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Liverpool city region disappointed by Warrington Bank Quay plan

Rhodri Clark
16 December 2021

Using the freight-only line which burrows beneath Warrington Bank Quay station for Northern Powerhouse Rail will not provide the transformation in capacity and journey times, says the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

In February, the region’s mayor, Steve Rotheram, and the leaders of Cheshire East and Warrington Borough councils claimed the UK Government was “fixated” on the used until recently to deliver coal to Fiddlers Ferry power station. They said this was too circuitous to deliver the 20-minute journey time between Liverpool and Manchester, as originally envisaged for NPR (LTT 20 February).

However, the Integrated Rail Plan backs reinstatement of Warrington Bank Quay low level station, upgrading and electrifying existing lines between Warrington and Liverpool. and enhancing Liverpool Lime Street station. It argues that the proposed alternative new station for Warrington would to some extent cancel out quicker rail journey times available from it. “Either a new underground station, or a parkway, at Warrington would also have offered worse connectivity than now with local rail services at the existing Bank Quay station, and with local buses.”

A Combined Authority spokeswoman told LTT last week: "These proposals, which include an upgraded not new line between Liverpool and Warrington,  would not give us the transformational outcome the Liverpool City Region wants and has been campaigning for.

“Brand new lines are what is actually required to not only provide faster journeys but to provide the extra capacity for more passenger trains on the network and crucially more freight. The IRP references the benefits of ‘released capacity’ on existing routes – this is simply not true in many parts of the North, especially in Liverpool City Region. If these proposals are implemented, then some communities will be disadvantaged to enable others to receive sub optimal outcomes in terms of connectivity and journey times.

“The option put forward in the IRP for the City Region could create huge amounts of disruption during construction for passengers and lineside neighbours,  and fails to maximise the opportunity to inject billions into the North's economy.

“We are continuing to work very closely with mayors, combined authorities across the north, TfN and DfT to ensure that the Liverpool City Region, and the wider North, continues to press for a better deal than the one put forward in the IRP.”

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