Cross-country services boost for St Helens stations

Dignitaries welcome the new services at Newton-le-Willows station
Dignitaries welcome the new services at Newton-le-Willows station

Stations in St Helens are set to welcome cross-country services for the first time later this month.

Borough leaders have welcomed the arrival of TransPennine Express routes to Lea Green and Newton-le-Willows from May 20.

The operator has made the decision to divert TPE routes between Liverpool and Manchester, which previously ran through the Warrington area, to St Helens stations instead.

Rail bosses say the journeys between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool Lime Street will be nearly 10 minutes faster.

And passengers should be able to make direct cross-country connections to Yorkshire and the North East, bringing the likes of Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Scarborough, Durham and Newcastle closer.

Jerry Farquharson, TPE's service planning director, said: "We are thrilled to welcome both Lea Green and Newton-le-Willows to our network as part of our transformational timetable change which will really benefit communities across the North. Improved connectivity really does have a positive impact on our customers, whether travelling for business or pleasure.

“Customers will get to travel on our modern, full upgraded trains with free Wi-Fi, plug sockets and entertainment system Exstream and will be amongst some of the first people to travel on our brand new Nova 3 trains.”

Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, added: “The addition of Lea Green and Newton-le-Willows to the network is not just good news for local residents, but for St Helens and the city region as a whole, as better transport connections and reduced journey times between Liverpool and Manchester are good news for all of us."

St Helens North MP Marie Rimmer said: "The new Liverpool to Scarborough service stop in Lea Green will provide vital improved connections and reduced travelling times not only to Scarborough, but to Liverpool, Manchester and beyond for my constituents.

"I have no doubt it will bring economic benefits for our area, which will increase when the next phase of the service begins from Liverpool to Glasgow Central, calling at St Helens Central, from December."

Coun Derek Long, St Helens Council leader, added: "The railways were born in our borough. As a railwayman’s son, I’m delighted that St Helens residents will soon benefit from these modern services that will connect St Helens to some of the biggest cities in the country.

"Joining this new rail route is yet another example of how the borough is moving forward into a better future."