Thursday, 16 November 2017

Lime Street Update

Things are gradually progressing at Lime Street, the next blockade is at Christmas.

Work on the new platforms is moving on:
 .. and at the other end, electrification masts and danglies are in place:
Meanwhile, the replacement platform edge on 8 (old number) is also slowly progressing:

Monday, 23 October 2017

Lime Street New Layout

This morning's restart of normal services did not go well, a number of cancellations and an awful lot of late running, although none of this seemed to be related to the new layout at Lime Street.

I took a trip down to Lime Street to see things for myself.  Starting at Platforms 1 and 2 (Using the old platform numbers.) the temporary signals are bagged and the crossover is fixed out of use:
Looking out from the end of platform 2 you can see the layout for platforms 1 to 4 is unchanged:
There's quite a lot of work to be done on the two new platforms, although the track is in place and connected up:
At the far end of platform 7 you can see the new layout:
Platform 8 is currently closed, 9 is in use:
Finally, walking to the end of nine revealed a new mast base for the electrification of the new platforms:
I have updated my live map to reflect the new situation.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Something Wrong?

Since midday on Tuesday, no passenger trains have used the Up Fast through Roby and Huyton platforms three.  Trains for the St Helens route have used platform four as usual, trains for the Chat Moss route have also used platform four, and crossed over after Huyton.  Here's Wednesday's 12.14 departure from Huyton with the appropriate feather:
My first thought on Tuesday was that there was a track or signalling fault on the Up Fast, but an ECS on Tuesday evening, and another one on Wednesday ran along there OK.  So my best guess is a lift fault or something similar.  I couldn't see any sign of this at Huyton, maybe it's at Roby.  Or perhaps someone's made a decision that all up stoppers will use the slow line.  They've not done that in the past on the down lines.

Most freights are also using the up slow, although one late on Wednesday evening used the fast.  Here's 6E10 on its way to Drax on Wednesday lunchtime:

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Health And Safety Gone Mad?

I noticed these odd wooden structures fixed to the fence at Huyton last week, but forgot to photograph them until today.
Both are next to lamp-posts, could they be something to do with safety clearances from the newly installed overhead?

Friday, 13 October 2017


A brief visit to Lime Street today revealed the following:

The track in platform 7 (old number) has been replaced, it was missing earlier in the week.  The edging still needs to be done:
I was surprised to see that not only have they dug out the trackbed through the little arch at the far end of new platforms 7 and 8, but they have laid track and connected it up, because a train of ballast hoppers was on platform 8 (new) with a loco in the throat out of sight from the camera:
The 14.45 to Wigan was a class 156:
I keep hoping I've had my last ride home on a diesel, but they keep turning up.  I think the diagram must go somewhere not electrified, because this service was a 156 yesterday as well, so it doesn't look like a substitution for a failed 319.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

New Layout Day Two

Everything seemed to be running fairly smoothly this morning apart from the first train to Manchester which was cancelled due to a "diagram error", which I think means someone forgot to organise a train or a crew.

I wandered up to Huyton at lunchtime to admire the new platform 4:
Everything seems to be finished, although a number of TSRs apply while the track beds in.

Next, off to Lime Street to see what's happening there.  There's just a single track available between Edge Hill and Lime Street, the Up Slow, and only platforms one and two at Lime Street are in use.  A new crossover has been installed between the two platforms so that trains can use the single bore "mousehole" tunnel.  There's just room behind the two temporary signals for a four car train on each platform:
Here's a train leaving from platform two and crossing over:
Unfortunately my train was the last movement on platform one for some time because after the above departure the signaller was unable to get point detection in the platform one position.  Everyone on the Wigan train in P1 was moved to P2, and then the service was cancelled altogether.  Eventually an orangeman arrived and cleared a few stones away from the blades, but this was no help:
As I left on a train from platform two a further team of staff were arriving, and normal service was restored for the 13.45 departure which ran from one.

