£340m is being invested in the railway in the Liverpool City Region

Upgrades to Liverpool Lime Street, the Halton Curve project and new Maghull North station are a few of the vital schemes that form part of a £340m railway investment in the Liverpool City Region. This work also sits within the wider Great North Rail Project to transform rail travel for customers across the North of England.

Merseyrail platform upgrades

A programme of upgrades to almost 100 platforms and track remodelling at 58 stations across the Merseyrail network is taking place between October 2018 and June 2019.

Graphic with the words ''It's happening - Platform upgrade works are coming'

This work is vital to prepare the Merseyrail network for the arrival of their new, state of the art trains. Upgrades involve altering the height and width of station platforms and realigning track. Although the changes might not be obvious to passengers, the work is essential to ensure the new trains’ sliding step can meet the platform edge. The sliding step will mean passengers can get on and off the train with ease.

Arriving in 2020, the trains will be safer, faster, modern and able to carry more people.

While lines are closed to complete platform upgrades, we have also brought forward some of our other, essential maintenance works to maximise the use of each closure. This also minimises overall disruption to passengers. These essential works will help to improve reliability and keep the railway safe.

During phase 6 (Southport to Bank Hall, 2 – 24 February):

We will be renewing the bridge deck on a railway bridge in Bootle that straddles the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. The complete renewal will take place between 18 – 22 February.

Level crossing maintenance works will take place:

  • Freshfields level crossing closed overnight 16 February –17 February
  • Ainsdale level crossing closed between 4 – 10 February
  • Hall Road level crossing closed between 11 – 19 February
  • Portland Street level crossing closed 9 February
  • Duke Street level crossing closed 10 February
  • Aughton Road level crossing closed 9 February

Track maintenance works will also take place along the route on Sunday 17 February.

During phase 7 (Chester to Rock Ferry, 2 March – 2 April)

We will be completing strengthening works to the footbridge at Bromborough station, while the station is closed.

In order for us to complete our platform upgrades, there will be some station closures on the route. In these cases, work will take place during the day and night to ensure it can be delivered quickly and safely. In other cases, upgrades will be completed at night when trains are not running, to allow trains to continue to run during the day.

If you live near a railway access point you will notice increased traffic to and from the access points during the upgrade works.

We understand the inconvenience and disruption this work may cause. The type of equipment and machinery used does mean some disturbance is unavoidable, but we have planned our work to minimise any disruption as much as possible.

What are we doing?

  • Where stations are closed, we will try to complete as much of the platform construction work during the day
  • Acoustic barriers will be used to reduce noise levels
  • Noise levels will be regularly monitored throughout the work
  • Our machines must sound an alarm when moving to alert our engineers. We have fitted our machines with a ‘white noise’ alarm which is quieter than the usual warning alarm.
  • Wherever possible, use of excessively loud machinery (incl. cutting and grinding) will be undertaken off site or during the day
  • Existing platform lighting and smaller battery-operated low-level lighting will be used at stations. Tower lighting may need to be used at our railway access points, but they will be insulated and fitted with covers to minimise any disturbance to neighbours.
  • Much of the materials needed will have already been delivered to site ready for use. This will reduce the level of noisy vehicles on site.

All staff and contractors working in the area are briefed on working responsibly in the local community. We expect staff to be considerate, polite and courteous at all times.   We are grateful to our neighbours for bearing with us during these vital works.

Liverpool Lime Street

The £140m transformation of Liverpool Lime Street is complete. Upgrades to track, platforms and signalling were completed on time and on budget, with the final stage taking place on Sunday 14 October 2018.

Platforms across the station have been completely remodelled. Two brand new platforms have been built and are in use, and all others remodelled, widened and/or lengthened.

An extensive signalling upgrade has also been completed to allow more trains to run in and out of the station, more reliably. Signalling control was successfully moved over to centrally-operated Manchester Rail Operating Centre in July 2018. This means more reliable journeys for passengers, allowing faster decision making on the railway to minimise delays.

More, longer, better-managed platforms together with the station’s brand-new, state-of-the-art signalling system enables longer trains, with more space and more seats for passengers to run more reliably. These vital improvements have all been delivered within the station’s historic Grade-II listed building.

Commencing Christmas 2016, the majority of the work was delivered over two key phases; 30 September – 22 October 2017 and 2 June – 30 July 2018.

