Wednesday 31 December 2014

Victoria Blockade At Easter

In this morning's timetable updates came a load of changes for Good Friday (April 3rd), when Manchester Victoria seems to have lost most of its services.  For example, stopping services from Liverpool via Chat Moss are diverted to terminate at Oxford Road.

This is pure guesswork on my part but I wonder if this is the first batch of timetable changes for a four-day blockade.  Things will probably become clearer over the next few days.

Update 4 January:  The remaining trains on Good Friday have been removed from the timetable, but at the time of writing Saturday and Monday still have normal service, and Sunday has lots of trains, with buses to Stalybridge.  So either it's a one day closure, or there are a lot more timetable updates to come.  Your guess is as good as mine.

Update 9 January:  Saturday and Sunday and Monday have been updated,  removing most trains, so it looks like the major disruption will be all weekend.

Update 13 January:  A notice has now appeared on the National Rail web site, revealing that this will be a five day blockade running Friday 3 April until Tuesday 7 April.  Not all the timetable alterations have been loaded in the database yet.

Sunday 28 December 2014

Next Timetable

The next timetable (valid from 17th May 2015 until 12th December) is beginning to appear in my schedule database.   At this early stage all information must be considered provisional.

From a first glance at the times for Huyton, they appear to be exactly the same as the current timetable.  Except that the late evening services Sunday to Thursday are trains.

There have been rumours recently about the Liverpool to Warrington Bank Quay service being withdrawn in favour of another Liverpool/Manchester stopper.  Another rumour suggested combining these into a Liverpool - Bank Quay - Manchester all stations service.  Neither of these changes appears in the timetable so far.

I note with some amusement that the timetable planners still haven't been told about the new layout at Huyton, and are therefore still showing up trains on platform 2.  No doubt we'll get the same nonsense of the departure screens showing the wrong platforms as we did at the last timetable change, earlier this month.

I just want to emphasise once again that the information released this morning is liable to alteration and should not be relied upon.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Incident at Bryn

At 03:25 this morning, a very unusual time for a service disruption message, National Rail reported that there will be no trains between St Helens Central and Wigan until about 17:00 today due to an incident at Bryn.

A correspondent very kindly sent me these pictures which seem to show a collision between a couple of road-rail machines and an MPV.

I'm pleased to say I've no reports of any injuries.

Train services resumed at 18:00.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Another Timetable Update

In today's download, the bustitution on Sundays to Thursdays of the last couple of trains in and out of Lime Street has been extended right through to the end of the timetable in May.

Doesn't exactly exude confidence, does it!

Saturday 15 November 2014

Christmas Blockade

I gather there will be no trains east of Edge Hill as far as Earlestown and St Helens Central on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 December.

As far as I am aware this has not been announced before, and at present the timetable database is still showing trains on these days.  The Merseyrail "Christmas and New Year" leaflet doesn't know about it either.

I am guessing that this is for last minute electrification works.  The fact that it has been introduced well inside the 12 week cut-off for engineering works rather suggests last-minute panic.

I wonder if what will effectively be just over a hundred hours of closure is enough to complete the work.

P.S.  I also note that bustitution until 10:00 applies for every Sunday until the end of the year.  Some of these have only been loaded into the timetable very recently.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Confessions Of A Project Manager

Well, the September update to Network Rail's CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan is out at last.  Have they owned up?  Yes, sort of.

Phase 2 (a) and (b) still shows a completion date of December 2014.  Phase 2 (c) also shows December 2014, with the added note "(Will be missed.)".  This is then followed by another Phase 2(c) entry in the table, showing a completion of April 2015.

So, do we think (a) and (b), that is Edge Hill to Earlestown and Huyton to Wigan will be ready this year?  Is it going to be another 30th December job like phase 1 was?

No other future dates seem to have moved, although I was pleased to note the completion date for Phase 1 is now shown as August 2014.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Slow Progress

Still no official announcement of a new date from Network Rail, as far as I know.  The Liverpool Echo has picked up the delay in an article dated 2 November.

