Liverpool to Manchester Lines


Liverpool to Manchester Lines
Liverpool to Manchester Lines
Overview
Type Heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Cheshire
Greater Manchester
Merseyside
North West England
Termini Manchester Piccadilly/
Manchester Victoria
Liverpool Lime Street
Operation
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Arriva Trains Wales
East Midlands Trains
London Midland
Northern Rail
Merseyrail
First TransPennine Express
Virgin Trains
Rolling stock Class 142 Pacer
Class 150 Sprinter
Class 156 Sprinter
Class 158 Express Sprinter
Class 175 Coradia
Class 185 Desiro
Class 170 Turobstar
Class 222 Meridian (Limited)
Class 350 Desiro
Class 390 Pendolino
Class 507
Technical
No. of tracks Two
Track gauge Standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification 25 kV 50hz AC OHLE (Lime Street - Liverpool South Parkway)
(via Earlestown from 2013)
Route map
Legend
Caldervale and Oldham
Continuation backward Continuation backward
West Coast Main Line
Hope Valley Line
Straight track Unknown BSicon "eABZlf" Unknown BSicon "exSTRlg"
Huddersfield and Glossop
Unknown BSicon "vSTRa" Unknown BSicon "uCONTg" Unknown BSicon "vSTRa" Unknown BSicon "exKBHFe"
Manchester Mayfield
Manchester Victoria Manchester Metrolink
Unknown BSicon "vBHF-KBHFe" Urban stop on track Unknown BSicon "vKBHFe-BHF"
Manchester Piccadilly Manchester Metrolink
Manchester Exchange
Unknown BSicon "dSTR" Unknown BSicon "exdKBHFa" Urban straight track Unknown BSicon "STRer"
Unknown BSicon "xvÜSTl" Urban straight track Station on track
Manchester Oxford Road
Manchester Central
Unknown BSicon "vSTR" Unknown BSicon "exKBHFa" Urban stop on track Straight track
Deansgate-Castlefield
Salford Central
Unknown BSicon "vBHF-STR" Unknown BSicon "exSTRlf"
Unknown BSicon "exSTRlg" + Urban straight track
Station on track
Deansgate Manchester Metrolink
Unknown BSicon "vSTRgl" Unknown BSicon "ABZ+lr" Transverse track Unknown BSicon "umKRZo" Junction to right
Windsor Link
Junction from left Junction to right Urban straight track Station on track
Manchester Utd Football Gd
to Bolton
Continuation to left Track turning right Straight track Urban straight track Straight track
(Open Match Days Only)
Straight track Unknown BSicon "uCONTf" Straight track
Manchester Metrolink
Straight track Track turning from left Unknown BSicon "ABZ3rg" Junction to right
to Altrincham
Freight Terminal
Straight track Non-passenger end station Non-passenger station/depot on track Straight track
Euroterminal
to Wigan
Unknown BSicon "exCONTg" Straight track Track turning left Junction from right
Eccles Manchester Metrolink
Unknown BSicon "exSTR" Station on track Station on track
Trafford Park
to Bolton
Unknown BSicon "exCONTr" Unknown BSicon "exKRZo" Unknown BSicon "eABZrf" Station on track
Humphrey Park
Unknown BSicon "exSTRlf" Unknown BSicon "eABZlg" Station on track
Urmston
Patricroft
Station on track Station on track
Chassen Road
Straight track Station on track
Flixton
Astley
Unknown BSicon "eHST" Bridge over water
Manchester Ship Canal
Glazebury
Unknown BSicon "eHST" Station on track
Irlam
Straight track Unknown BSicon "eABZrg" Unknown BSicon "exCONTl"
to Stockport
to Bolton
Unknown BSicon "exCONTr" Unknown BSicon "eABZlg" Station on track
