Transport secretary Lord Adonis paid a visit to St Helens Central train station on Monday evening to announce Government plans to electrify a major rail route running through the town.
Part of the 200m electrification programme is aimed at improving the service on the 15-mile line between Huyton and Wigan, which passes through St Helens town centre.
Government chiefs say that by 2017 more than two thirds of national passenger rail travel will be on electrified routes after investing up to 1.3bn nationally on the electrification programme.
Lord Adonis said: "These improvements will be of great benefit to passengers in the North West. Electric trains are not only quicker, but quieter, smoother and more reliable than diesels.
"Electrification creates the opportunity to carry more passengers thanks to longer trains on these busy routes and to allow some 30-year-old Pacer diesel trains to be retired. It also allows existing diesels to be re-deployed to provide longer trains on busy routes elsewhere."