Meanwhile, things are slowly progressing all over phase two:

In the "gap" around Huyton and Roby, most of the masts are up and arms have been attached to some.  On the passenger side of things the remaining finishing touches are proceeding glacially.  The car park is waiting for half its setts to be replaced[1], and the access stairs at the front of the station and the north end of the subway are still closed.  This morning I passed a group of workers tapping the render on the public subway walls with a hammer and tut-tutting.

[1] Update - I noticed a few days later the lack of setts problem has been resolved by tarmacking over the lot, leaving just a decorative band of setts across the car park entrance.

 At Rainhill I'm told five of the eight masts are up, and a rather optimistic sign warns "Danger Overhead live wires".

Scaffolding is up at Sankey Viaduct and also at Carr Mill.

At the other end of the line, I visited Victoria station yesterday and an enormous amount of work remains to be completed.  It is not clear to me how the wires are to be supported in the middle part of the station.  The closure of the tram stop has been extended until next year, and the trams continue to wiggle along their temporary single track route.  West of Victoria, reports suggest there are major signal sighting issues caused by the new masts and that this is one of the reasons this part of the project will not be finished until April.

Saturday 1 November 2014

First Service Sweepstake

As Network Rail's silence continues, there's much conjecture as to when the first electric service will run on phase 2.  "Early 2015" seems a popular opinion.

We have known for some time that the plan is to start with the Liverpool - Manchester Airport service.  The three diagrams are, I believe, nicely self-contained, so it would be easy to infiltrate a 319 on one duty without causing complications.

But there's a snag:  Manchester Airport is closed (The station is closed, not the airport!) from 18 January to 8 February, for the commissioning of the fourth platform.  I did wonder if cutting back the service to Piccadilly might leave us with just two diagrams to try electrics on, but unfortunately the timings don't work, and as far as I can tell from the timetable database the stock on the truncated Liverpool - Piccadilly services is to interwork with Southport services during the blockade.

So how about the week commencing 9 February for a first electric run?  Could Huyton and Sankey Viaduct be finished by then?

On the other hand, maybe the Wigan line (Phase 2b) will be ready first?

It looks like the Manchester Victoria part (Phase 2c) will be last, with Network Rail trying to "move the goalposts" to April 2015.  This is certainly needed for May 2015 when TransPennine's Scotland services are scheduled to be diverted to Victoria, to avoid Ordsall Chord works.

Friday 31 October 2014

No News Is ... Er ... Bad News

Still no announcement from Network Rail regarding the delays to phase two, although work seems to be progressing at various locations.

ORR have published a letter which forms their response to Network Rail's proposed September 2014 updates to the CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan.  In this they reject a request to move the completion date for phase 2(c) (i.e. Ordsall Lane Junction to Manchester Victoria) from December 2014 to April 2015.  This doesn't mean the work will magically be completed on time after all, it is merely a paperwork exercise requiring Network Rail to keep the schedule date unchanged at December 2014 and then own up to missing it.

This month's Modern Railways has an article reporting the delays.  They also note that, ten months on, some electrical supply work is still to be completed on phase one.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Phase Two Delayed

The latest edition of Rail carries a report quoting a Network Rail spokesman who stated that the electrified railway would not be ready for passenger use by 14th December, which is when the new timetable starts.

A number of problems have delayed the project, including unexpected abandoned mines around Roby and Huyton, and an incident earlier this year when a worker on a wiring train was injured when wires snapped.  Rumours have been circulating for some time, but this is the first admission by Network Rail that completion will be late.

So far, there has been no formal statement from Network Rail.

Saturday 27 September 2014

Phase Two Progress

A few pictures, mostly taken on Tuesday, of progress on phase two.

At Earlestown, masts are up on the west curve.  Elsewhere on the station there are plenty of bases and holes for bases.