Glazebrook
Kenyon Junction
Unknown BSicon "eHST" Straight track
Wigan Junction Railways
Unknown BSicon "exCONTr" Unknown BSicon "eKRZo" Unknown BSicon "exSTRq" Unknown BSicon "exSTRq" Unknown BSicon "eABZgr+r"
Straight track Unrestricted border on track
Boundary of GMPTE
Straight track Station on track
Birchwood
Straight track Station on track
Padgate
West Coast Main Line
Continuation to left Unknown BSicon "ABZ3lg" Junction both to and from right Straight track
Parkside Liverpool Junction
(Golborne Junction)
Track turning left Unknown BSicon "KRZo" Track turning from right Unknown BSicon "exSTRrg" Unknown BSicon "eABZrf"
GMPTE boundary
Unrestricted border on track Straight track Unknown BSicon "exSTR" Straight track
Merseytravel boundary
Unrestricted border on track Straight track Unknown BSicon "exSTR" Straight track
Newton-le-Willows
Station on track Straight track Unknown BSicon "exSTR" Station on track
Warrington Central
Unknown BSicon "kABZgl" + Unknown BSicon "vBHFl legende" + Hub
Straight track Unknown BSicon "exSTR" Straight track
Earlestown
Straight track + Unknown BSicon "kABZc1" + Unknown BSicon "kABZc2" + Unknown BSicon "HUB26"
Unknown BSicon "kABZl+l" + Track turning left
Unknown BSicon "xKRZo" Unknown BSicon "KRZo" Continuation to right
West Coast Main Line
Unknown BSicon "kABZg+l" + Station + Hub
Unknown BSicon "xABZrg" Track turning right
St Helens Junction
Station on track Station on track
Sankey for Penketh
Unknown BSicon "ekABZgr" Unknown BSicon "eABZlf" Unknown BSicon "exSTRlg"
to Wigan via St Helens
Unknown BSicon "exCONTr" Unknown BSicon "exkABZqr"
Unknown BSicon "eKRZo" + Unknown BSicon "exkABZc4"
Unknown BSicon "exSTRq" Unknown BSicon "eKRZo" Unknown BSicon "exKRZo" Unknown BSicon "exCONTl"
to Runcorn Gap
Lea Green
Station on track Station on track Unknown BSicon "exSTR"
Widnes
Straight track Straight track Unknown BSicon "exBHF"
Widnes Central
Rainhill
Station on track Unknown BSicon "eABZrg" Unknown BSicon "exSTRrf"
Whiston
Station on track Unrestricted border on track
Merseytravel boundary
to Wigan and WCML
Continuation to left Junction from right Station on track
Hough Green
Huyton
Station on track Straight track
Roby
Station on track Station on track
Halewood
Broad Green
Station on track Straight track
Olive Mount Chord
Unknown BSicon "kABZgr" Station on track
Hunts Cross
Kirkdale and
Continuation to left Unknown BSicon "kABZr+r"
Station on track + Unknown BSicon "kABZc3" + Unknown BSicon "kABZc4"
Straight track
Wavertree Technology Park
Liverpool Docks
Unknown BSicon "kABZg+r" Straight track
Straight track Track turning from left Junction to right
to Runcorn
Straight track Junction from left Unknown BSicon "KRZo" Continuation to right
(Crewe - Liverpool Line)
Liverpool South Parkway
Straight track Right side of cross-platform interchange Left side of cross-platform interchange Airport
for John Lennon Airport
West Allerton
Straight track Station on track Unknown BSicon "eBHF"
Garston
Mossley Hill
Straight track Station on track Straight track
Junction from left Track turning right Continuation forward
Merseyrail Northern Line
Station on track
Edge Hill
Enter and exit tunnel
Edge Hill Tunnel
Liverpool Lime Street
End station

