North West passengers set to benefit from major Christmas investment

  • Liverpool Lime Street station transformation delivering new and improved journeys
  • Historic Wyre Viaduct upgrade improving reliability on the West Coast main line
  • New tracks through platforms 13 & 14 at Manchester Piccadilly boosting reliability across the north
  • Buses replacing trains on the West Coast main line between Preston and Lancaster from late on 23 to 27 December

Train customers in the North West are being urged to check before they travel on nationalrail.co.uk over the Christmas period as Network Rail carries out a wealth of railway improvements.

While most people are enjoying time off with loved ones, a 32,600-strong Team Orange workforce will be grafting around the clock across Britain to make the railway more reliable, reduce journey times and improve facilities and services for passengers when they return to work.

As part of the Great North Rail Project*, work will continue on the transformation of Liverpool Lime Street station, £3m will be spent replacing track at Manchester Piccadilly station and £1.8m will be spent to protect and preserve the iconic Wyre Viaduct in Lancashire.

The work is part the biggest ever Christmas investment programme – a £160m tranche in Network Rail’s five-year, £50bn Railway Upgrade Plan. 

Martin Frobisher, managing director for Network Rail’s London North Western route business, said: “Tens of thousands of customers in the north are seeing their train journeys transformed by the Great North Rail Project. This is happening right now. It’s incredibly exciting.

“The railway is up to 50% quieter than usual during the festive period. By carrying out this kind of must-do work over the Christmas break we impact as few people as possible.”

Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: “We’re committed to making rail travel in the North of England faster, more comfortable and more reliable for customers throughout the region.

“Upgrades to Wyre Viaduct and the Manchester Piccadilly and Liverpool Lime Street stations, are crucial components in a once-in-a-generation programme of upgrades that are going to transform travel in the North, with more new services, new carriages and space for an extra 40,000 more passengers a day.”​

Sharon Keith, regional director at Northern said: “The Great North Rail Project is transforming rail journeys across the north of England and the Christmas engineering schedule is a vital part of this.

“We have worked closely with colleagues at Network Rail and other train operators to keep disruption to our customers to a minimum. The work will help pave the way for better and more reliable services and sets the tone for 2018 and beyond.”

Chris Nutton, Major Projects Director for TransPennine Express said: “The work taking place over Christmas is key to improving rail travel across the North and will allow us to run longer trains with more seats as well as introducing brand new services. 

“I would encourage anyone using trains over the festive period to plan ahead and check before they travel.” 

Overall there will be less disruption for rail users this year as most of the investment work – some 50% more than last year – has been scheduled on Christmas Day and Boxing Day when no trains run.

A breakdown of how some journeys will be affected can be found by visiting www.nationalrail.co.uk/Christmas and following #ChristmasBHWorks on Twitter.