Councillor calls for funding support to help get railway improvements on track
With a shared vision for sustainable transport to support net zero ambitions, a senior St Helens Borough councillor has written to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) to request funding to help get a series of railway improvements on track.
Article date: 22 August 2023
In a letter to Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron - Deputy Leader of St Helens Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport - has asked for funding to be allocated to allow feasibility studies and further business cases to be carried out to:
• Improve accessibility at Garswood Station
• Extend Merseytravel services at Rainford Station
• Build a new station at Carr Mill
• Reopen Sutton Oak line between St Helens Central and St Helens Junction
A gateway between the Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Regions, Garswood Station has no step-free access to get to platform two - a barrier for passengers with wheelchairs, prams or mobility issues.
It has been requested that Garswood is considered for any future 'Access for All' funding to provide a lift or ramp on platform two.
Located on the Liverpool Central to Manchester line via Wigan, there are no Merseyrail services or direct trains to Liverpool from Rainford Station.
It is proposed that St Helens Borough Council collaborates with the LCRCA and Merseytravel to resolve the ridership issues at Rainford station in order for services to run directly from Rainford to Liverpool, with no changeover at Kirkby.
Carr Mill Station
With major housing developments either underway or earmarked for the area, a station at Carr Mill has the potential to generate high levels of rail patronage, improve access to housing and increase the number of journeys taken by sustainable travel modes.
Sutton Oak Line
A disused railway line that runs between St Helens Central and St Helens Junction, Sutton Oak is regarded as key to improve connectivity in the borough and surrounding areas, allowing passengers to travel from St Helens Central to Newton-le-Willows and even Manchester which currently isn't possible.
The council is seeking support from the LCRCA to further fund and develop the travel options to bring this closed transport corridor, which is safeguarded through planning policy, back into appropriate and sustainable use.
Councillor Gomez-Aspron said: "Rail improvements hold the potential to significantly improve connectivity and accessibility to and from the borough of St Helens with further economic benefits being derived. With these benefits in mind, the council would like to raise these four proposals for consideration, which we believe will greatly benefit the borough and the wider Liverpool City Region.
"The projects will investigate unlocking potential rail improvements throughout the borough, thereby contributing to the creation of a well-connected and accessible borough by rail. These improvements will further support our collective net zero ambitions by supporting an increase in trips by rail."
Councillor Gomez-Aspron added: "Our borough is synonymous with the railway, from staging the Rainhill Trials in 1829 to having the oldest station building in the world at Earlestown, so it's only right we have the appropriate infrastructure in place which we believe to be achievable as we look to create a well-connected, accessible transport system enabling our residents, businesses, and visitors to thrive.
"Through working with Mayor Rotherham and the City Region, we've delivered big transport projects at Newton-le-Willows, Lea Green and other locations, and we will continue to go forward as partners."