The first phase of Liverpool Lime Street's major upgrade

As part of a £340m investment in the city, Liverpool Lime Street station is undergoing the first phase of transformation works and the biggest upgrade it has seen since the 19th century, writes Sean Hyland, senior project manager at Network Rail.

At time of writing, Liverpool Lime Street station is over two-thirds of the way through the first phase of its major transformation, taking place from 30 September to 22 October. Part of a £340m investment in the Liverpool City Region, this is the biggest upgrade the station has seen since the 19th century.

In the 1970s work began to expand Lime Street station, including quadrupling the number of tracks entering the station. This year, and next year during Phase 2 of the works in summer 2018, Network Rail engineers are remodelling station platforms, increasing them in number and in length. The removal of redundant railway sidings will allow other platforms to be lengthened and straightened to improve the layout and allow more frequent, longer trains to travel in and out of the station.

The installation of two new platforms (what will be platforms 7 and 8) started in May this year. These will be completed and connected to the rail network during the first phase of the works. With the removal of platform 1 during Phase 2 next summer, Liverpool Lime Street will gain a net total of one additional platform and a completely remodelled concourse.

Station signalling infrastructure is being replaced and modernised, with functional control being moved to the Manchester Rail Operating Centre; additionally, wholesale renewal of existing OLE equipment and introduction of new overhead line structures and wiring is also part of the works. 

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s London North Western route managing director, said: “With passenger figures set to double during peak periods by 2043, the Liverpool Lime Street upgrade is vital to transform train travel for passengers in the future.

“Our work will enable faster, more frequent and reliable train services to run in and out of the station by 2019.”

Transport secretary Chris Grayling added: “We are committed to improving train journeys in Liverpool and this major upgrade will mean we can deliver more services that people want, longer trains and better platforms.

“The work at Lime Street is part of our Great North Rail Project which will help transform services for passengers, and we are grateful to them for their patience while this upgrade is underway.

“This is a key part of the well over £1bn investment we have for improving the rail network across the north of England.”

The first few days

During the first nine days of the Lime Street upgrade (30 September – 8 October), Network Rail engineers also completed the Huyton to Roby ‘fourth track’ scheme.

Work between Huyton and Roby has been completed in two key stages, the first of which was in 2014.

Engineers worked tirelessly for nine days to commission new platforms, track and signalling between Huyton and Roby. This includes installing and commissioning over 1,000m of track, 1,200m of overhead line equipment, a new crossover at Huyton and turnout at Roby.

The additional fourth track between Huyton and Roby will allow faster services to overtake local stopping services, enabling quicker journeys and more capacity on the route in and out of Liverpool.

Upgrades to track and signalling on platforms 1 and 2 were also completed during the first nine days. Both platforms reopened at Liverpool Lime Street on 9 October, allowing passengers to resume travel to/from Preston, Blackpool, Wigan, St Helens and Manchester Victoria. The platforms will remain open until 20 October, with all platforms closed again between 21-22 October in order to complete the final upgrades before reopening on 23 October.

Mainline services between Liverpool and Birmingham, London, Leeds, Manchester and Crewe have successfully been diverted to Liverpool South Parkway throughout the work, where passengers have been able to pick up the Merseyrail network to/from Liverpool city centre.

Further work will be completed over Christmas this year and during the second (and final) phase in summer 2018.

Once complete in 2018, the work will enable an extra three services per hour in and out of Lime Street station, including new direct services to Scotland. Longer, better managed platforms will allow bigger trains, with more space for passengers, in and out of the station.

Fast facts – Phase 1:

  • 150 colleagues will work on site each day for a total of 41,000 hours during the 23 days…
  • finishing the construction and connection to the rail network of platforms 7 and 8…
  • refurbishing and remodelling some of the current station platforms…
  • installing 3,500 metres of cable trough…
  • making alterations to Liverpool Lime Street and Edge Hill signal controls and to OLE wire height in support of track works…
  • installing 12 S&C units and removing six units…
  • and replacing 1,300m of plain line track!
  • Colleagues will use a Kirow crane for track works, a TXM Monster crane for OLE gantries, tampers, engineering trains, mobile elevated working platforms, excavators and bulldozers.

For more information



Andrew Gwilt   10/11/2017 at 03:02

So Phase 2 will commence in Summer next year. Bet that will take roughly 6-8 weeks if plans do go ahead.

Noam   10/11/2017 at 09:39

It's a shame there is no initiative to rid Lime St of the horrid 1980s retail clutter that obscures PLatforms 1-6. Why can't we have open, spacious terminal stations as they have on the continent, the nearest example being Lille Flandres? The retail units could go off to the side.

Geordie   10/11/2017 at 14:18

All very well, but what about more trains to and from Euston? One an hour from such a major city is ridiculous. If Virgin can't be bothered then why not introduce a bit competition on the route. London Midland via Brum? Why not?

Paul   13/11/2017 at 07:58

"In the 1970s work began to expand Lime Street station, including quadrupling the number of tracks entering the station." What does this mean? Quadrupling from the existing four to sixteen? There's not much to show for this work in the past 40 years.

John Webster   13/11/2017 at 14:40

Paul - Now that would be worth seeing - sixteen tracks through the tunnels - LOL!

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