Line News & Events

  • John Hobbs

    7th September 2017

    It is with great sadness that the North Cheshire Rail Users Group must report the death of John Hobbs ....

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  • Waiting for the Workers, Winter 1936

    6th September 2017

    Helsby and Alvanley railway station has been brought back to life by Nick Harling ....

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  • John Hobbs - a true gent

    27th July 2017

    NCRUG recognise John Hobbs - a true gent ....

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  • News from NCRUG

    30th July 2017

    NCRUG report on the Parliamentary Train and confirm they are now on Facebook ....

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  • News from NCRUG

    19th July 2017

    Here is the latest news from the North Cheshire Rail Users Group ....

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  • Flying Scotsman

    13th June 2017

    The Flying Scotsman passed through Frodsham and Helsby on Tuesday evening just after 6pm .....

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Halton Curve Campaign

QUICK LINK - The Halton Curve Video

The date of Friday 15th April, 2016 will go down in NCRUG's history as a major milestone in our campaign to get "Halton Curve" reinstated; this date was the day when Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) approved the "Full Business Case" for the "Halton Curve" major scheme; this  has been developed with the involvement of other stakeholders as part of a programme of Local Growth Fund schemes.

Prior to seeking this approval, the Full Business Case has been assessed by the Transport Advisory Group and the Local Enterprise Partnership Board who also recommended approval for additional funding of £5.67 m from the Local Growth Fund. The Benefit to Cost Ratio (BCR) is 1.9 which is assessed as 'medium value for money'.  The initially proposed service will be one train per hour (tph) in each direction between Liverpool (Lime Street) and Chester; further onward services into Wales, will be considered at a later date subject to capacity issues being resolved in Wales.

The extra £5.67m has occurred for several reasons including:-
1) Omission of re-railing the line
2) Omission of required overhead line equipment at Halton Junction
3) Omission of Network Rail Fee and Industry Risk Funds
4) Assumptions on the level of savings driven by delivery with Weaver Junction/Wavertree scheme and the changing nature of that scheme
5) Inflation

Halton Curve moves into GRIP 4 on the following timetable:-
GRIP - 4 ( Guide to Rail Investment Projects - 4) - {single option selection}; which is targeted to start in July and be completed in December 2016.
GRIP - 5 - { detailed design} January/May 2017.
GRIP - 6 - {implementation and full completion} May 2018.

Importantly, the scheme has to be delivered to coincide with the upgrade of the West Coast Main Line between Weaver Junction and Wavertree as this will afford a saving of a least £2m. This saving has been taken into account in the above costs.

By the end of 2016 and hopefully sooner, we will learn the proposed full specification of the scheme which will lead to more detailed service planning and enable us to focus on making the travelling public ( and our patient NCRUG members)  aware of their new travel opportunities which the reopened Halton Curve will provide.

Click here for the Full Business Case dated 6th May 2016.

Previously in October 2014, we were pleased to announce a £10.4 million scheme too reopen the "Halton Curve" route from Frodsham to Runcorn which would enable Chester, Helsby and Frodsham station to finally regain regular daily passenger train services to Runcorn, South Liverpool and Liverpool Lime Street.

Services would also offer through links to north Wales in some form. This was  the biggest announcement in our group's history ( but see above 15th April 2016) -  and we look forward to seeing it all come together now and thank everyone for their continued support.

The reinstatement of Halton Curve has long history with NCRUG being involved along the journey ....

In 2013, Merseytravel commissioned a refresh of a demand study originally undertaken in 2009, which indicated that there was a reasonable business case to reopen the line to two way passenger operation. The update is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2014, and is being funded jointly by Merseytravel and the Welsh Government.

The study will be based on 2011 census data and will consider future developments which are likely to take place alongside the line. It will specifically focus on the information required to fulfil the needs of the devolved major scheme process and will identify the areas which will benefit from the project being delivered - including those areas outside of the City Region.

Alongside the demand work, Merseytravel have initiated a refreshed technical study (in 2014), known as a “GRIP 3” study, to update earlier work from 2007; this was published in May 2015 - see News section

This is an essential stage in helping to build the case for the reinstatement of the line. This work will be funded not only by Merseytravel, but also Halton, Cheshire West and Chester, and Cheshire East Councils, and also the Welsh Assembly Government. The modified GRIP 3 work was  expected to take approximately 6 to 12 months to deliver. This is a complex piece of work which will take some time to design up as well as obtaining the necessary approvals to take forward within Network Rail.

It has also been suggested that one of the reasons for difficulty in developing wider support for this project is the name of the project.

The use of the project title “Halton Curve” suggests that the project benefits fall to Halton and Halton alone. Clearly this is not the case and it has been suggested that the project should be referred to as the Mersey Dee Link to demonstrate that the benefits from the project fall to a much wider area.

However the title "Halton Curve" remains in use in the (May 2015) "Halton Curve Outline Business Case".

Click here for the October 2015 Briefing Notes from the Stakeholders of the Halton Curve Project.

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