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Signal controls for trains into Liverpool Lime Street are to be moved to Manchester as part of a major £100m upgrade to the station.
Network Rail have submitted a planning application to Liverpool city council to enable work on the scheme, which could see the terminus shut down for up to two months, to take place.
According to Network Rail Liverpool Lime Street station is controlled by “signalling equipment which, along with the complex and difficult to maintain track layout is life expired, and fails to meet current standards”.
The £100m project would renew the complete signalling system with state of the art equipment – and transfer control to Manchester Rail Operating Centre (ROC).
According to Network Rail: “The signals on the approach of the station – known as the traffic lights of the railway – will be re-controlled to the Manchester ROC.
“This efficiency will speed-up decision-making and aid the recovery of the railway whenever there is disruption. The Manchester ROC will have more advanced signalling tools and technology that will help reduce delays, improve performance, increase capacity, provide better information to passengers and offer better value for money for passengers and taxpayers.”
A spokeswoman for Network Rail said it was part of a move to computerised signalling, and “people would be re-trained”, adding there would be “no compulsory redundancies”.
She said: “In terms of the signalling control it is just one signal box, which is LiverpoolLime Street signal box, and as we’re upgrading all the signalling then that gets decommissioned and the signalling gets controlled from the Manchester Rail Operating Centre (ROC).
“It means all the signallers for the whole route are sitting really close to each other and you end up with much better and faster passing of information. It’s part of the modernisation of the whole signalling system.”
At the same time the track layout would be completely remodelled to make it easier to maintain and improve speeds, while “redundant” sidings between platforms will be removed to make way for wider platforms and also to allow more trains per hour.
The initial planning application for land near Chatsworth Drive and Harbord Street in Edge Hill would allow access for engineers to maintain signals into and out of the city centre terminus station.
Last year Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson told the ECHO that planning is already underway for a closure of the station, which could be in 2017 or 2018.
A spokesperson for Network Rail said: “In preparation for this, we are currently in the process of submitting a number of planning applications to Liverpool city council to lay the foundations for the delivery of this important programme.
“In the meantime, Network Rail is working together with Liverpool city partners to better develop the detailed proposals for the programme.”
Network Rail says the improvements “will support an increase in passenger numbers from the current 20 million people a year who pass through the station”.
This article first appeared on www.liverpoolecho.co.uk
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