Most of the ironwork is up at St Helens Junction, except for this one incomplete base near the east end of the down platform.

At Rainhill there's plenty of ironwork east of the station, where the long-disused signal box still survives.
At Rainhill station itself, excavations for mast bases are nearly complete, despite the lack of planning permission.
Work was under way on this hole, just beside the western footbridge.

At Whiston the masts and other ironwork seem complete, but no wires yet.

At Wavertree the wiring looks complete, as you can see in this view looking east from the station.

Finally on this whistle stop tour I visited Eccleston Park, where I found two cateneries but only one contact wire installed.

For a much more detailed and more up to date report on the current state of play, see David Hull's spreadsheet which you can find on a link from my progress page.

Meanwhile, rumours continue to circulate that Network Rail will soon announce that parts of phase two will not be ready for energising in November.  The latest report, in October's Modern Railways, suggests that problems including several serious signal sighting issues will mean that Ordsall Lane Junction to Victoria will be delayed until May 2015.  At the time of writing I have not seen any formal announcement, but it surely cannot be long before we get one.

Friday 19 September 2014

319 Driver Training

The first driver training run for the 319 units took place on Wednesday, when 319363 was seen leaving Allerton depot under its own power at about 12:15, and then heading south towards Crewe.  I arrived at South Parkway about a minute too late to take a picture.

The second out and back trip didn't run.

On Thursday the same unit did the same run, here's a picture of it at Crewe kindly supplied by a correspondent.

No sign of any runs today, so far.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Timetable Notes

Sunday Works

A number of people have commented on the amount of work that remains to be completed on phase two, so I've just done a quick survey of the plans for Sunday closures for the rest of the year.  The current situation is as follows, obviously further disruption could be added.  The changes have been inserted in the timetable and so there is no Engineering Works notice on the National Rail website, and hence they have until now been missing from my Works Notices page.

Sunday 14 September
No trains until 12:00, no trains Huyton - Wigan all day.

Sundays 21 Sep, 28 Sep, 05 Oct, 12 Oct
No trains Huyton - Wigan all day.

Sundays 19 Oct to 7 Dec (Last Sunday of current timetable)
Full train service except for buses after 23:00.

Sundays from 14 December (New timetable)
Full service.

Evening Buses

I have previously failed to report that the hoped for restoration of late trains Sunday to Thursday did not take place this week, and the buses continue until the end of the timetable, 13 December.

319 Training

Schedules have appeared in the database for what are thought to be Class 319 training runs, two out and back trips from Allerton Depot to Crewe on Monday to Friday this week.  At the time of writing none have actually run.

5Z19 12:18 Allerton Diesel Multiple Unit Depot to Crewe
5Z20 13:36 Crewe to Allerton Diesel Multiple Unit Depot
5Z21 15:26 Allerton Diesel Multiple Unit Depot to Crewe
5Z22 16:46 Crewe to Allerton Diesel Multiple Unit Depot

News Headlines

A few items of progress from my own observations and (mainly) from reports received, for which thanks go to my correspondents.
  • The first wires have gone up between Salford and Manchester Victoria.  Almost all of the ironwork is up on this section.
  • Another 319 is expected to arrive this week.  Update:  319363 arrived on Thursday 11 September - Under its own power, I believe.
  • Finishing work at the expanded Huyton station is nearing completion.
  • Long lengths of the phase two lines now have what appear to be complete OHLE installed.
  • The Chorley tunnel work and re-installation of the flying arches has been completed successfully, there'll be more major disruption next year for Farnworth tunnel.
  • Electrification work in the Roby Junction to Huyton Junction stretch, which was held off while the widening was under way, is now catching up, with many mast bases in place, and masts now appearing.
  • New signals are appearing between Carr Mill and Springs Branch Junction.
On the less positive side, there are significant lengths of phase two where a lot of work remains to be done, including Sankey Viaduct, and some correspondents are forming the opinion that it's not going to be ready on time.

