A further £3m investment pushes forward plans for an extension of the Merseyrail Northern Line to a new station, scheduled to be open by 2023. Tony McDonough reports
An extension to Merseyrail’s Northern Line could be a reality by 2023 with a further £3.3m invested into a project to build a new station at Kirkby.
At the moment, the Kirkby line, which runs from the city centre and through north Liverpool, and into one station in the town. The extension plan would see a second station at Kirkby Headbolt Lane, serving Northwood and Tower Hill.
Now the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which oversees the Merseyrail network via Merseytravel, has invested £3.3m from it Strategic Investment Fund to move it to the next stage of Network Rail’s design process.
The new station plans include proposals for around 500 park and ride spaces and a bus interchange with step-free access throughout the station and onto the new Merseyrail trains, which are due to be introduced later this year.
Northern services from Wigan and Manchester would also operate to and from the new station. The development also forms part of the plans to build new rail link to Skelmersdale, which would connect to the Merseyrail network via Kirkby.
Merseytravel is continuing to work with Lancashire County Council and West Lancashire Council to support that scheme. An outline business case is currently being developed for the Kirkby scheme, which is expected to be completed by September 2020. It is planned for the new station to be operational by 2023.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “It’s a really exciting moment and great news for the people of Kirkby. It shows my continued commitment to invest in transport infrastructure across the whole city region.
“As a local lad, Kirkby is close to my heart so I’m pleased that it will now be better connected to the city region via our new trains which will be some of the most sophisticated in the country. An improved public transport network is central to building back better and supporting our economic recovery.
“I remain determined to deliver our ambitious plans for a London-style integrated transport network that the people of the city region deserve. We know that transport may look different post-coronavirus, but that will not stop us from realising our ambitions for the future.”