There are two Liverpool to Manchester railway lines between the cities of Liverpool and Manchester in the North West of England. The 'Northern Route' via Earlestown and Newton-le-Willows to either Manchester Victoria or Manchester Piccadilly follows the route of the original Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The 'Southern Route' via Warrington Central to Manchester Piccadilly operates on lines formerly owned by the Cheshire Lines Committee.

Contents

Northern route

The northern line runs from Liverpool Lime Street station, via Earlestown and Newton-le-Willows, and continues to either Manchester Victoria or Manchester Piccadilly. The semi-fast services to Manchester Airport are usually operated by Class 156 DMUs, whilst slower services to Manchester Victoria are generally worked by Class 142 and Class 150 trains. The northerly of the two lines follows George Stephenson's original 32 mile (51.5 km) Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which was one of the world's first passenger railways, and the first to have run a 'scheduled' service, having opened in 1830. Many early steam locomotives were initially used on this line including Stephenson's Rocket which won the Rainhill Trials in 1829 (see List of Liverpool and Manchester Railway locomotives).

Current services

As of 2009, an hourly semi-fast service is operated by Northern Rail, from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Airport, usually calling at Wavertree Technology Park, St Helens Junction, Newton-le-Willows, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly, and continuing to Manchester Airport.[1]

Northern Rail also operates an hourly service calling at all stations along the line between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria.[1] After a short pause at Manchester Victoria, the train then continues to Ashton-under-Lyne and Stalybridge.[2] This 'stopping service' is supplemented by an additional all-stations service between Liverpool Lime Street and Earlestown, which continues along the WCML to Warrington Bank Quay.[1]

Between Earlestown and Manchester Piccadilly, there are additional hourly services operated by Arriva Trains Wales, which originate from Llandudno via the North Wales Coast Line and Chester.[3]

On Sundays there is one train per hour along the line which stops at all stations to Manchester Piccadilly, except Edge Hill and Patricroft. It is operated by Northern Rail, and continues from Manchester Picadilly to Manchester Airport.[1]

Northern Rail is the dominant operator of the route and their services are run by either Class 142, Class 150 or Class 156 DMUs. Arriva Trains Wales services between Earlestown and Manchester Piccadilly are usually operated by Class 175 units, however Class 158s may substitute on occasions.

The northern Liverpool to Manchester route is also usually used by First TransPennine Express and East Midlands Trains for empty coaching stock (ECS) movements, and as a diversionary route when the southern route is closed.

In past years, the line has been used by many express services which included through trains to Leeds, York and Newcastle (via Huddersfield), and to Preston, Glasgow Central and Edinburgh (diverging onto the WCML at Newton-le-Willows). Local trains also ran to Manchester via Leigh, but these services ceased in 1969 when the Eccles-Tyldesley-Leigh-Kenyon branch was closed as a result of the Beeching Axe. The northern Liverpool to Manchester line has also seen regular use over the years for diverted services from the WCML when parts of the latter have been closed for engineering work, however diversions via Manchester instead have now become more common as they do not involve the train reversing, as would be necessary at Edge Hill, and the line is also electrifed for a greater part of the route.

Technical details

The key junctions on this route are:

  • Edge Hill West Jn (to CLC line via Warrington Central)
  • Edge Hill East Jn (to Edge Hill CS)
  • Bootle Branch Jn (to Canada Dock Branch, leading to the docks)
  • Huyton Jn (to Wigan line)
  • Earlestown West Jn (WCML Southbound via Warrington Bank Quay)
  • Earlestown East Jn (WCML Southbound via Warrington Bank Quay)
  • Newton-le-Willows Jn (for daily Wigan via Golborne Junction services)
  • Parkside Jn (for daily Wigan via Golborne Junction services)
  • Eccles Station Jn (to the Weaste branch towards the Manchester Ship Canal)
  • Ordsall Lane Jn (separates Chat Moss line (to Victoria) from Bolton lines (to Piccadilly) [4]

During a journey trains are controlled by:

  • Lime Street control (LS) (Lime Street and the Lime Street tunnels)
  • Edge Hill signal box (LE) (Edge Hill to Edge Hill junction)
  • Huyton signal box (HN) (Edge Hill to Huyton)
  • Warrington signal box (WN)
  • Astley signal box (AY)
  • Eccles signal box (ES)
  • Manchester Piccadilly control (MP)

Proposed developments

Electrification

The Department for Transport announced in July 2009 that this line will be electrified[5] with 25 kV, 50 Hz AC, overhead line.[6] The electrification process is due to be completed by 2013,[6] with planning starting immediately as of August 2009. Once the electrification of the line is complete, the journey time between Liverpool and Manchester will be reduced from around 45 minutes today, to 30 minutes due to the greater acceleration achieved by electric trains and a raise of the speed limit along the line from 75 to 90 mph.[6] Class 319 dual-voltage EMUs will be fully refurbished and transferred from the Thameslink route to operate between Liverpool and Manchester, and possibly class 323s or 333s as well,[6] whilst Thameslink services will be operated by new energy-efficient trains which are due to be delivered between 2011 and 2013.[7] Upon election, the new Conservative and Liberal Democrat UK government reviewed the timetable of Liverpool to Manchester electrification and delayed the completion by 3 years, with electric trains now not due to start operating until 2016.[8]

As a result of the electrification, TransPennine Express services between Manchester Airport and Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley, currently operated by Class 185 DMUs via the Manchester to Preston Line will be operated by Class 350 EMUs transferred from the West Midlands franchise and re-routed along a portion of the northern Liverpool to Manchester route before joining the West Coast Main Line (WCML) at Golborne Junction.[6] The elecrification of this route will also offer electric haulage options for freight trains, giving a secondary route to the WCML from Liverpool. Plans to electrify the line completely have been confirmed.[9]

