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Liverpool to Manchester by train in 32 minutes

Weary Lime Street commuters finally get a rocket

Written by . Published on May 21st 2014.

Liverpool to Manchester by train in 32 minutes

SUDDENLY Liverpool and Manchester have got even closer. Train company First TransPennine Express today launched a non-stop express from Lime Street, and the train really is taking the strain out of commuting between the two big cities. 

The hourly service to Manchester Victoria will take just 32 minutes - part of a brand new route that finishes at Newcastle. The service leaves at 12 minutes past the hour from 6am until 7pm. 

It complements the existing 45-minute express from Lime Street to Piccadilly. 

The first train in the opposite direction is at 7.35am and the last 8.35pm. 

The improved service adds an extra 38,000 seats on TransPennine trains out of Liverpool. 

The new timetable was launched with some razzmatazz at Lime Street, helped by Olympic Gold Medallist, Luke Campbell. 

Louise Ellman MP, Liverpool Riverside, said: “The railway network is a crucial part of our transport system and it is very reassuring to see companies like First TransPennine Express making such a large investment in improving its infrastructure.

Stephenson's RocketStephenson's Rocket at Edge Hill

"Liverpool can only benefit from more services, faster routes and of course more seats for commuters. It’s also good to see that the environment will benefit from the quieter new electric trains.” 

The new train uses the line that passes through Warrington (although it does not stop there).

Later this year competition will increase when the electrification of the original Liverpool to Manchester line (via Rainhill) is completed. 

That will see fast trains linking the two cities using the line made famous by Stephenson‘s Rocket in the 1830s. 

The improvements in rail links were welcomed today by Merseytravel’s chief executive, David Brown. 

He described TransPennine’s investment as a new dawn for rail in the Liverpool City Region. 

“This marks the massive investment in the rail network in the north beginning to come to fruition. The investment by the Department for Transport and Network Rail, the biggest investment since Victorian times, is ultimately about giving rail users a more reliable, less congested network, faster journey times and better connections between our cities and towns. 

He added: “This is just the start for the Liverpool City Region. December will see the completion of electrification of the lines between Lime Street and Manchester Victoria and Wigan. This will reduce the journey times of even more services, meaning that Liverpool to Manchester in half an hour will become the norm. 

“These improvements don’t just bring benefits for those people who make end to end journeys but for also for those people who live and work along the route such as in Huyton or St Helens.” 

Mr Brown said the current improvement programme isn’t in isolation.

North Wales

“The long term rail strategy which Merseytravel is developing on behalf of the Liverpool City Region builds in and around these programmes to further improve connections and capacity within the region and beyond during the next 30 years, creating a truly integrated and seamless network for passengers and freight. 

“HS2 is lynchpin of the strategy which also includes further growth of the Merseyrail network and development of the Halton Curve to allow for direct services from Liverpool into North Wales.” 

The Halton Curve is a stretch of track linking the West Coast Line at Runcorn with the main line into North Wales through Chester. 

Re-opening that route to passenger trains is also backed by the Welsh Assembly, particularly assembly members in North Wales constituencies. 

Until the 1960s and 1970s, regular excursions from Lime Street to Llandudno were popular with day trippers. 

First TransPennine, as part of its expansion, has introduced a new hourly service from Manchester to Scotland. Currently Liverpool passengers heading north of Hadrian’s Wall have to change at Wigan. 

A direct service to Glasgow from Liverpool would be welcome, said Louise Ellman. 

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

John BradleyMay 21st 2014.

Presumably this is not electrified so will it get even faster when electric trains can be used? Best bet on Scotland IMHO is to extend some of the Liverpool London Services to Edinburgh via Glasgow.

mickeydrippin'May 21st 2014.

One small error in the report. The new service goes to Manchester Victoria along the Chat Moss route (i.e. via St Helens Junction and Earlestown) - NOT via Warrington.

AnonymousMay 21st 2014.

“HS2 is lynchpin of the strategy". So seeing as planned HS2 isn't coming to Liverpool, the lynchpin has been pulled out and the strategic will fly apart? But hold on, HS2 has never been coming to Liverpool so why on earth has Merseytravel based its strategy on an non-existant lynchpin? And John, the Chat Moss line is being electrified not the Warrington line. On electrification of Chat Moss nothing will change on this route. Although it does raise the question of why the fastest service to Manchester has been so slow all these years when a LIV-PICC service of 32 mins duration (is this fact checked?) was possible so long as it was a non-stopping service.

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyMay 21st 2014.

HS2 is coming via the classic compatible which will still reduce journey time but not as much as a direct connection. There are as you know several campaigns to get a proper connection. A while back a minister even comments it was assumed that after Manchester Liverpool would be connected. If we really wanted to improve Lpl->Man connection then reopening the route via Kirkby and Wigan and electrify it. Then people could save time by not having to travel into the city center. Same with the route south via Latchford via duct connecting via Altrincham. Miss read the bit about which route this was taking. When are Merseytravel going to publish this strategy? Here is mine drive.google.com/…/edit…

Dick ShunneryMay 21st 2014.

"HS2 is lynchpin of the strategy" - according to the OED it is actually a linchpin. 'Lynch' is from the US and means something entirely different.

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