The return of the Halton Curve rail line is on as the upgrade has officially begun.
An £18.75m revamp will bring back direct trains from Frodsham and Helsby to Liverpool.
An opening date is still scheduled for December 2018. Work on the line started on July 14.
Campaigners have long made the case for the upgrade and it could prove vital for businesses and passengers alike.
Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said: “I welcome the spade being put in the ground on a project that has long been an ambition for many.
“People shouldn’t be constrained in their work or leisure opportunities, as there are so many to be had across our City Region, Cheshire and North Wales.
“These can start to be fully realised through this much-needed link.”
Renovations include replacing the track and signals along the 1.5-mile stretch of line.
There are also plans for Halton Curve services to be extended through to North Wales.
It could boost the regional economy by £100m. Bosses believe it could also reduce congestion on the M56 and A55.
Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Samantha Dixon said: “This is one of the critical investments which will have a transformational effect on rail services, not only in our borough but across North Wales and the Mersey-Dee region.
“It will improve links to Liverpool for our residents and businesses.”
The upgrade forms part of Network Rail’s Great North Rail Project which will see over £1bn invested in the railway across the north.
Merseytravel is overseeing the project.
Network Rail route managing director Martin Frobisher said: “This scheme is the perfect example of the rail industry and Liverpool City Region working together to deliver real benefits to the people of Liverpool and beyond.
“As with the many projects we are delivering across the north this is about providing passengers with more options and boosting the economy in key towns and cities through improved rail links.”
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