• Lime Street and Edge Hill stations will be closed this weekend (2-3 November)
• Passengers can still travel to/from central Liverpool on rail replacement buses or Merseyrail network
• 21st century signalling upgrade will mean more reliable journeys for passengers
Passengers are being reminded about a major signalling upgrade which will see the closure of Liverpool Lime Street and Edge Hill stations this weekend (2–3 November).
As part of the Great North Rail Project, signalling controls are being transferred from Edge Hill to Network Rail’s state-of-the-art rail operating centre in Manchester – making the railway more reliable for passengers.
It forms part of a £340m investment in railway upgrades in the Liverpool City Region by the end of 2019, jointly funded by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Network Rail.
Because Edge Hill station is the gateway to Lime Street, trains cannot run on any lines in and out of Liverpool’s main transport hub.
Passengers can still get to and from central Liverpool using rail replacement buses or by using the Merseyrail network via Liverpool South Parkway, adding only an additional 10-15 minutes to journeys.
People are being advised to check with their train operator or www.networkrail.co.uk/LCR and plan ahead of the affected weekend.
Phil James, managing director of Network Rail’s North West route, said: “I know there is never a good time to close the railway, but for work as complex as this major signalling upgrade unfortunately it is unavoidable. The Great North Rail Project work at Edge Hill follows on from the success transferring control of several signalling areas in the Liverpool City Region last year, as part of our Weaver Wavertree upgrades.
“We’ve worked closely with train operators to make sure passengers can get to where they need to be during Lime Street’s weekend closure. We’re urging people to check www.nationalrail.co.uk to plan their journeys this weekend.”
Councillor Liam Robinson, transport portfolio holder at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said: “Works like these are vital in making sure services are more reliable and keep our city region moving. We were very grateful for the patience shown by rail users during the Lime Street upgrade last year and we would advise them again to plan ahead and follow the advice given when making journeys over this weekend.
“Working together with our partners at Network Rail and the rail operators, we’re making sure that the city region remains very much open for business during this short closure.”
Opened in 1830, Edge Hill station is the oldest passenger railway station in the world.
The 21st century signalling upgrade will mean signallers can rapidly respond to disruption and route trains faster to minimise delays.
It also futureproofs the railway to allow more frequent and longer trains with more seats as demand for rail travel rises.
Jason Webb, director of customer information at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “This vital work will increase reliability and capacity, improving people’s journeys to and from Liverpool. Network Rail and rail companies are working together to minimise disruption as the improvement work is carried out and we ask passengers to check before they travel.”
This latest upgrade follows the successful completion of moving control of several signalling areas on the 22-mile stretch between Weaver Junction and Wavertree Junction to Manchester Rail Operating Centre, last year. This included Halton. Runcorn, Allterton. Speke and Garston.
Lime Street station itself was also upgraded to the same state-of-the-art signalling system during its £140m transformation between 2016 and 2018.
It all forms a £340m investment on Merseyside in railway upgrades, jointly funded by Liverpool City Region and Network Rail.
For more information about the station closures and travel plans visit. www.networkrail.co.uk/LCR.