An article in Rail Magazine reports on various aspects of electrification in the Northwest.  Network Rail are still planning to have all of phase two ready for service  in December although this is described as "challenging".  Work on the phase three (Preston to Blackpool) section will include re-signalling with the closure of five manual boxes.  It will require the line to be closed "for some time", probably in late 2016/early 2017.
On phase four (Manchester to Preston), major work will be required to electrify Farnworth Tunnel, involving enlarging the Up tunnel to take two electrified tracks and closing the down tunnel.  Work is to start at Easter 2015 and will require a twenty week period of severely reduced services.

Modern Railways has a report about the 319s.  Additional funding has been found for refurbishment of the 319s transferring to Northern Rail.  The work, mostly to be carried out at Wolverton, will include an interior and exterior repaint, refurbishing of seats, and the installation of door controls so the conductor can operate the doors from anywhere in the train.

Saturday 23 August 2014

Huyton Track 4

I passed through Huyton Station this morning and noted that rails are now in place on track 4, the future Up Chat Moss Slow.  The rails run from a point somewhere in the distance towards Roby (As far as I could see in the rain!) to the east end of the platform at Huyton.

Amusingly, just west of Roby a speed limit sign for trains on the third track has been planted slap bang in the middle of the four foot!

I presume this work is being done so early because it's a lot easier messing about with cranes before the masts and wires are erected.

Sunday 17 August 2014

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

Most of you will already have heard of the chaos yesterday morning which was announced as being due to vandalism of overhead wires at Broad Green.  I was otherwise engaged so unable to go out and about to see exactly what was happening, but I could see on the screens that the service was wrecked until about noon.

The silver lining for me was that trains were reversing down to up in Huyton platforms two and three, so examining the detailed logs from my live signalling system allowed me to learn how these uncommon moves work, and I have now been able to add the extra berths and signals to the diagram.

Admittedly, not much compensation for anyone whose journey was disrupted, but it made me happy, at least!

The signalled reversing moves available are:
  • From the Down St Helens into Huyton P3, stopping at fixed red LL9592, and reversing to depart in the normal up direction towards Chat Moss or St Helens.
  • From the Down St Helens or the Down Chat Moss into Huyton P2, reversing to depart under the control of LL9588 onto the Up Chat Moss.
I believe there's also the possibility of an UP train reversing on the Up Chat Moss east of Huyton and proceeding down into Platform 2, controlled by position light signal LL1577, but I haven't seen this happen yet.

Thursday 14 August 2014

New Signals At St Helens

I'm told a number of replacement signals have been installed at St Helens recently.  In most cases a new post and head, but at least one is a new head on the existing bracket.

As far as I am aware, these are one-for-one replacements and not a full-blown resignalling project, and the signalling continues to be controlled from the same box.  Certainly, they are still plated 'SH'.

Monday 11 August 2014

Live Signalling Diagram

Some readers of this blog will have already realised that I have for some time been playing with the open data which Network Rail make available.  It's about time I shared some of my results, so I though I'd offer my live signalling diagram for your entertainment.  Here's a screenshot - Not much going on at three in the morning during an engineering possession, I'm afraid.

To see for yourself, go to

Please note:
  • This is very much experimental software, and I am still working on it, so it may change, fail, or disappear at any time.
  • It's a bit finicky about browsers, IE 9 and Firefox 31 seem to be OK.
  • The server is a very low performance one.  If I see signs of overloading, I will have to turn off the service, without warning.

With those points in mind, why not have a look?  Let me know how you get on.

Saturday 9 August 2014


Watching the live signalling today I was pleased to notice that proper overtaking moves have been programmed into the schedules.  Each hour the stopper from Wigan to Liverpool via Newton (The line through St Helens Central is closed.) uses the crossover into Huyton platform 2 and then waits while the fast Newcastle to Liverpool train behind it passes through platform 1.

