Cookies and We use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive them.
You can read more about how we use cookies, and turn them off, on this page.


£340m railway upgrade planned for Liverpool City region

21 March 2016

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


Network Rail is contributing £229m, and the Liverpool City Region £111m – much through the Government’s Growth Deal funding – to provide passengers with faster, more frequent and more reliable train services by 2019.

The 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 – and will help to meet a forecast 100 per cent increase in demand for rail travel across the region. By 2043 there will be double the number of passengers entering Liverpool in the morning peak.

The plan is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth the railway has seen.

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

Among the work to take place, new and longer platforms at Liverpool Lime Street station will accommodate more services and longer trains. A new station will be built at Maghull North, while Newton-le-Willows station will be revamped, 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.

New sections of railway will enable improvements to journeys, with frequent new services planned between Liverpool and Chester – if approved, work is expected to begin in June 2017 and be completed by May 2018 – and the ambition to extend these into North Wales. New track between Huyton and Roby will allow faster trains to overtake local services, completing work undertaken at Huyton in 2014. Tracks on the underground loop on the Merseyrail network will also be renewed.

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.

During this work Liverpool will remain open for business, welcoming visitors to the city as well as providing vital transport links for commuters.

Our focus during any disruption is to take a similar approach to the Commonwealth Games, to ensure that while journeys will be slightly different, that they run smoothly enabling access to the city at all times.

Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail 

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

Merseytravel is the strategic transport advisor to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and project lead for a number of the schemes.

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’.

Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel

Find out more and see this investment brought to life in an animation

Other works expected as part of the upgrade

Track signalling and platform upgrades at Liverpool Lime Street to enable longer trains and more frequent services. 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.

The final phase in the ongoing renewal of the railway track on the Wirral line and underground loop section of the Merseyrail network will take place between January and June 2017, improving 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.

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. Signal control will move to the new state-of-the-art Manchester Rail Operating Centre, as part of Network Rail’s wider modernisation programme.

It’s a welcome sign of our success and growing economy, with more jobs and businesses, that there is more demand for train services to travel both around the city region and beyond.  This investment will mean real improvements for people in every corner of the city region, while we continue to lobby hard for the big transformational investments like HS2 and HS3.

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, and Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

See the Liverpool City Region’s long-term rail strategy on the Merseytravel website

More information on Liverpool City Region Growth Deal Funding