Southern route

The southern route runs from Liverpool Lime Street via Warrington Central to Manchester Piccadilly. There are 4 passenger trains per hour (tph) in each direction between Liverpool and Manchester, which are usually operated by a variety of Class 142, Class 150, Class 156, Class 158 and Class 185 DMUs, although Class 170 and Class 222 units have also made appearances on the line. These services are run by a mixture of rail companies and the time intervals are not evenly spaced out; there are large gaps between some services, and at other times trains leave within minutes of each other. TransPennine Express (TPE) are the only operator on the route to run modern Class 185 trains, while other operators run a mixture of older rolling stock. While TPE's once per hour service generally take 45 minutes to reach Manchester from Liverpool Lime Street, some Northern Rail services take an hour and ten minutes to cover the 35 miles. The line's newest station is Liverpool South Parkway which opened in June 2006 after its estimated construction cost of £16 million had doubled to £32 million by the time it was completed. This station replaced Allerton and Garston stations and has frequent bus links to Liverpool John Lennon Airport. This route is busier than the northern route.[citation needed]

The line uses the original London and North Western Railway route as far as Allerton Junction to the immediate south east of Liverpool South Parkway, where the Hunts Cross chord connects it to the line built by the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) in 1873. A portion of this line between Hunts Cross and Liverpool Central is now used by the Merseyrail Northern Line before entering a new tunnel built in the 1970s beneath Liverpool City Centre. Originally, this CLC line ran between Liverpool Central high level and Manchester Central, however Manchester Central station closed in 1969 and during the 1980s was transformed into an exhibition and conference centre commonly known as the GMEX centre. As a result of this closure, the Manchester stations presently in use on the line are Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly. Liverpool Central high level was demolished in 1973 due to most of the traffic being diverted to Liverpool Lime Street and all of the station's platforms are now underground.

Current services

Presently (2009), a half-hourly fast service operates between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly, calling at Warrington Central and Manchester Oxford Road. Of the two trains per hour, one is operated by East Midlands Trains and the other by First TransPennine Express. East Midlands Trains' services usually also stop at Liverpool South Parkway and Widnes, and continue beyond Manchester to Norwich via Sheffield and Nottingham,[10] while the First TransPennine Express services do not call at Widnes, but call instead at Birchwood and usually continue to Scarborough via Leeds and York, although some trains also operate to Hull, Middlesbrough, or Newcastle.[11]

There is also a half-hourly local service operated by Northern Rail along the southern route to Manchester Oxford Road. Many intermediate stations are served by both of these trains, although some just by one per hour, while Glazebrook, Humphrey Park and Trafford Park are served only occasionally outside peak periods.[12] On Sundays this service only operates once per hour, and several stations along the route receive no Sunday service.[12]

The majority of the First TransPennine Express Services are operated by Class 185 trains, although once each weekday evening a Class 170 works along the line from Liverpool Lime Street to Hull via Manchester and operates in the opposite direction each Saturday evening. East Midlands Trains mainly use Class 158s along the line, and as of August 2009, the fleet of 27 units are currently undergoing a thorough refurbishment programme.[13] As on the northern route via Newton-le-Willows, Northern Rail operate a mixture of Class 142, Class 150 and Class 156 units along the line.

In the past, the CLC route was used by a variety of local services in addition to limited-stop expresses between the two cities. These included trains between Warrington Central and Stockport Tiviot Dale, Liverpool and Manchester to Wigan Central and even Liverpool to Southport Lord Street via Aintree Central, although the latter route was closed as long ago as 1952. The diversion of Liverpool-bound trains to Lime Street in 1966 and the closure of Manchester Central in 1969 (all trains subsequently running to Oxford Road and Piccadilly) saw the route downgraded in importance and from then until the mid-1980s it was operated as a self-contained route due to congestion issues at the Manchester end. The service frequency was also lower than at present, for example the British Rail 1985 timetable had one semi-fast and one stopping train per hour in each direction on weekdays (excluding the weekday peaks periods). Through running to destinations east of Manchester via this route only began on a regular basis in 1986, when the opening of a new connection at Hazel Grove allowed trains from the Sheffield direction to run via Stockport and thus avoid conflicting movements across the station throat at Piccadilly.

Technical details

The key junctions on this route are:

  • Lime Street (used to move trains onto appropriate platform)
  • Edge Hill East Junction (for the Huyton line)
  • Allerton West Junction (to WCML, knows as Allerton junction)
  • Hunts Cross Junction (to Merseyrail Northern Line)
  • Glazebrook East Junction (formerly for Warrington-Stockport services, but now used as a passing point)
  • Trafford Park Junction (for Euroterminal freight terminal)
  • Castlefield Junction (where lines to Manchester converge).[4]

During a journey trains are controlled by:

