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14.07.15

Cheshire Halton Curve rail could fully re-open in 2018

The Halton Curve rail line could be reinstated by 2018 after receiving a £10.4m funding as part of the government’s Local Growth Fund and with its business case now out for consultation.

The 1.5-mile line runs between Frodsham Junction and Halton Junction and, if fully reopened, would improve links to Liverpool John Lennon Airport for communities in north-west Cheshire and north Wales.

It currently allows northbound running only, with only one service a week – run specifically to avoid the costs of a full closure (known as a ‘parliamentary service’).

Plans to bring the line back after its virtual closure in 1975 have received ‘in principle’ funding subject to approval, with work planned for either next year or in 2017. Returning it to fully bi-directional working would require the installation of new crossovers at Halton and Frodsham junctions with some upgrades to the track.

halton map

An outline business case out for consultation proposes an hourly service on the line between Liverpool and Chester via Liverpool South Parkway.

The full business case is due in the summer and will require approval by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Liverpool’s Cllr Liam Robinson, chair of Merseytravel’s Integrated Transport Authority, had previously said that Halton Curve “could be the key to unlocking so many more opportunities for people in our city region, North Wales and Cheshire”.

Merseytravel, seeking to reopen the line, says plans should not be affected by the government stepping in to suspend elements of Network Rail’s CP5 upgrade programme.

A spokesperson said: “Following the announcement we are in discussion with Network Rail to determine the potential implications of the announcement on rail schemes that have a direct link to Long Term Rail Strategy for the Liverpool City Region.

“Our current understanding is that the announcement relates to a pausing of the Transpennine and Midland Mainline Electrification works and as such, the announcement should not have any impact on the delivery of the Halton Curve project.” 

Merseytravel noted in a document last year: “It has been suggested that one of the reasons for difficulty in developing wider support for this project is the name of the project. The use of the project title ‘Halton Curve’ suggests that the project benefits fall to Halton and Halton alone. Clearly this is not the case and it is suggested therefore that the project should be known as the Mersey Dee Link to demonstrate that the benefits from the project fall to a much wider area.”

Top image c. Wikipedia Creative Commons via Firstclassx

Comments

Lutz   17/07/2015 at 10:46

The proposed work on the Halton Curve will NOT "improve links", it is an enabling initiative that will facilitate improved links, however those links will not be implemented unless there is a sound business case and funding for the proposed new service.

Nonsuchmike   17/07/2015 at 17:26

At last a double rail link to facilitate improved links between North Wales, Cheshire and Merseyside. The big question now is: When will it be completed? And the obvious matter on most denizens' minds is why only an hourly service? Surely, at peak times the case for half hourly services in both directions is as plain as a pikel. Perhaps this, after the recent deferrals of many already trumpeted Government rail schemes, will be a matter of believing it when we see men working on the line itself. As for demanding a sound business case, an analogy would be not needing a calculator to work out what two times two equals.

Frodshamfella   03/11/2015 at 17:40

This would be great boost for people of Frodsham Helsby and surrounding villages to gain more efficient access to Liverpool city and also Liverpool Airport, which although close does not have good transport links to this area. Chester and North Wales will also benefit greatly to this new direct access.

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