RAIL passengers travelling between Liverpool and Preston, Blackpool, Wigan, St Helens and Manchester Victoria can begin to use Lime Street from today after two platforms reopened.

Network Rail has completed the first nine days of work on the station’s major upgrade, part of a £340m investment into the railway in the Liverpool City Region by 2019, as part of the Great North Rail Project.

Work to upgrade platforms 1 and 2, combined with signalling work and connecting a fourth track between Huyton and Roby, means that trains will run in and out of Lime Street between 6am and 8pm. Replacement buses will continue to be in use outside of these times.

Vital upgrades to the Liverpool City Region’s main station kicked off on Saturday 30 September, as part of a 23 day transformation. Work completed so far includes upgraded track on platforms 1, 2 and 9 and the modernisation of the station’s signalling system.

When completed in 2018, the upgrade will enable an extra three services per hour in and out of Lime Street station, including new direct services to Scotland. According to Network Rail, longer, better managed platforms will allow bigger trains, with more room for passengers into the station. There will also be a re-modelled concourse.

Rob Grey, project manager at Network Rail, said: “This work forms part of a massive £340m investment in the Liverpool City Region which is vital to increase capacity and provide passengers with a better railway.

“This much needed investment will boost the city’s economy and enable more reliable, more frequent journeys. Completing the fourth track between Huyton and Roby is a major milestone and we are making great progress at Lime Street, a third of the way through the first phase of its major upgrade.”

Work between Huyton and Roby has been completed in two key stages, the first of which was in 2014. The overall improvements include new track between Huyton and Roby, a new platform at both Huyton and Roby, signalling upgrades and overhead line equipment installed, and new facilities at the stations including better customer information systems, new lifts and easier access via subways.

The additional fourth track between Huyton and Roby will allow faster services to overtake local stopping services, enabling quicker journeys and more capacity on the route in and out of Liverpool.

For travel information visit www.networkrail.co.uk/lcr or for more information on the £340m investment in the Liverpool City Region’s rail network by the end of 2019 visit www.keepliverpoolmoving.com.