Lime Street Station CGI
CGI of the works, due for completion in 2018

Lime Street station reopens after three weeks

Alice Cachia

Network Rail’s phase one works to the 113,340 sq ft station had been underway since 30 September and saw engineers replace almost 2km of track and build two platforms to increase capacity.

On Monday 23 October the station reopened after its biggest upgrade since the 19th century. The three-week project saw engineers install a signalling system to improve the reliability of trains. This also enabled trains to run in and out of platforms one and two while work was underway. The total estimated cost of the Lime Street station redevelopment when complete in 2018 is £110m.

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Two new platforms, seven and eight, have been built between the current seven and eight. In the summer, a restructuring of the platforms will take place. The current platform one will be removed, platforms two to six will become platforms one to five. The old platform seven will become platform six. The old platform eight will become platform nine, and the current platform nine will become platform 10.

In Christmas 2017 and summer 2018 there will be signalling upgrades, including transferring the operation of all lines into Lime Street to a signalling centre in Manchester, the remodelling of platform six and installing overhead line equipment.

Once all Lime Street phases are complete in 2018, an extra three services per hour will run in and out of the station, including direct services to Scotland and new services to Chester. Longer, better managed platforms will allow bigger trains with more space for passengers.

The refurbishment is one of 10 railway upgrades as part of a £340m investment in the Liverpool city region, including the 1.5 mile Halton Curve, a fourth track between Huyton and Roby, and resignalling of the 16 mile track between Edge Hill and Winsford. The schemes are part of the Great North Rail Project which aims to deliver £1bn of improvements for customers in the North by 2022.

Sean Hyland, senior project manager for Network Rail, said: “This investment is about increasing capacity at the station and improving the reliability of the network, preparing for the predicted doubling of passengers during peak periods within the next 25 years.”

Merseyrail’s deputy managing director Andy Heath said: “While the upgrade was essential and we were pleased to play a role within it, we are happy to be returning to a full service on all lines.”

Throughout the three weeks, the Merseyrail underground service continued from Lime Street every 15 minutes, but those travelling overground from Hunts Cross had to take a replacement bus service.

Today’s reopening comes as Unite and GMB bus drivers across the North West go ahead with planned strike action, with no planned Arriva services in Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire of Cheshire either today or next Monday 30 October. Only services out of Chester depot and into Chester from Wrexham or Rhyl will run.

Customers are advised that those with pre-paid Arriva tickets travelling in these areas will be able to use them on the Merseyrail and Northern Rail networks.

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