Lime Street revamp at heart of £340m Liverpool rail upgrade

Liverpool’s Lime Street Station is to be revamped as part of a £340m upgrading the region’s rail network over the next three years.

Building work is due to start next year to construct two new platforms at Lime Street Station, which will be situated between the existing platforms seven and eight.

The spending is being brought forward as part of a new partnership between Network Rail and the Liverpool City Region. Network Rail is investing £229m with the city region will put in £111m, most through the government’s Growth Deal funding.

Other key projects as part of the £340m investment include completing the final phase of the Merseyrail loop and the construction of new track between Huyton and Roby to enable faster trains to have a dedicated line. The funding will build a new station at Maghull North and upgrade the Halton Curve which will be used by new services between Liverpool and Chester.

Commenting on the plans, Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “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% over the coming years, these improvements are vital for the future growth and prosperity of this great city region.”

The work will deliver the following key improvements: 

  • Enable 3 extra services per hour in and out of Lime Street Station
  • Support better east-west connectivity from Liverpool and beyond
  • Enable new services to Chester, and support the development of more routes to North Wales in the future
  • A new station building and interchange at Newton Le Willows will support its development as a transport hub, and a new station at Maghull will support growth in passenger demand
  • New signalling across the route will improve the reliability of the network, speed up decision making and minimise disruption

As the strategic transport advisor to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Merseytravel will be the project lead for a number of the schemes.

Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel said: “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.

The main areas of investment are as follows:

Liverpool Lime Street
At Liverpool Lime Street station, track, signalling and platform upgrades will enable longer trains and more frequent services and once completed will create the potential for three extra services per hour to leave from Lime Street station. 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. 

Liverpool underground upgrade
The final phase the on-going renewal of the riverbed and loop line ‘slab track’ – the railway track on the Wirral line and underground loop section of the Merseyrail network will take place between January and June 2017. This will improve the safety and reliability of services using the underground. Where previously this work has been undertaken piecemeal Network Rail are grouping the remaining elements together to reduce disruption and complete the works sooner.

Huyton to Roby upgrade
To enable faster services between Liverpool and the east, extra track will be built between Huyton and Roby stations to allow faster services to overtake local stopping services.  This work completes work already undertaken at Huyton in 2014.

New Liverpool to Chester service – the re-opening of the Halton Curve
The full business case for the scheme is expected to be considered by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority at its meeting in April. If approved, work is expected to begin in June 2017 and be completed by May 2018.

It is proposed that a new service between Liverpool and Chester, serving Liverpool Lime Street, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Runcorn, Frodsham and Helsby  will be created through the re signalling and upgrading of existing single direction track  on the Halton Curve. The existing line, which currently only runs one way passenger services in the summer, will be upgraded to provide a two-way hourly service with connections to North Wales in the future.

Weaver to Wavertree re-signalling
Re-signalling 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.  

Newton le Willows station
Newton le Willows station will be transformed, 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. 

Maghull North (new station)
A new station is to be created between Maghull and Town Green Stations on the Liverpool Central to Ormskirk branch of the Merseyrail network Northern Line to support increasing demand and extensive new housing and employment developments expected in the area. Work will include the creation of a new ticket office, provision of park and ride facilities and lifts and a footbridge to platforms.

If you would like to contact Andy Walker about this, or any other story, please email