So far it seems to have worked quite well.  The schedules have a seven and one half minute stand at Huyton for the stopper, to allow for a bit of late running.

The same was happening last weekend, but I hadn't got the signalling diagram fully working then.

Oddly, despite using the overtaking move, the timetablers are still showing down trains on platform 1 and up trains on platform 2 at Huyton.

Friday 25 July 2014

Rest Of The World

This blog has been concentrating for the last few weeks on the work at Huyton, so a round-up of headlines from the rest of the area is long overdue. My thanks go to the many correspondents who have provided updates.

Apart from one mast base on the derelict platform parallel to platform 3, and one "scrape" just off the east end of platform 2, there is nothing visible in the station area. The listed building planning permission was granted on the 16th July.

The new signals here, controlled from Warrington, are of a different design to the new ones at Huyton, and have a side indication ("pig's ear") for drivers stopped at the signal.

I notice that west of Earlestown the mast bases on the south side of the line seem to be far enough back to fit a fourth line parallel with the loop.
There is no visible sign of work on Sankey Viaduct where the planning permission was granted a few weeks ago.

The substation here is partially covered in scaffolding, suggesting work is still not complete.

Thatto Heath
Work has started in the "canyon".

Manchester Victoria
Almost all the masts and portals seem to be in place between Ordsall Lane Junction and Victoria, and the majority have arms fitted.

Phase Two Wires
Wires have appeared at various locations on the Huyton - Wigan line, and also at Wavertree.

The blockade for work on Chorley Tunnel is under way. I was on the Manchester end of this line on Wednesday and timekeeping was very poor, but whether that was due to the extra load on the Bolton to Wigan section I cannot say.

Rolling Stock
A second 319 is rumoured to be arriving in August.

New Timetable
The new timetable, starting 14th December 2014, is appearing in the timetable database; obviously it's all provisional at the moment. Around Huyton, it looks identical to the current one, except that late evening trains are restored (As they are in the current timetable from 8th September). Rather surprisingly, up trains at Huyton are still shown as using platform 2 - Hasn't anyone told them?

Huyton and Roby
The TWA application for the fourth track at Huyton was approved on 23rd July.

David Hull sent this picture of a kinky drain on platforms 2 and 3 at Roby, obviously ready for a mast base!

Monday 21 July 2014

Huyton One Week Later

We've had a week of operation of the new layout at Huyton and Roby (Although no trains yesterday.) and it seems to have gone pretty well, in general.  I've been watching the signal box diagram and trains have been flowing smoothly.

The new configuration has shorter signal spacings than previously, which should help.  

I spotted an unusual overtaking move on Saturday evening, a slow train from the Chat Moss route ran on the Down Chat Moss Fast stopping at Huyton and Roby and was overtaken by a following fast train also from Chat Moss, which zig-zagged onto the Down Chat Moss Slow.

This morning's start was the first time things went wrong, the first two down stopping trains at Huyton were 55 minutes late and the first up was cancelled.  Things gradually recovered over the next few hours, with about six cancellations altogether.  I've not seen any reason for the problem, I wonder if the Sunday possession was handed back late.

At Huyton this morning, finishing works were progressing steadily.

Update:  Only a few hours after I'd written the above I met a friend who was on the 21.47 Liverpool Lime Street to Blackpool North last Wednesday.  This was terminated at Huyton due to a "signalling failure".  The train proceeded ECS to Wigan via Newton while the passengers were left to a non-existent bus replacement.  So things weren't quite as good as I thought in the first week.  Of course, this might have been a problem at St Helens, nothing to do with our new signalling.

Monday 14 July 2014

Up and Running

At 05:22:49 this morning, train 5F10 - An ECS working from Lime Street to Warrington Bank Quay - appeared in the train describer feed at Edge Hill, running six minutes late.  It lost a little more time as it proceeded along the new line through platform 3 at Roby and Huyton, and onwards towards Earlestown.  It was followed by a Manchester Airport service and then 2J20 05:20 Lime Street to Manchester Victoria was the first train to call at the new platforms.

