THE delayed completion of works to transform Newton-le-Willows rail station is expected to be “before the end of the year” – after construction plans “proved extremely challenging”.

Merseytravel and Network Rail announced that the scheme’s anticipated completion date has again been put back. It was initially expected to open in the summer.

The delay has been put down to the "extreme challenges" of tunnelling through an ageing embankment where a new subway is being created.

A statement, issued on behalf of Merseytravel and Network Rail, read: “The new and improved interchange and rail station facilities at Newton-le-Willows will be open to the public before the end of year.

“To keep both the station and the Liverpool to Manchester railway line open for passenger services during the project, an innovative horizontal piling method has been used in the construction of the new subway that will link the new step-free access to both platforms via lifts.

“While this approach has proved successful in keeping the existing facilities open and trains moving, the conditions faced when tunnelling through an embankment, built in 1830, have proved extremely challenging."

The statement added that other works have had to be rescheduled for them to be completed safely: “Unfortunately, this has caused the opening date to be pushed back from late summer this year.

“Our priority has always been to keep the railway open throughout the project and we have achieved that.

“We’d like to thank passengers for their patience and for continuing to bear with us as we complete the scheme.”