Rail passengers in the north-west of England are set to benefit from a major programme to upgrade tracks and facilities around Liverpool, it has been announced.
Network Rail and the Liverpool City Region LEP will pump £340 million into the improvements, which will help deliver faster, more frequent and more reliable passenger services by 2019. This will be vital in meeting a projected 100 per cent increase in demand for rail travel in the region by 2043.
Among the improvements will be new and longer platforms at the city’s Lime Street hub, a completely new station at Maghull North and the introduction of new tracks between Huyton and Roby, which will allow faster trains to overtake local services.
A new section of railway will also enable frequent new services between Liverpool and Chester, with future plans to extend these into North Wales.
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “Our aim over the next three years is to give the people of Liverpool the high-quality rail services they deserve. With demand for rail travel expected to rise by 100 per cent over the coming years, these improvements are vital for the future growth and prosperity of this great city region.”
While he added efforts will be made to keep disruption to a minimum during the work, chair of Merseytravel Liam Robinson acknowledged there will be some “significant changes to how people make their journeys” as the upgrades take place.
Liverpool Lime Street, for instance, is expected to be closed for a period in autumn 2017, and again in 2018, as work to upgrade track, signalling and platforms takes place. Alternative transport solutions will be implemented for these times.
Sara Wilde McKeown, chair of the LCR Visitor Economy Board, said: “Whilst the works will bring short term disruptions, following early engagement with Network Rail and Merseytravel, we are confident that the contingency measures being put in place will minimise inconvenience and provide visitors with a different, but seamless journey experience.”