Unilever Warrington Factory Site. Aerial From Google.

Bank Quay plotted to join Liverpool-Manchester NPR rail link

The train station in Warrington could become a key hub on the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail line, with Unilever’s nearby former factory used to free up the wider site for development.

The consumer goods giant has put its seven-acre plot on Liverpool Road up for sale after closing the factory last year. The Warrington factory site is adjacent to Warrington Bank Quay station and includes an additional 0.2-acre car park to the south west of the main site across the River Mersey.

Although the plot is shared with chemicals firm PQ Corporation, Unilever’s parcel borders the station to the north west.

Warrington Council is understood to be exploring its options for creating a major rail hub at Bank Quay for passengers across the region, which would form part of the proposed Liverpool to Manchester NPR line via the town centre.

Industry group Transport for the North this week formally lodged its proposals for the project, aimed at levelling up the North and improving east-to-west rail connectivity, having outlined its preferred route last November.

The route would dovetail with High Speed 2, with shared track, stations and junctions in parts, to slash journey times between the cities of the North.

Among the proposals for Northern Powerhouse Rail, drawn up by Transport for the North and the Department for Transport, include the construction of a line from Liverpool to Manchester via the centre of Warrington, as well as the construction of a line from Manchester to Leeds via the centre of Bradford, and various significant upgrades to existing routes serving the region.

It is understood that Warrington Council is pushing for an underground line calling at Bank Quay, which is currently served by the West Coast Mainline.

Council chief executive Steven Broomhead said: “We are enormously positive about these proposals for a new Manchester to Liverpool line. It would see a major interchange at Bank Quay.

“There would be land implications to work out going forward.”

The council declined to comment further on the plans. Meanwhile, agency CBRE is marketing the Unilever site for sale and is taking offers for the property until next week.

Developer Clifford Christian Estates’ last year revealed plans for a seven-storey, 126-bedroom hotel next to Bank Quay station, close to the busy southern gateway to the town centre.

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It wouldn’t need to be an ‘underground line’ – they could just use the Bank Quay low-level line shown in the image, now that coal trains no-longer supply Fiddler’s Ferry Power Station.

By Northern Poorhouse

Excellent proposals! Taking the high-speed line through the centre of Warrington to Liverpool will have the biggest impact for us all. The distances from the junctions south of Warrington are really quite small and therefore the cost of full integration with the high-speed network are relatively low compared to the enormous impact this will have on the wider Liverpool city region: the country’s new global gateway.

By Red Squirrel

Excellent proposal. All roads (and rail) lead to Manchester. Once the HS2 work begins and the recent proposals to link high speed from Manchester to Sheffield and Leeds are finally approved we will have a much better integrated Northern Powerhouse with Manchester truly at its hub. Can’t wait!

By John P