Elsewhere at Lime Street, lots of the work is hidden behind hoardings, but I could see that platform seven has no track:
In the throat there's lots of new track, and a new ladder crossover has appeared half way along the tunnels - I think this is to be the new Crown Street Junction.  Two class 66 locos were powering works trains in the tunnels and at Edge Hill.

Monday, 9 October 2017

New Layout Day One

Well, things got off to an inauspicious start this morning with 15 cancellations, but things seem to be running a little more smoothly now.  The problem was with the temporary single line working between Edge Hill and Lime street, and not our new track at Huyton, which seems to have been fine, although I did notice all up trains used platform four for a while.

My live diagram at has now been updated to show the new signals and route selections, and also an approximation of what is available at Lime Street at the moment.

Friday, 6 October 2017

All Quiet At Huyton

I paid a brief visit to Huyton station this morning and in a marked contrast to yesterday there was almost nothing going on.  I take this as good sign that the work is pretty much complete.

One gang of orangemen were digging a hole adjacent to the fourth track for a new sign, another TSR board maybe, or perhaps a permanent "Restricted Clearance" board.

So I think everything is looking good for Monday morning, I'm guessing we'll see a test train on Sunday.  Anyone going for a ride on 2P11 06:15 Liverpool Lime Street to Preston on Monday, the first passenger train over the new track?  No, me neither!

Literally as I was typing the above, one of the new signalling berths came to life on my diagram ( so it looks like signalling testing is under way.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Huyton and Roby Thursday

At Huyton Junction this afternoon a whole line of road-railers were working on the new line:
and another one was near the station:
Meanwhile, at Roby I could see the new signal is in position and lit:
Does anyone know the number?

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Huyton Wednesday

I wasn't intending to do a post every day, but there's so much progress to report!

I visited Huyton this morning to find another new signal erected, on the Up Slow a little east of platform four.  It has a position 4 feather for trains heading to the Chat Moss lines (It's the far one in this picture.)
Frustratingly, the plate with the number on hasn't been applied yet, so I can't update my diagram at

More importantly, and just about visible in the picture above, the overhead for the fourth line is in place.  To the untrained eye it looks complete - catenary and contact wire, and I couldn't spot any temporary pulleys etc.

I'd forgotten how much more copper-coloured and shiny new overhead is, it was obvious from some distance away that some had been put up, as soon as I could see the line.

Update:  Lo and behold, a few hours after I wrote the above, the signal's plate has been fitted!  LL5580.  Coincidence, or is someone reading this blog?

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Huyton Tuesday

Actually, we'll start on Monday evening:  At 19:30 a tamping machine was standing on the Up Fast just east of Huyton station.  By 22:00 it was hard at work on the new Up Slow.

On Tuesday morning the improvement was clearly apparent, with the fourth line nicely fettled into the distance:
As you can see, the orange army were busy tidying up the details.  I could see that the new pointwork at Huyton Junction was apparently complete.  No signs of any overhead yet, but I'm told some wires are up at Roby.

While I was there, a rail-mounted digger arrived from the west:

Monday, 2 October 2017

Huyton Monday

Nothing much of photographic interest this morning but I did note the following:
  • The fourth track is pretty much fully in place between Huyton and Huyton Junction, although in need of aligning and tamping.  The electrification masts blocking the fourth line have all gone.
  • The fixed red LL9591 at the west end of platform three, no longer required, has been removed.  (This and the next item were done yesterday.)
  • A new fixed red LL9593 at the west end of platform four is in place and lit.
  • A 50mph TSR sign was being erected on the Up Fast (I think) immediately east of Huyton station.
  • On platform four the tarmac has been re-instated and all the barriers blocking the platform since 2014 have been removed.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Huyton Day Two

LL3586 is back as expected, without its feather:
Some more track panels seem to have been delivered, if you compare this picture with yesterday's.  Or perhaps they've just been moved from elsewhere on the site.

