DIRECT train services should be running between Liverpool and St Helens today after two platforms at Lime Street station reopened.

The two platforms will reopen for almost five weeks as efforts continue to keep passengers moving during the station’s major upgrade, Network rail said.

It means direct services will be running to the St Helens stations on the Liverpool to Manchester Victoria and Liverpool to Wigan routes.

It is brighter news for passengers who have had to cope with the disruption to Northern services and the Lime Street closure over recent weeks.

Network Rail engineers have completed the first stage of upgrades in an eight week programme to remodel station platforms and upgrade signalling.

A Network Rail statement read: "This is the biggest investment in the station since the 19th century.

"This has included building the concrete foundations for the extension of current platforms 2 and 3, overhead line re-wiring, platform surfacing, track drainage, track renewals and track remodelling.

"Reopening platforms 1 and 2 will enable direct services to run between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria and Wigan for onward connections to Preston, Blackpool, Yorkshire and the North East."

Northern interim timetable is ongoing, effective since Monday 4 June, in order to start stabilising service levels and complete essential driver training. Passengers are advised to continue to check before travelling.

Other journey options are available with advice on to keep passengers moving and keep Liverpool open for business.

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s London North Western route managing director, said:  “The Liverpool Lime Street upgrade is an integral part of the Great North Rail Project, a team effort across the rail industry to transform train travel for customers across the North by 2020 through track and train improvements.

“While we’re sorry for short-term disruption we’d ask customers not to lose sight of the transformative improvements that the wider Great North Rail Project will bring by 2020.

“Lime Street station’s major upgrade will significantly boost capacity, enabling longer trains, with more passengers, running more reliably.”

Liverpool Lime Street’s major transformation will be fully complete in October this year. This work will enable an extra three services in/out of Lime Street every hour, including new direct services to Scotland. Remodelling and rebuilding station platforms will provide longer, more spacious platforms capable of accommodating longer trains and more passengers, more safely.