previously this work has been undertaken piecemeal Network Rail are grouping the remaining elements together to reduce disruption and complete the works sooner.

Huyton to Roby upgrade
To enable faster services between Liverpool and the east, extra track will be built between Huyton and Roby stations to allow faster services to overtake local stopping services.  This work completes the work already undertaken at Huyton in 2014.

New Liverpool to Chester service – the re-opening of the Halton Curve
The full business case for the scheme is expected to be considered by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority at its meeting in April. If approved, work is expected to begin in June 2017 and be completed by May 2018.

It is proposed that a new service between Liverpool and Chester, serving Liverpool Lime Street, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Runcorn, Frodsham and Helsby  will be created through the resignalling and upgrading of existing single direction track  on the Halton Curve. The existing line, which currently only runs one way passenger services in the summer, will be upgraded to provide a 2 way hourly service with connections to North Wales in the future.

The scheme is supported by Growth Deal funding to Merseytravel.

Weaver to Wavertree re-signalling
Resignalling work on 16 miles of track between Edge Hill Station in the north and Winsford in the south will get underway this summer, with work starting in full in 2017.  Five signal boxes will be removed with control moving to the new state-of-the-art Manchester Rail Operating Centre, part of Network Rail’s wider modernisation programme.

Newton le Willows station
Newton le Willows station will be transformed, with improvements including a new bus interchange and extended car park facilities and a new booking hall on the south side of the station, with improved access to facilities via new lifts, subway and stairs. Rail users will also benefit from the electrification programme that is increasing capacity and shortening journey times between Liverpool and Manchester.
The scheme is supported by Growth Deal funding to Merseytravel.

Maghull North (new station)
A new station is to be created between Maghull and Town Green Stations on the Liverpool Central to Ormskirk branch of the Merseyrail network Northern Line to support increasing demand and extensive new housing and employment developments expected in the area. Work will include the creation of a new ticket office, provision of park and ride facilities and lifts and a footbridge to platforms.

The scheme is supported by Growth Deal Funding to Merseytravel.

The LCR improvements are part of Network Rail’s Northern Programmes - several billion pounds’ worth of work included in the company’s £40 billion nationwide Railway Upgrade Plan, delivered across the five years to 31 March 2019. The plan is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth the railway has seen - a doubling of passengers in the past 20 years. The plan will deliver a bigger, better railway with more trains, longer trains, faster trains with more infrastructure, more reliable infrastructure and better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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