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North west line closure for Northern Hub and electrification upgrade

Network Rail begins an eight-day blockade of the line between Edge Hill and Bryn via St Helens Central, and between Edge Hill and St Helens Junction, on Saturday.

The upgrade works, focused on Huyton and Roby, are part of the North West Electrification Programme and the Northern Hub.

Replacement buses and alternative routes will be in place for passengers travelling into or out of Liverpool via either of the St Helens stations until the blockade ends on Sunday 13 July.

A spokesman said: “Much of the work is taking place in the Huyton and Roby area to remove a bottleneck from the network which causes disruption and delays to services. A new third track will be completed to allow faster trains to pass slower services and additional platforms will be built.”

There will also be upgrades to the stations to improve access and passenger information.

Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said: “This is the latest phase of more than £1bn of investment in the railway in the north of England to provide a better service for passengers.

“The investment will deliver faster journey times, more seats and capacity and more reliable journeys, all of which are vital to the continued growth of the railway and the positive impact it has on the economy.

“The work has been carefully planned so the closure is for the shortest amount of time possible. We apologise for any inconvenience caused but I am confident the short term-pain will be worth the long-term gain.”

Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern Rail, added: “The upgrade work around Huyton and Roby this summer is the continuation of significant investment in infrastructure in the north of England. We want to make sure our customers are aware of the changes and understand the excellent benefits they will experience once the work is complete.

“Not only will it provide more capacity but it will also improve journey times for our customers. It heralds the beginning of the final phase of electrification work between Liverpool and Manchester, which will see our additional electric trains operating from December 2014 and is something to really celebrate.”

Chris Nutton, programme director at First TransPennine Express, said: "Our new direct service between Liverpool and Newcastle via Manchester Victoria has already proved very popular with customers. We have been able to introduce this new service as a result of the investment projects that have been ongoing.

"The railway in the north of England is being transformed over the next few years and customers will feel the benefit of faster and longer trains and improved journey choice. To enable these improvements, sections of the network need to be closed for a short period of time. This is the quickest and most efficient way of delivering an improved railway for customers and we would advise customers who normally travel between Liverpool and Manchester to check the details of their journeys before travelling."

Last month, a new direct 33-minute service from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool was introduced thanks to the upgrade works so far, 10 minutes quicker than previous journey times.

Detailed information on the disruption is at

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Nonsuchmike   18/06/2014 at 17:28

Faster journey times, more seats, more capacity providing a better service - so says the above article. All very commendable improvements to the line between those destinations, and indeed for the work being carried out on other such lines across the country. Nowhere within this article do I read of: a better passenger experience with more comfort and less crowding on the train or better communications about travel whilst waiting for the train at stations. Faster journey times are highly desirable, but ease of booking best-price journeys and actual comfort of the seating on a long journey are scarcely mentioned. But who are we to complain? We travelling public only pay their wages.

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