Plans to upgrade the Halton Curve and link Frodsham and Helsby to Liverpool by direct trains have moved a step closer.
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority have given their backing to the £10.4m project after approving the business case.
Work to resignal and renovate the single track already in place could begin in June 2017.
Direct trains between Frodsham and Helsby to Merseyside have been proposed for when the Halton Curve reopens, which is estimated for May 2018.
Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans said the rail redevelopment would provide a ‘huge boost’ to the region’s economy.
He said: “I’ve been campaigning for the re-opening of the Halton Curve line as I believe that it’s a cost effective way of connecting Halton, Cheshire, and North Wales together.
“It’ll provide a huge boost to the local economy and will make Weaver Vale an even better place to live, work and invest in.
“This good news means we could see direct trains from Frodsham and Helsby to Liverpool as soon as May 2018.
“This will connect the whole region helping it to continue to prosper, and making life easier for commuters.”
Reduced travel times
An hourly service would run from Liverpool Lime Street to Runcorn and then through Frodsham and Helsby to Chester and could significantly reduce travel times.
While the stretch of railway has been closed to regular passenger services since 1975, the Halton Curve upgrade comes as part of a £340m improvement to the Liverpool City Region.
Network Rail will be delivering the scheme on behalf of Merseytravel.
A report put before the combined authority said there was a ‘very high level of strategic importance’ because it improved connectivity across a wide geographical area.
Other improvements in the £340m investment include renewed tracks on the Wirral Line and longer platforms at Lime Street station.
It will also pave the way for extra services such as extended links to North Wales.
What do you think of this story? Would you use a direct train from Frodsham and Helsby to Liverpool? Let us know in the comments below.