(I did consider getting up to photograph this historic occasion, but to be honest I couldn't be bothered.  I expect someone was there?)

Since then, the service would appear to be running fairly smoothly.  A few trains have been late, but no more than a typical Monday morning.

So far, it would appear that all trains from the Earlstown direction are using the Down Chat Moss Fast through platform 1 at Huyton, with platform 2 reserved for trains from the Wigan line.  The current timetable doesn't call for any overtaking of Chat Moss trains so perhaps this will be the standard.

The new signals are generally two lens LED units capable of showing four, or in some cases five, aspects.

A lemon, a lime and a cherry, looking west from Huyton.  LL9591 is a fixed red for trains reversing in platform 3.
A long view of the new island platform, certainly a transformation over the last week or so.
A Wigan train calls at Huyton's new platform 3.
At Roby, a Warrington service stops at the new platform 3.
Quite a bit of work still to do on Platform 1.
At Roby the departure displays seemed to be incorrectly showing all down services on platform 2.
Unlike Huyton, where platform 4 is pretty much complete, Roby only has this short length.  Still, they've got a couple of years to finish it!

Sunday 13 July 2014

Blockade Last Day

I passed by Huyton station a couple of times on Saturday and the big change is the total lack of ballast trains, big cranes, etc.  In other words, the major trackwork is probably complete.

There was plenty of other stuff going on, platforms were being surfaced, poster boards erected and so on.  S&T engineers were fiddling with wires.

So, it's all looking good.  Of course, there's lots of finishing work to be done, and then the small matter of electrification to deal with.

After posting the above I took a Sunday lunchtime stroll .  Huyton has gained an "OFF" indicator half way along platform 2, and departure displays on platforms 2 and 3, both lit. Another feature I've not reported before is a red signal at the west end of platform 3.  Presumably trains will be able to reverse in 3 as well as 2.

A lot of rail joints remain to be welded, but these can wait for night-time possessions next week.

At Roby, the edge of platform 3 is complete, with some final grouting under way.

I have been checking my notes for the previous re-modelling of Huyton Junction which was in 2007 when it was changed from a traditional double junction to the simplified double junction we had until last week.  This was completed in a four day Easter blockade and my logs show the trains running normally on the Tuesday morning.

Friday 11 July 2014

Blockade Day 7

I visited Huyton station once again today:

Line 1 (Down Chat Moss Fast) is back in place, it has been relaid through the station, unlike line 2 (Down Chat Moss Slow) where the original track remains alongside the platform.
As you can see, line 1 still awaits ballasting, but is otherwise complete.

Here are the two signals just east of Huyton station.  The far one is for Up trains on line 3 (Up Chat Moss) with a position 1 junction indicator for trains towards Wigan.  The nearer one seems to be a new head on the original structure.  It is for trains reversing in platform 2 before heading towards Manchester.

NEWSFLASH FOR DATA GEEKS:  Since 11:25 this morning the Network Rail train describer data feed has been showing describer heartbeat and other signalling messages from describer "M1" which I believe is the new signalling here at Huyton.

UPDATE 19:30:  Line 1 has been ballasted during the afternoon.

Thursday 10 July 2014

Blockade Day 6

Just a brief update.

At lunchtime today 70002 was on a ballast train on the newly re-laid line 2 (Down Chat Moss Slow), the ballast was being used to form the replacement trackbed for line 1 (Down Chat Moss Fast).

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Blockade Day 5

We've reached the half-way point, and lunchtime on Wednesday found the track replaced on line 2 (Soon to be the Down Chat Moss Slow) but not yet ballasted.  Two rail-mounted cranes were operating on the new line 3 (Up Chat Moss).

Confused?  I posted a diagram in the blog last year.

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Blockade Day 4

The Orange Army were hard at work when I visited Huyton this afternoon.

