Local Rail Improvements



Lancashire Triangle Electrification


Key rail routes in the North are being electrified to help make rail travel faster, quieter and more reliable. This program is named the Lancashire Triangle Electrification and the end of year schedule is as follows:-

The Manchester to Newton-le-Willows line has now been fully wired.    

The programme for Newton-le-Willows to Liverpool and the Liverpool to St Helens via Huyton lines, including through to Wigan, should be complete by the end of 2014.

Electrification for Manchester to Preston via Bolton and Blackpool is scheduled for 2015 – 2016.

Update March 2014

On completion of the wiring of phase 1 on the Lancashire Triangle on the Chat Moss Line, including the testing of infrastructure and power substations, the first Scottish service ran using the new Class 350/3 EMU  4 car trains early on the morning of 30th December 2013 and now continues.

Since then another six sets have arrived from Siemens ,  the remaining four sets will arrive into the  country in next few weeks and are planned to be available for the new revised timetable in May.

The next phase (phase2) is already ongoing, from Newton-le-Willows to Liverpool and also from Huyton, St Helens and Wigan, all to be completed by end of 2014

It was recently announced that the first six sets of CLASS 319s/3 four car  EMUs will come off lease in May 2014 from First Capital Connect. They are to be refurbished and crew and staff training will take place ready for the above services.

With the newly electrified lines coming into service over the next two to three years there will be more capacity available along the Chat Moss Line. Presently we enjoy between Newton-le-Willows and Manchester three trains per hour and from May that will become four trains per hour. Last year it was announced that would then increase to five trains. The extra capacity arises due to the modernisation of the Chat Moss Modernisation with the use of Lighter and faster Rolling Stock. The trains can accelerate faster and brake better, making it easier to make up lost time due to unplanned holdups.

Also there is the potential of extra freight trains from Peel Holdings new Liverpool Superport and also from Port Salford.

Track watch info from Network Rail – August 2013

As part of the Earlestown and Newton-le-Willows remodelling and rationalisation programme and the ongoing North West electrification project, the crossovers at Earlestown have been renewed.   

At Newton-le-Willows, the trailing connection in the Up Chat Moss line to the former Motorail Terminal sidings, have been removed.   Also, the * trailing connection to the Down Chat Moss line from the former Parkside Colliery have been removed.  

The latter two as no longer operational or likely to be required in future.

* NB: Facing and trailing are terms used to describe railway points in the track.  When a train traverses the track in a facing direction, it may diverge onto either of the two routes. When train travels in a trailing direction, the two tracks converge onto each other.

Transpennine Services

Speed Up Plans

Manchester Victoria                                  Manchester Victoria – Liverpool to Manchester will soon be just half an hour

From May 2014, First Transpennine Express’ hourly service from Liverpool to Yorkshire and the North East that goes via Warrington and Manchester Piccadilly will be supplemented by a new service.      A Liverpool to Newcastle service that will operate via Earlestown and Manchester Victoria will significantly reduce journey times. Using trains released by the new Manchester – Scotland electric units, this will see First Transpennine Express provide a thirty percent increase in capacity to and from Liverpool, operating a total of twenty nine services.

First Transpennine Express formally opened its new train crew depot in Liverpool on the 12th September 2013 as part of the project to deliver faster and more frequent services from the city.

Journey Time Improvements






13 Minutes



19 Minutes



44 Minutes

 Journey Times




Liverpool – Manchester

45 Minutes

32 Minutes

Liverpool – Leeds

1 Hour 47 Minutes

1 Hour 28 Minutes

Liverpool – Newcastle

3 Hours 47 Minutes

3 Hours 3 Minutes

Improvements Coming For Manchester / Scotland Rail Services

trans penine express

First Transpennine Express will launch a service between Manchester and Glasgow/Edinburgh involving fifteen trains per day in May 2014. This will follow the delivery of a fleet of ten Class 350/4 Electric Multiple Units and completion of the electrification of the Chat Moss railway line from Manchester to Newton-le-Willows. This will be the first stage of the Lancashire Triangle Electrification Project to be finished enabling electric rail services to run between Manchester and Scotland via Wigan North Western.

Ahead of this full timetable change, the company will introduce an interim timetable in December 2013, with its current eleven trains a day service to and from Scotland increasing to twelve. The decision to opt for this timetable improvement follows the delivery confirmation for the Class 350/4 trains of which one will be commissioned for the December timetable change. The remainder of the fleet will be delivered by the end of March 2014.

With the need for sufficient Rolling Stock to enable the timetable change for the end of 2014 for the newly electrified services, in the House of Lords, Lord Bradshaw asked about the delay of the re-use of Thameslink Rolling Stock on the newly electrified lines. Lord Attlee replied “The Department of Transport is working with Rail Industries Partners to ensure sufficient Rolling Stock to operate newly electrified services has been identified and will be available”.