Work improving rail connections between North Wales, Chester and Liverpool will enter its next stage this month.
Network Rail’s Team Orange will continue the work on the 1.5 miles of rail track near Frodsham, known as the ‘Halton Curve’ on Saturday 10th – Sunday 11th February and Saturday 17th – Sunday 18th February.
As part of the work engineers will be renewing track, recovering old signals and commissioning new colour-light signals and associated signalling equipment in the Frodsham area.
A new modern, signalling panel will be installed inside Frodsham signal box in place of the traditional mechanical levers which have been used to control the train movements on the Chester-Warrington line and Halton Curve since the 1900s.
Upgrades to track will enable a new hourly service, in both directions, between Liverpool and Chester. It is thought that the services, which are proposed to start running from December 2018, will generate 250,000 new trips, boosting the economy by £100m. Although the service will be initially one train per hour, it is anticipated that demand will strengthen the case for increased frequency, particularly with plans for services to be extended into North Wales
This Merseytravel scheme, due to cost a maximum £18.75m, is being funded through the UK Government’s Growth Deal and the Liverpool City Region.
It is being developed by the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire West and Cheshire Council, the Welsh Government and a consortium of the six county authorities in North Wales.
It is part of the £340m investment in the Liverpool City Region and sits within Network Rail’s Great North Rail Project – a multi-billion pound investment plan to transform train travel across the North.
An Arriva Trains Wales spokesperson said: “We have been working with our partners at Network Rail to minimise any impact caused by this important upgrade work. Passengers may find their journey takes slightly longer as we are diverting many services, or an alternative connection may be available.
“There will be no trains serving Frodsham, Helsby and Runcorn East over these weekends with rail replacement bus services on hand to keep passengers on the move.
“We are advising customers to check their journey plans on-line before travelling and please allow extra time for their journey.”
Karla Telford, project manager at Network Rail, added: “Our upgrades to the Halton Curve – a relatively small stretch of track in Frodsham – is a vital part of our Great North Rail Project that will unlock leisure and business opportunities between the Liverpool City Region, its airport, Cheshire and North Wales.
“Improved rail links are vital to boost the local economy and it is incredibly exciting that our work will enable a new hourly service between Liverpool and Chester by the end of this year.”