First trains run on re-opened Halton Curve
There will now be hourly rail services linking North Wales and Cheshire to Liverpool, due to the £14m reopening of the Halton Curve track.
Services will be hourly from Chester, calling at Helsby, Frodsham, Runcorn, Liverpool South Parkway and Liverpool Lime Street.
There will also be two direct services per day from Wrexham General and one direct from Liverpool to Wrexham. The first train from Wrexham departed at 6.35am today.
This is the first service to run direct from North Wales into Liverpool for over 40 years. Future plans will see more journeys into Wales, with some services running to Cardiff via Shrewsbury and to Llandudno.
The service is targeting 250,000 new trips on the line, and hopes to remove the need for 170,000 journeys on road via the M56 and A55.
The Halton Curve scheme is the re-opening of a 1.5-mile stretch of track near Frodsham which links services from Chester onto the West Coast Mainline into Liverpool. Work to bring the track back into full use began in July 2017 and was completed by Network Rail in May 2018.
The £14.5m Halton Curve project has been backed by the Government’s Local Growth Funding, along with direct capital from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. The final cost has come in under the projected £17.95m budget.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “One of the Combined Authority’s key priorities is the delivery of major improvements in connectivity for our area and this is an example of us achieving that through new links into North Wales and Cheshire.
“The Halton Curve is one of many ambitious rail schemes across the Liverpool City Region that have been delivered by the Combined Authority, working together in partnership with a number of organisations.
“This is only the start of realising the benefits that re-opening the Curve will bring and the future plans for services linking the city region with Cardiff and the North Wales coast can only benefit us further.”
The Halton Curve project was developed by the Liverpool City Region, including Halton Council, Cheshire West & Cheshire Council, the Welsh Government and a consortium of the six county authorities in North Wales. The works have been delivered by Network Rail.
It forms part of a planned £340m investment in rail in the Liverpool City Region by the end of 2019 and also sits within the Great North Rail Project.