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Halton Curve work will mean disruption to rail travellers

Upgrade will include replacing ancient mechanical levers in Frodsham signal box

There will be disruption for rail travellers between Helsby, Frodsham and Runcorn East stations over the coming two weekends as work continues to re-open the ‘Halton Curve’.

Vital upgrades will enable a new hourly service, in both directions, between Chester and Liverpool , with an improved connection to Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

This will include fitting a modern signalling panel in Frodsham signal box in place of mechanical levers used to control train movements on the Chester-Warrington line and Halton Curve since the 1900s!

The new service is due to start from December 2018 – generating 250,000 new trips and boosting the economy by £100m.

Rail replacement bus services will be in place this weekend (February 10-11) and the following weekend (February 17-18) as work continues on the 1.5 miles of track near Frodsham, known as the ‘Halton Curve’.

View of Frodsham train line looking towards the direction of Warrington and Manchester. This is the direction of the Halton Curve development

Network Rail will be renewing track, recovering old signals and commissioning new colour-light signals and associated signalling equipment in the Frodsham area.

Passengers travelling between Chester and Manchester are advised to check www.nationalrail.co.uk before they travel. Train services between Chester and Manchester will be diverted with rail replacement bus services running between Frodsham, Helsby and Runcorn East.

This £18.75m Merseytravel scheme is being funded through the Government’s Growth Deal and the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire West and Cheshire Council, the Welsh Government and a consortium of the six county authorities in North Wales.

It is part of the £340m investment in the Liverpool City Region and sits within Network Rail’s Great North Rail Project – a multi-billion pound investment plan to transform train travel across the north.

Karla Telford, project manager at Network Rail, said: “Our upgrades to the Halton Curve – a relatively small stretch of track in Frodsham – is a vital part of our Great North Rail Project that will unlock leisure and business opportunities between the Liverpool City Region, its airport, Cheshire and North Wales.

Halton Curve bridge over the River Weaver

“Improved rail links are vital to boost the local economy and it is incredibly exciting that our work will enable a new hourly service between Liverpool and Chester by the end of this year.”

An Arriva Trains Wales spokesperson said: “We have been working with our partners at Network Rail to minimise any impact caused by this important upgrade work. Passengers may find their journey takes slightly longer as we are diverting many services, or an alternative connection may be available.

“There will be no trains serving Frodsham, Helsby and Runcorn East over these weekends with rail replacement bus services on hand to keep passengers on the move. We are advising customers to check their journey plans on-line before travelling and please allow extra time for their journey.”

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