New signals have been erected.
A new shelter has appeared on platforms 2 and 3, matching the one which appeared on platform 4 last week.
Tracks 1 and 2 have been removed completely at the point where they pass over the subway.

It really is difficult to get a good view of what's going on without trespassing.  This is the best I can do, looking west from the east end of the station.

At the far end of the station you can just about see a giant signal gantry.

Returning to Huyton at about 19:30 I discovered a works train on the new third line with a class 60 on the front.
Later, on my way home from the pub at about half past ten, 70003 was doing the honours on a train carrying
new ballast which was being dumped on to the path of tracks 1 and 2.


Regular contributor David Hull was also out today, and he provided this shot of the new signal gantry at Roby.

David also provided this daylight shot of the missing lines 1 and 2.

Monday 7 July 2014

Blockade Day 3 - Brief Update

Very little to report except for steady progress.  Huyton signal box is no more.

Saturday 5 July 2014

Blockade Day 1 - Now You See It, Now You Don't

Nine days to complete the work, and things are progressing well.  Central Huyton echoes to the irregular clanging and crashing of demolition.

Working from east to west, we start at Huyton Junction, where the up Wigan line has already disappeared.
On Huyton station itself, the shelter on platform 2 disappeared a couple of days ago.  The surface of platform 1 has been dug up.

The temporary bridge between platforms 4 and 3 has gone.
At the other end of the station, demolition of the box is under way.  At the time of my visit the top floor had gone but the frame remained in place, with the levers sticking up incongruously above the remaining structure.   You can just see a class 66 loco on a works train.

Unfortunately, the closure of the station means it's much more difficult to get good pictures of what's happening at Huyton.

Down the line at Roby platform 3 is nearly complete, while men were apparently dismantling the shelter on platform 2.  Amusingly, the loudspeakers here were still announcing trains.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Huyton Countdown - 12 Days

Things are moving on rapidly:

The "missing" steps in the public subway which were bare rebar on Tuesday night were being cemented on Wednesday morning.

The shelter on platform 2 has been demolished.

Ballasted track has appeared through platform 3 and onwards towards Huyton Junction.  You can see the temporary "bridge" between platforms 3 and 4 in the distance in this shot taken from the east end of the station on the new pedestrian access to platform 4.
Here's the same view as I showed last week and the week before, looking east along the edge of platform 3 from the temporary bridge.  As you can see, apart from platform edging and surfacing, it's nearly there.
Looking the other way from the same place, towards Liverpool.  There is a decided kink in the track which strongly suggests the signal box will be demolished next week.
Finally, the new subway staircase on platform 4.  I'm not sure why they've boarded over the hole.  Perhaps to keep the rain out until a roof is installed?

Elsewhere, new signals are appearing throughout the area, folded down or standing up.

Friday 27 June 2014

Planning Progress

St Helens Council has granted listed building consent for electrification work on Sankey Viaduct, with some conditions.

One of the conditions is that precise details of the method and materials shall be submitted to the Planning Authority and approved by them before work commences.

Reading between the lines, it looks like the Council are aware of the mess made of the work on the skew bridge at Rainhill, and want to ensure the work is done "properly" first time.

Meanwhile, at Huyton, Modern Railways reports that the acquisition of a small strip of land for track 4 is to proceed unopposed so there will be no need for a public enquiry.  Nonetheless, the postponement until "Winter 2017" is confirmed.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Huyton Countdown - 20 Days

Things are moving fast at Huyton.

The public subway re-opened sometime on Monday, albeit with some work remaining. 

The new stairs at the northern end are missing.  When I visited again on Tuesday they were being worked on.

The new subway roof seems close to being ready for tracks.

Here's the same shot as I took last week, along the edge of the future platform 3, showing a lot less rubble and a lot more platform edge.

P.S. Transport minister Baroness Kramer came to see the works at Huyton and Roby stations last Thursday (19 June 2014).  Unfortunately, I missed the visit.