North West

Second city crossing set to open on 26 February

Manchester’s transformational new tram line is on track to open to passengers later this month, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) announced today.

Subject to final testing and commissioning, the first passenger services will run on the new Second City Crossing on Sunday 26 February.
The new line will offer new links and more frequent trams through Manchester city centre, as well as improved service reliability and greater operational flexibility.

This city crossing runs from a major new stop at St Peter’s Square along Cross Street to stops at Exchange Square and Victoria, and will allow more trams to run through the city centre and across the 93-stop network.

The Second City Crossing is the final piece in Metrolink’s £1.5bn ‘big bang’ expansion programme – which has seen extensions to MediaCityUK, East Didsbury, Rochdale via Oldham, Ashton and Manchester Airport.

Importantly, the new line will support the tram network’s future growth by allowing for increased services to run on some lines as demand to travel grows.

Construction work on the new city crossing finished late last year and has been followed by a rigorous testing and commissioning process, including driver training.

When the new line opens, Manchester Airport services will run to the city centre Deansgate-Castlefield stop and, later this year, will continue to Victoria.

Services that currently terminate at Deansgate-Castlefield and Exchange Square will continue across the city centre to Shaw and Crompton and East Didsbury.

Consultation opens on Warrington West

Warrington Borough Council have opened a consultation into the proposed railway station at Warrington West. An online questionnaire is open until 6 March 2017. 

Alternatively project representatives will be at the following venues over the next few weeks:

They will be at: 

Sainsburys Chapelford on 18 February (10:00 – 16:00)
Honiton Square on 21 February (10:00 – 16:00)

Sankey for Penketh station on 22 February (07:00 – 14:30)

Sainsburys Chapelford on 23 February (14:00 – 19:00)

The biggest concern raised at the previous consultation was that Sankey and Penketh would be closed. The rail industry have agreed to serve the station during peak hours. 

The railway station is planned to feature the following aspects. 

High quality station building which echoes local history with a building design based on an ‘aircraft hanger’.

A staffed station to improve customer service and promote safety and security. 

Three trains per hour will stop at the station, one limited stop and one stopper.

High quality, easy access for cyclists and pedestrian station users.

Safe, secure and convenient cycle parking.

Good interchange with current and future bus services. 

Space for drop off and taxis. A large, secure pay and display car park with approximately 250 spaces including CCTV and lighting.

Further information and the online questionnaire can be found here

Preferred site for Skelmersdale railway station identified

Lancashire County Council, in partnership with West Lancashire Borough Council and Merseytravel, has identified the former Glenburn Sports College/Westbank Campus site as the preferred location for a railway station for Skelmersdale.
The decision follows a comparative assessment of the two possible sites, identified in an earlier study by Network Rail.

The assessment, commissioned by the county council and carried out by Network Rail, looked at the two identified sites: the former Glenburn Sports College / Westbank Campus site and the site next to the Concourse shopping centre.
The study assessed the potential station sites against a number of criteria, including:

  • impact on the highway
  • good pedestrian and cycle access
  • able to provide a park and ride sufficient for 250 vehicles but capable of expansion to cater for up to 500 vehicles
  • able to provide a set down and pick up area
  • able to provide a station building with good passenger and staff accommodation along with the ability to provide a retail facility
  • able to provide good bus interchange with up to four drive through bus stands
  • able to provide good connectivity to the town centre/residential areas
  • potential challenges to the construction of the station
  • ability to act as a catalyst for regeneration.

County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “This is a really exciting step forward in the process of bringing a railway station to Skelmersdale.
“This was a comprehensive study and clearly identified the Glenburn Sports College and Westbank Campus site as the most suitable option. The site is big enough to provide a high quality station with scope to expand to meet future demand. It has good highway access and good connectivity to the town and the surrounding area.
“There is still a long way to go on this project but identifying the right site is a really significant milestone on the way.”
Councillor John Hodson, West Lancashire Borough Council portfolio holder for Planning, said: “The Borough Council is really pleased that in partnership with Lancashire County Council progress continues to be made on this key project.”

“The identification of the preferred location for a railway station is an important step in a major project for the people of Skelmersdale and the Borough Council looks forward to working with the county council to ensure the station is built.”

The former Glenburn Sports College closed on 31 August 2016. The site is owned by Lancashire County Council. The former Westbank Campus is owned by Newcastle College, which merged with Skelmersdale and Ormskirk College in 2007. Both sites are currently unused. 

The county council will now start the process of acquiring the relevant land.

Council approves Maghull North plans

The development of a new station in Maghull has moved a step closer after planning permission was granted for the scheme at a Sefton Council planning committee meeting this week (Wednesday 18th January).

The planning committee approved plans for the new Maghull North station, which will be located just off School Lane, between the existing Maghull and Town Green stations on the Ormskirk branch of Merseyrail’s Northern Line.

The station is a key piece of infrastructure in the Sefton Local Plan, supporting demand from an adjacent new housing development which will include 370 homes, with more homes planned for the area in the near future. It will also offer relief for the existing station in the town.

The £13m scheme is being funded through the Government’s Local Growth Fund (LGF), Merseytravel and the Homes and Communities Association, which currently owns the land on which the station will be built. It will form part of the wider £340m investment by Network Rail and the Liverpool City Region in rail improvements over the next three years.

Facilities at the new station will include:-

  • Staffed station building and ticket office with passenger toilet.
  • Passenger waiting facilities on platform
  • Step-free access with lifts and a bridge to, from and between both platforms and the station building.
  • 156-space car park with blue badge, motorcycle parking and cycle storage.
  • Pedestrian and cycle routes from School Lane and Park Lane to the station and bus stops on School Lane.
  • Future provision for electric vehicle charging points.

Work is due to start on site in August 2017, with the station opening planned for May 2018.

More information on the scheme can be found at

Trafford Park enabling works begin

Enabling works have triggered the start of the construction of the Trafford Park Metrolink extension.

The project will see a new six stop line offering rapid transport connections to key business and leisure destinations on a 3.4 mile (5.5km) route to the intu Trafford Centre.

Advanced utility works are now underway, which will run concurrently with other enabling works. Some local traffic management measures will be required at sites on Barton Dock Road, Village Way, Village Place and Trafford Wharf Road.

The website for further information can be found here