Christmas upgrades: spotlight on London North Western

Ordsall Chord October 17

Improvements to railway travel in the north will get a major boost this festive season.

Wide-ranging upgrades on the London North Western route will help enable greater capacity, more reliable journeys and state-of-the-art trains for passengers.

Across Britain this Christmas and New Year, we’re carrying out a huge programme of improvements as part of our £50bn five-year Railway Upgrade Plan - the biggest sustained investment in the railway since Victorian times.

Over the holidays, a 25,000-strong workforce will carry out more than £148m of vital upgrades all over the country.

The railway will remain open for ‘business as usual’ as most of the network will be unaffected by upgrade work.

However, we remind all passengers to check before they travel because there will be significant changes to services on some routes.

What’s the London North Western route?

It’s our largest route, accounting for 24% of Britain’s railway. It stretches from London Euston and Marylebone in the south to the Chiltern and West Midlands regions, the North West of England and Cumbria, and Scotland via Gretna.

It’s home to the West Coast Mainline, the busiest mixed-use railway in Europe, serving London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

This year we completed a huge modernisation of Liverpool Lime Street station

How are we improving the route this Christmas?

On Merseyside, we’ll execute major infrastructure improvements as part of the multi-million-pound Liverpool City Region investment, including:

  • Signalling upgrades as part of the Weaver to Wavertree resignalling project. We’re re-controlling signalling areas in Allerton, Speke and Garston to the Manchester Rail Operating Centre. This will enable more reliable journeys and boost capacity in the area.
  • Remodelling of station platforms and track at James Street, Hamilton Square, Conway Park and Birkenhead Park on the Merseyrail network. This will prepare the Merseyrail stations for the arrival of their new, state-of-the-art trains from 2020 - in particular, making sure that the new trains’ sliding step can meet the platform edge.

In Greater Manchester, work will ensure faster, greener, new electric trains and further the progress of the Great North Rail Project electrification upgrade

Improvements will include:

  • Boosting of electrical feeds between Ordsall and Stalybridge. We’ll install an additional electrical feed to provide more resilience to power electric trains in the North West next year.
  • Overhead wire installation at Manchester Victoria.
  • Tunnel cabling work in Ashton-under-Lyne. This preparation work in the Katherine Street tunnel will enable new lineside cables.
  • Lineside drainage improvements near Ashton-under-Lyne station.
Manchester Piccadilly station

Station information for passengers:

  • Works for the Weaver to Wavertree resignalling project will take place between 9.15pm on Monday 24 December and 12.30am on Wednesday 2 January. Rail replacement buses will run between Runcorn and Liverpool South Parkway. It will also mean changes to some services to and from Liverpool Lime Street.
  • Improvements at James Street, Hamilton Square, Conway Park and Birkenhead Park on the Merseyrail network will mean rail replacement buses will run between Thursday 27 December and Thursday 3 January.

In Greater Manchester, the improvements will place between 11pm on Christmas Eve and 6pm on New Year’s Day. The upgrade at Manchester Victoria station will impact some services.