Final works on the £8.3m Bootle branch rail line upgrade have been completed, delivering a doubling of freight train capacity to and from the Peel Ports-owned container terminal.
Funded by the Department for Transport, the upgrade allows up to two freight trains per hour in each direction.
Work on the track along the Bootle line has been a long-term project, and the upgrade has eased pressure on a pinch point between the West Coast main line and the port by doubling what was previously a 400m section of single track.
The DfT said that the project is a contributor on net-zero, as moving goods by ral creates around 25% of the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of comparable road journeys.
Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Rail freight is one of the most sustainable ways to move goods and it is exciting to see our investments in the North boosting the economy and levelling up the region.”
David Huck, managing director of Peel Ports, said: “This is truly transformational news for the Port of Liverpool and for the future of sustainable supply chains. The new rail line upgrade enables even more choice and connectivity for customers by providing four departures per day from the container terminal. This is in addition to our long-standing bulk rail services.
“We can now reach the central belt of Scotland as well as East and West Midland destinations with ease. Combined with our significant investments in infrastructure, our people, processes and technology, the news further strengthens the proposition for Liverpool as a strong, viable alternative location to southern ports.”
DB Cargo uses the port for the export of Scottish goods, such as shortbread and whisky, to American markets. A new GB Railfreight service between Liverpool and the East Midlands also launched in late 2020.
The rail project is a further boost for a facility amid another expansion drive, with yard space recently being expanded at Liverpool2 by 15 acres.