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News Report Page 7 of 17
Publication Date:- 2018-06-02
News reports located on this page = 2.

Halton Curve upgrade project completed on time ready for new services in December

THE final phase of upgrades on the 1.5 miles of track known as the:- 'Halton Curve' near Frodsham was completed, as planned, over the bank holiday, allowing preparation to begin for regular passenger services later this year.

Network Rail's Team Orange successfully completed the final works on the curve at the weekend, with the scheme finishing on schedule and within budget.

Vital track upgrades bring back into full use the section of the line that links the Chester / Warrington line and the Liverpool / Crewe line at Frodsham Junction.

It will enable a new hourly service, in both directions, between Liverpool and Chester from December 2018; serving Liverpool Lime Street, Liverpool South Parkway (for Liverpool John Lennon Airport) Runcorn, Frodsham, and Helsby, with future hopes to expand the services further into North Wales.

The Frodsham control area has been re-signalled and the signal box now houses a new modern signalling panel to control train movements in that area. At the other end of the Curve, a more modern, advanced signalling system has also been installed, with signalling control in the Halton area transferred to the state of the art Manchester Rail Operating Centre. This will mean more reliable train services for passengers for generations to come.

The ₤18.75m Halton Curve project has been funded through the Government's Local Growth Fund and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. It has been developed by the Liverpool City Region (including Halton Council), Cheshire West and Cheshire Council, the Welsh Government and a consortium of the 6 county authorities in North Wales. The works have been delivered by Network Rail.

It forms part of the ₤340m investment in the Liverpool City Region and also sits within the Great North Rail Project; a multi billion pound investment plan to transform train travel across the North.

The proposed new hourly service operated by the new Wales and Borders franchise holder, starting in December this year, will generate 250,000 new trips, unlocking leisure and business opportunities between the Liverpool City Region, Liverpool Airport, Cheshire and, ultimately, North Wales.

It also supports Liverpool John Lennon Airport and its growth ambitions, opening up a much wider catchment for national and international leisure and business travel.

Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Metro Mayor, said:- "The Halton Curve is one of many ambitious rail schemes across the Liverpool City Region being delivered by the Combined Authority this year, in this case thanks to a significant investment from the Government's Local Growth Fund towards the ₤18.75m cost. Increased capaCity and more frequent trains between Liverpool and Chester, with a potential to expand into North Wales, will mean more people can travel more easily; unlocking many more opportunities, including the potential for people in our City region to find jobs in Cheshire and North Wales."

Cllr Liam Robinson, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Portfolio Holder, said:- "It's great news that the Halton Curve scheme has been completed both on schedule and within budget and we can't wait for services to start running later this year. While it may only be a one and a ½ miles long piece of track, it is the key to unlocking so many more opportunities for people in our City Region, Cheshire and North Wales. This is part of a ₤340m investment in the City Region's rail network by the end of 2019 that will improve connections and the capacity; investment that only marks the start of our ambitions, with further schemes in Maghull and Newton Le Willows due for completion in the near future."

Ken Skates, Welsh Government Transport Secretary, said:- "Improved rail connectivity between North Wales and Liverpool will create significant economic and social opportunities for passengers and businesses. Today's announcement is a major step towards delivering these improvements. We will continue to work closely with our cross border partners including Merseytravel to maximise the opportunities and benefits that will arise from the new Wales and Borders franchise and make it easier for people to commute between the regions."

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail's London North Western route managing director, said:- "The Halton Curve project has been the perfect example of the rail industry and Liverpool City Region working together to deliver real benefits to the people of Liverpool and beyond. Improved rail links are vital to boost the local economy, and it is expected that this key upgrade in the Liverpool City Region will boost the economy by ₤100m. Our teams have worked tirelessly since July 2017 to deliver this work ready for the new timetable in December. This is another fantastic example of our Great North Rail Project delivering for customers across the North."

Cat found dangling from garage roof tangled in barbed wire

AN unlucky cat needed rescuing after being found tangled in barbed wire hanging off a garage roof in Liverpool.

A woman came across the stricken puss in Ullswater Close, in the Kirkby area, on 16 April 2018, after hearing the cat's cries, and called the RSPCA for help.

Animal welfare Officer (AWO) David Hatton went to the scene to help. He said: "We think the poor thing was there for hours after getting herself tangled in barbed wire and falling from the roof of the garage. I had to contact the fire service for help and they helped cut the wire and free the cat carefully. The barbed wire was wrapped around her chest, along her back and around her tail so she had some nasty cuts and needed to see a vet. She also had some barbs stuck in her paws that needed removing."

AWO Hatton took the cat for veterinary treatment at the RSPCA's Greater Manchester Animal Hospital. Unfortunately, her condition deteriorated and as her injuries were so serious vets decided the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep to prevent her suffering.

The cat was not microchipped and wasn't wearing a collar or ID tag. It's not known if she was owned locally or was a stray so the charity has urged anyone who is missing their cat and thinks she might be theirs to get in touch.

AWO Hatton added:- "This was such a sad outcome and just goes to show how dangerous barbed wire can be. We would urge people to take extra care when installing fencing or security measures and to avoid using barbed wire where possible, particularly if its located somewhere where animals may become trapped easily. It can help to have fencing or security devices professionally installed and we'd ask anyone who has used barbed wire to check it regularly for any wild animals, birds or cats that may have become trapped."

To help the RSPCA continue to rescue and care for injured animals, please donate by visiting:- RSPCA.Org.UK/Give.

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