At Huyton Junction, spoil from the line of the fourth track was being loaded into a train worked by 56113:
If you look just above the loco you can see a strap supporting the catenary for the Up Fast, because the mast in the way of the new line has been removed.  (See picture in my post last week.)
On the other end of the spoil train was 70811:

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Future Works

On day one of the blockade, let's have look at what's coming up in the future:
  • Christmas resignalling work:  72 hour closure of Liverpool Lime Street.  54 hour closure Edge Hill to Weaver Junction and Edge Hill to Huyton. 
  • Platforms 6 (old number) and 9 (old) will remain closed at Lime Street from Christmas until April.
  • Sunday 21 January, Sunday 28 January, Sunday 4 February, :  Lines closed Wavertree Junction to Hunts Cross / Ditton for resignalling.
  • Easter 2018:  Four day blockade Wavertree Junction to Crewe for signalling work.  Four day blockade at Manchester Victoria for "structures", whatever that means.
  • Sunday 08 April:  Lime Street closed for resignalling work.
  • Platforms 4 (old) and 9 (old) at Lime Street closed from April until July.
  • 14 April to 29 April:  Blockade for electrification between Philips Park West Junction and Stalybridge Junction; also Denton Jn to Ashton Moss North and Baguley Fold Jn to Philips Park South Jn.
  • May Bank Holiday Weekend:  Four day blockade Wavertree Junction to Weaver Junction for resignalling work.
  • Spring Bank Holiday Weekend:  Three day blockade Wavertree Junction to Weaver Junction for resignalling work.
  • June/July 2018:  Major blockades at Lime Street with total closure 02 June to 10 June and 14 July to 29 July.  Very limited service 11 June to 13 July.
All the above are, of course, provisional, especially the later ones.

Huyton Day One

Work got under way last night at Huyton and progress has been made already.

Just east of the station, signal LL3586 has been taken away leaving just a stump:
It's the one in the middle of the picture.  I'm expecting it to come back without its feather in due course.

A little further east at Huyton Junction they're getting on with the changes to the electrification, with a new portal structure being craned in:

Friday, 29 September 2017

Last Day

A correspondent (Thanks, David.) reports a notice at Huyton warning that the Up Chat Moss Slow (Roby and Huyton platform 4.) overhead should be treated as live from 12:00 Sunday 8 October.

That doesn't leave much time for testing, as the first train along there is due at 0629 on Monday morning.

(I'm assuming all the track changes will be complete by then, in which case trains for the Up St Helens line will have to use platform 4.)

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Five Days To Go

OK, OK, five and a half days!

I paid a visit to Huyton today to see how things are going.  The overnight possession last night was released late, wrecking the service until 10:00.

The electrification equipment at Huyton Junction looks ready, or as ready as it can be before the blockade actually starts.
In this picture just east of Huyton you can see:
  1. Top right, a gallows support from the south side, no changes required.
  2. Right hand mast, planted in the middle of the future fourth track, to be removed.
  3. Left hand mast and short gallows, new support for third and fourth track catenary.
When I was at the station a team of signalling people were testing cables for the new signals, perhaps they were pulled through last night.  Lots of shouts of "There's a ten core plus a two core for the feather" but they didn't reveal any new signal numbers while I was listening.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Eight Days To Go

Just eight days of normal train service remain, before Lime Street closes for phase one of its upgrade.  I'm still not entirely clear how much of the work will be completed in this phase.

Tracks have been laid for the new platforms 7 and 8, although there's still quite a lot to finish, as you can see:
(Update:  Another visit a day later revealed that the tracks laid so far stop before the point where they should merge and pass under the narrow bridge, so there is indeed a lot more to do.)

Meanwhile, at Huyton platform 4, the edging stones are all back in place with just the tarmac remaining to be re-done.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Progress Report Early September

Work continues at Huyton Junction, and I noticed a signal base has appeared for the platform four "starter".  (If anyone has the numbers for the new signals I'd be grateful.)
I also noticed a shiny new AWS magnet in the four foot west of Roby and since writing that I've seen another one in platform 4 there.  TPWS grids have appeared as well, you can see one in the above photo.

