RAIL passengers travelling in or out of Liverpool via St Helens’ stations in July are facing major disruption from this Saturday.

Network Rail will be upgrading the railway between Edge Hill and Bryn, via St Helens Central, and between Edge Hill and St Helens Junction, from Saturday, July 5 to Sunday, July 13.

It is part of the £1bn Northern Hub and North West electrification programme.

According to Network Rail, much of the work is taking place in Huyton and Roby to remove a bottleneck which causes disruption and delays.

A new third track will be completed to allow faster trains to pass slower services and additional platforms will be built.

In a statement Network Rail said that significant work involved in building new track and platform mean it is necessary to temporarily close the line.

“Alternative routes will be available and buses will replace the usual timetable.”

Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, stressed that the works will ultimately “deliver faster journey times, more seats and capacity and more reliable journeys”.

He said: “The work has been carefully planned so the closure is for the shortest amount of time possible.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused but I am confident the short term-pain will be worth the long-term gain.”

Meanwhile, Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern Rail, which runs trains from St Helens between Manchester and Liverpool, said: “Not only will it provide more capacity but it will also improve journey times for our customers.

“It heralds the beginning of the final phase of electrification work between Liverpool and Manchester, which will see our additional electric trains operating from December 2014 and is something to really celebrate.”

Network Rail says passengers are already seeing the benefits of investment in the railway in the region.

In May a new direct service from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool was introduced which takes just 33 minutes between the two cities, a 10 minute journey time reduction overall.

Further works will take place on the railway to complete the final phase of electrification of the route before electric trains begin to operate from December 2014.

For the latest information regarding the closure and to plan journeys, passengers should check before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk/huyton.