  • Lime Street control (LS) (Lime Street and the Lime Street tunnels)
  • Edge Hill signal box (LE) (Edge Hill to Edge Hill junction)
  • Allerton signal box (AN) (Edge Hill junction to Liverpool South Parkway)
  • Hunts Cross signal box (HC) (Allerton junction to Widnes Station)
  • Warrington Central signal box (WC) (Widnes station to Padgate station)
  • Glazebrook East signal box (GE) (Birchwood station to Urmston)
  • Manchester Piccadilly control (MP) (Urmston to route terminus)

Other routes

The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway had its own route to the north of the present two. This ran from Liverpool Exchange station via the Liverpool and Bury Railway to Wigan Wallgate, then via the Manchester and Southport Railway to Manchester Victoria; at 37 miles (59.5 km) this route was the longest of the three. It is still possible to travel from Liverpool to Manchester Victoria via this route by taking the Merseyrail Northern Line from Liverpool Central to Kirkby and then transferring onto a Northern Rail service to Manchester, according to National Rail Enquires website this would take 1 hour 38 minutes, compare with less than 50 minutes from Lime Street to Manchester Piccadilly.

A further southerly route, using what was St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway and Warrington and Stockport Railway, connected Liverpool Lime Street with Manchester Oxford Road via Ditton Junction, Warrington Bank Quay (low level platforms) and Timperley. Part of this route is still used for coal and limestone traffic to Fiddlers Ferry Power Station, but east of Warrington it has been abandoned and now forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail.

References

  1. ^ a b c d "15 - Liverpool to Manchester Airport and Warrington Bank Quay via Earlestown (includes Helsby to Ellesmere Port)" (pdf). Northern Train times. Northern Rail Limited. 2009-05-17. http://www.northernrail.org/pdfs/timetables/20090427/15.pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  2. ^ "25 - Manchester to Stalybridge and Huddersfield" (pdf). Northern Train times. Northern Rail Limited. 2009-05-17. http://www.northernrail.org/pdfs/timetables/20090427/25.pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  3. ^ "4 - North Wales and Chester to Crewe, Warrington and Manchester" (pdf). Arriva Trains Wales Train Times. Arriva Trains Wales Limited. 2009-05-17. http://www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/assets/30F99FAF-1AFF-4344-8E0B-21389AF45360.pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  4. ^ a b Network Rail North West RUS (http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/rus%20documents/route%20utilisation%20strategies/north%20west/appendices/appendix%20b%20-%20baseline%20report.pdf Appendix B NWRUS), with assistance from (http://www.northernrailways.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?p=8354#8354 Northern Railways forum)
  5. ^ "£100m plan to electrify Manchester to Liverpool railway". DfT. 2009-07-23. http://dft.gov.uk/press/aroundtheweb/videos/northwestrailelectrification. Retrieved 2009-08-25. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b c d e "Britain's Transport Infrastructure - Rail Electrification" (pdf). DfT. 2009-07-22. pp. 22–24. http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/rail-electrification.pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-25. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Thameslink gets 14,500 more seats". BBC News. BBC. 2008-04-09. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7338401.stm. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  8. ^ "More than 2,100 new carriages for rail travellers as Government unveils rail investment package". News Distribution Service. News Distribution Service. 2010-10-25. http://nds.coi.gov.uk/content/detail.aspx?NewsAreaId=2&ReleaseID=416742&SubjectId=2. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  9. ^ Liverpool Echo (2009-12-10). "Alistair Darling speeds up rail electrification between Liverpool, Manchester and Preston". Liverpool Echo. http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/12/10/alistair-darling-speeds-up-rail-electrification-between-liverpool-manchester-and-preston-100252-25361544/. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  10. ^ "2 - Liverpool and Manchester to Norwich" (pdf). East Midlands Trains PDF timetables. East Midlands Trains Limited. 2009-05-17. http://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/NR/rdonlyres/6D0A3479-B055-4EE1-A954-3185E570004B/0/Route2TimetableMay09.pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-25. [dead link]
  11. ^ "North TransPennine timetable - Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Airport to the North East" (pdf). First TransPennine Express Train Times. First TransPennine Express. 2009-05-17. http://www.tpexpress.co.uk/Handlers/UploadHandler.ashx?id=922. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  12. ^ a b "16 - Liverpool to Manchester Piccadilly via Warrington Central" (pdf). Northern Train times. Northern Rail Limited. 2009-05-17. http://www.northernrail.org/pdfs/timetables/20090427/16.pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  13. ^ "Railway UK - East Midlands Trains Class 158 Refurbishments". http://railwayuk.50webs.com/158emt.html. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 

Further reading

  • R.V.J.Butt, (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Patrick Stephens Ltd.  ISBN 1-85260-508-1

See also


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