A £340m package of rail improvements in the Liverpool City Region (LCR) over the next three years aims to provide passengers with faster, more frequent and more reliable services.
The package is part of Network Rail’s nationwide Railway Upgrade Plan and will be jointly funded by Network Rail and LCR, with cash coming from Growth Deal funding. Network Rail is contributing £229m, with the LCR putting in £111m.
The improvements aim to help the region cope with its forecast 100% increase in demand by 2043 and 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.
Transport committee chair Louise Ellman backs the plans
Merseytravel, the strategic transport advisor to the LCR Combined Authority, is the project lead for a number of the schemes.
Cllr Liam Robinson, chair of Merseytravel said: ‘We welcome this investment. It’s essential in keeping the Liverpool City Region moving now, and in the future. Network Rail’s investment is in addition to the funding we have secured from Government for certain key schemes and also that we’ve raised locally.
‘It’s helping deliver the first stage of our 30-year Long Term Rail Strategy, supporting economic growth by boosting connections and capacity within the City Region and beyond. We see this as essential incremental improvement ahead of transformational schemes such as high speed links north-south and east- west to ensure we fulfil our potential as a key player in the Northern Powerhouse.’
Louise Ellman, MP for Liverpool Riverside and chair of the Transport Select Committee, said: ‘This multimillion pound investment will give Liverpool a first class station with better local, regional and national links. It is another vital step in Liverpool’s regeneration.’
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 to extend these into North Wales.
Network Rail said it has been working closely with partners to ensure that robust alternative travel arrangements are in place while improvements are carried out.