THE announcement that rail passengers will soon be able to catch trains directly from St Helens to cities in Yorkshire such as Leeds and York is news to be welcomed (see page 8).

As we report this week, TransPennine Express is changing the route to services from May, meaning its Liverpool to Manchester train will call at Newton-le-Willows and Lea Green.

It will mean travel times from the stations to those cities will be considerably quicker and passengers will be able to travel directly to and from major locations in Yorkshire and the North East.

Throw into the mix: i) there will be rail links between St Helens Central Station and Glasgow later in the year ii) a revamped Newton-le-Willows station is on the horizon and iii) St Helens Junction car park is being expanded, and the picture for rail in the borough is looking much brighter.

Over the past couple of decades it has been frustrating to see neighbouring towns such as Warrington and Wigan with better connectivity and direct links to London.

It is no wonder some Star readers think we have been falling behind.

This news looks like the chance to take a huge stride forward.

If St Helens is to become a key part of the Northern Powerhouse moving forward then it is vital we are well connected.

It is important for people who live in the borough and commute to work in the Northern cities.

And it is crucial for attracting business visitors here and for showing companies that if they locate in St Helens workers would be able to travel into the borough via rail.

So it’s progress. Who knows, maybe the long-awaited Carr Mill station at Laffak and the St Helens Central to St Helens Junction link may come back on the agenda one day?

  • RARELY do we come across a case as harrowing as the murder committed by St Helens man Andrew Burke. The words of Judge Aubrey – who described the killing as an “act of unspeakable savagery” – are an apt description of such a heinous act.