Work has started on the 1.5 miles of rail track, known as the ‘Halton Curve’, that will unlock leisure and business opportunities between the Liverpool City Region, its airport, Cheshire and North Wales.
Leaders and key officials will today be marking the occasion by going track-side onto the ‘Curve’.
The Halton Curve scheme, delivered by Network Rail, is bringing back into full use the section of the line that links the Chester/Warrington line and the Liverpool/Crewe line at Frodsham Junction.
Vital upgrades to track and signalling on the curve will enable a new hourly service, in both directions, between Liverpool and Chester, serving Liverpool Lime Street, Liverpool South Parkway (for Liverpool John Lennon Airport) Runcorn, Frodsham and Helsby starting from December 2018.
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 – something currently being considered as part of the forthcoming Wales and Borders franchise.
This project, due to cost a maximum £18.75m, is being funded through the Government’s Growth Deal and the Liverpool City Region. It is being developed by the Liverpool City Region (including Halton Council), Cheshire West and Cheshire Council, the Welsh Government and a consortium of the six county authorities in North Wales.
Welcoming the work, Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “This is a significant milestone on the way to making travel between north-west England and North Wales much easier and I am delighted that the UK Government has been able to help make it happen.
“When completed, the line will improve links between Liverpool and North Wales, providing benefits for businesses, commuters and tourists, and unlocking the potential for economic growth in North Wales.”
Welsh Government Economy and Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates added: “This is a huge development for public transport and much welcomed. Improving rail connectivity between North Wales and Liverpool offers huge economic and social opportunities for both regions.
“There has always been a strong cultural link between the regions and the Investment in Halton Curve will only serve to strengthen this. I look forward to delivering further joint transport initiatives with the Liverpool City Region, particularly as we develop our North East Wales Metro vision for a truly integrated transport system for the area.”
There is apparently additional information out there, however as the Growth Track 360 uses a Liverpool/Manchester PR firm Wrexham.com and others keep dropping off the information distribution lists. Therefore we are unable to bring you what Ken Skates AM, or others from Growth Track 360 think on this, just the UK Government official release.
Update: After chasing up via the PR and Mersey Travel we have the additional information.