Fast stats: Liverpool Lime Street transformation

  • 5,000-strong workforce totally over 1 million hours worked in total
  • 4.7km track upgraded
  • 26,000 tonnes of new ballast (railway foundation stone) installed
  • 75 engineering trains used
  • 11km of new overhead line wiring installed
  • 25 new signals installed
  • 65 new overhead line structures installed

Other key schemes

The Wirral Loop Line fully reopened on Monday 19 June  2017 following six months of work to replace 1.2km of concrete track on the loop section of the Wirral line and 1.6km of ballasted track under the River Mersey.

Engineers worked around the clock to complete the upgrades in order to maintain the safety and reliability of this key rail network. Thank you to all passengers who adapted their journeys during each phase of the work.

The final phase of upgrades on the 1.5 miles of track known as the ‘Halton Curve' near Frodsham were completed, as planned on Monday 28 May 2018.

Vital track upgrades bring back into full use the section of the line that links the Chester/Warrington line and the Liverpool/Crewe line at Frodsham Junction. This will enable new hourly services, in both directions, between Liverpool and Chester; serving Liverpool Lime Street, Liverpool South Parkway (for Liverpool John Lennon Airport) Runcorn, Frodsham and Helsby, with future hopes to expand the services further into North Wales.

The Frodsham area has been re-signalled and the signal box now houses a new modern signalling panel to control train movements in that area. At the other end of the Curve, a more modern, advanced signalling system has also been installed, with signalling control in the Halton area transferred to the state-of-the-art Manchester Rail Operating Centre. This will mean more reliable train services for passengers for generations to come.

The installation and commissioning of the Huyton to Roby ‘4th track’ was completed during the first nine days of Phase One of the Liverpool Lime Street upgrade (30 September – 8 October 2017). Completed in two key stages, the first of which was in 2014, this has seen:

–   The installation of 1200m of new track between Huyton and Roby

–   A new platform built at Huyton and Roby

–   Signalling upgrades and installing overhead line equipment on the line

–   New facilties at the stations, such as better customer information systems, new lifts and easier access via subways – making the station fully accessible for the first time.

This additional fourth track will allow faster intercity services to overtake local stopping services, enabling faster journeys on the route.

Newton-le-Willows station is being transformed into a transport hub, with a new bus interchange, extended car park facilities and a new booking hall on the south side of the station. New lifts, subway and stairs will also improve accessibility at the station.

Many passengers using this station are already benefiting from the electrification programme completed along this route in 2015, where capacity has been increased and journey times have been shortened between Liverpool and Manchester.

The new facilities are due to be complete and open to the public in early January. The project is funded by the Liverpool City Region through Local Growth Fund and Merseytravel.

To keep both the station and the Liverpool to Manchester railway line open for passenger services throughout the project, an innovative horizontal piling method has been used in the construction of the new subway that will link the new step-free access to both platforms via lifts.

While this approach has proved successful in keeping the existing facilities open and trains moving, the conditions faced when tunnelling through an embankment built in 1830, have proved extremely challenging. As a result, other parts of the work have had to be re-scheduled for them to be completed safely. Unfortunately, this has caused the opening date to be pushed back from late summer last year.

The Weaver Wavertree project, covering 22 miles of railway in the Liverpool City Region, is complete. Work has been delivered over two phases:

  • Phase one: May 2018, resignalling Halton and Runcorn. This also tied in with delivery of the Halton Curve project.
  • Phase two: Christmas 2018, resignalling Allerton, Speke and Garston.

This project has enabled Network Rail to re-control these signalling areas to the central rail operating centre (ROC) in Manchester. This will result in more reliable journeys, boost capacity in the area and will help to minimise delays by enabling faster decision making on the railway.

The brand new Maghull North station in Merseyside opened on Monday 18 June 2018. It is situated between the existing Maghull and Town Green statins on the Merseyrail Northern line.

The station was constructed in nine months, with work commencing in September 2017. This has been a complex project, with the majority of the works delivered while keeping the railway line open.

The £13m scheme will improve access to training, education and employment for hundreds of local people and support demand from an adjacent new housing development of 370 new homes with a further 1,700 additional homes planned.

Facilities at the new station include:

Staffed station building and ticket office with passenger toilet facilities
Passenger waiting facilities on the platforms
New bus shelters and stops installed adjacent to the station on School Lane, providing a seamless link between local bus services and rail services operating from the station
156-space car park with blue badge and motorcycle parking facilities, as well as cycle storage.Pedestrian and cycle routes from School Lane and Park Lane to the station
Passive provision for future charging stations for electric vehicles
Step-free access via lifts and bridge between both platforms

Find out more on our Keep Liverpool Moving page