Transport minister Baroness Kramer visited Huyton and Roby stations on Thursday (19 June 2014) to see how more than £1 billion of investment will transform rail journeys and boost economic growth across the north of England.
During her visit, Baroness Kramer saw how work on the Northern Hub and North West Electrification Programme was progressing. Once completed in 2019, these schemes will increase capacity, slash journey times and improve reliability on train services across the region – generating more than £4 billion worth of economic benefits and up to 30,000 new jobs.
Network Rail has spent 18 months on the project to install a third track and make line speed improvements, allowing for faster services and removing a bottleneck from the network. Additional platforms are also being built, while other improvements include new lifts, improved accessibility and upgraded customer information systems.
Baroness Kramer said:
These vital improvements will make a real difference to passengers who use this route every day, as well as helping to secure lasting economic growth across the north of England.
More than £38 billion is being spent on maintaining and improving the UK’s rail network over the next 5 years, and the work at Huyton and Roby is an important part of that.
The Northern Hub scheme will allow hundreds more trains to run each day across the north of England, providing space for millions more passengers a year. Through a series of targeted improvements, it will provide faster journeys between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Hull by 2019.
As a result of these improvements, earlier this year, a new direct service between Newcastle and Liverpool was introduced, reducing journey times by 10 minutes, while further improvements will allow electric trains to run on the route between Manchester and Liverpool from December.
Network Rail is working on the electrification of other routes, including:
- Preston to Blackpool
- Manchester to Preston
- Manchester to Leeds and York
- Oxenholme to Windermere
- Wigan to Lostock
Once operational, this will mean modern, reliable electric trains will be able to run across the region.
As part of the work at Huyton and Roby, which is due to be completed this year, there will be a closure from Edge Hill and Bryn, via St Helens Central, and between Edge Hill and St Helens Junction between 5 and 13 July. Rail replacement services will be available.