The edge of platform four at Huyton is suffering the same demolition and rebuild as happened at Roby:
Clearly someone slipped up - I hope we're not paying for all this work to be redone.

At Lime Street, the new platforms are well on their way:

Friday, 4 August 2017


At Huyton a further length of the fourth line, from the current end of rails to the far end of the telephone exchange, has received sleepers, but no rails yet.
Update:  By Sunday rails were in place on these sleepers, and a number of S&C track panels were stacked on them.

Meanwhile, at Lime Street, the 'hole' which will eventually become the two new platforms, has been almost completely excavated.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Platform Work at Roby and Huyton

I was somewhat surprised last week to see that all the edge stones on the recently built platform 4 at Roby have been lifted, before anyone had a chance to board a train there.
I don't know the reason for this, perhaps it was built in the wrong place, or the requirements have since changed.

At Huyton, platform 4 will be closed along with the northern access to the station, from 7 August.  Some pallets of building materials have been delivered to the platform, suggesting that similar work is to be undertaken here.

Friday, 21 July 2017

New Timetable: Electric trains! - Ordsall Chord

This week the first details of the new timetable, valid from Sunday 10 December this year until Saturday 19 May 2018 trickled into my database, so here's the results of a very quick scan.

The service at Huyton is pretty similar to the current one, but with many trains re-timed by a few minutes.  The exciting news is that they are, at last, timed for 100mph Class 319 units instead of Class 142 pacers.  This results in slightly faster running times, for example 3 minutes less for a stopping train from Wigan to Lime Street and 5 minutes saved Manchester Victoria to Lime Street.

Of course, a change much more important in the scheme of things is the opening of the Ordsall Chord, with trains from Oxford Road to Leeds (Via Victoria and Bradford.)   Here's an example:

Another important change in the new timetable is the appearance of electric services at Bolton.  Only local ones so far, there aren't any Scotland services.

Don't forget, as I always say in posts about new timetables, the data is well outside Network Rail's twelve week window and so must be considered provisional.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Lime Street Remodelling

The timetable for the first week of the autumn works at Liverpool Lime Street arrived in my database this morning.  Update:  I have added details of later in the period as they were released.

Here's a summary of the effects on "our" lines:

On Saturday 30 September and Sunday 01 October buses run between Lime Street and St Helens Central and between Lime Street and Manchester.

On Monday 02 to Sunday 08 October the buses are to St Helens Central and St Helens Junction.

From Monday 09 until Saturday 14 and Monday 16 to Friday 20 October, a modified service will run with two trains an hour all stations Lime Street to/from Wigan, one of which is extended to Preston; and two trains an hour all stations to/from Manchester Victoria one of which skips Patricroft and Eccles.  After about 20:00 buses replace trains between Lime Street and Huyton.
Note that these will be the only trains at Lime Street High Level, services on other routes will run from South Parkway or Hunt's Cross.

On Sunday 15 October one train an hour each way between Lime Street and Manchester Airport, and one train an hour each way between Lime Street and Preston.  These will be the only trains at Lime Street.

On Saturday 21 October, two trains an hour all stations Huyton to/from Wigan, one of which is extended to Preston; and two trains an hour to/from Manchester Oxford Road, one of which is fast between Newton and Oxford Road.  No trains at all at Lime Street.
On Sunday 22 October one train an hour each way between Huyton and Manchester Airport, and one train an hour each way between Huyton and Preston, with buses between Lime Street and Huyton.  No trains at all at Lime Street.

On Monday 23 October, hopefully normal service will be resumed.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Progress Report

Liverpool Lime Street

Demolition of the post office building is complete and the digging out of the new tracks is under way.

The Virgin buildings which also occupy the location of the new platforms have been vacated and are now also surrounded by hoardings ready for demolition.  Virgin, meanwhile, have a new office on the concourse.

Huyton Fourth Track

I was surprised to see a track machine parked on the fourth track near Roby station:
This is a Plasser & Theurer 08-16-SP tamper, I'm told.  How it reached this totally isolated piece of railway I don't know.