The Anonymous Widower

Liverpool Lime Street And Chester Services Via Halton Curve Start In May

This page on the National Rail web site is entitled Changes to the National Rail Timetable.

Under Transport for Wales, this is said.

New services will run between Liverpool Lime Street and Chester via Runcorn. An hourly service will run, with peak time extensions to Wrexham General.

This sounds like the Halton Curve service to me.

Timing On The Route

Timing on the sections of route are as follows.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Runcorn – 21 minutes – West Midland Class 350 train, with a stop at Liverpool South Parkway.
  • Runcorn and Chester – 17 minutes – Parliamentary service as given on Wikipedia.
  • Chester and Wrexham General – 14 minutes – Trains for Wales

This gives timings as follows.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Chester – 38 minutes
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Wrexham General – 52 minutes

It looks to me that a round trip would be under two hours to both destinations, so two trains would be enough to provide an hourly service.

If Trains for Wales should decide to run a half-hourly service, then four trains would be needed.

Trains On The Route

The Crewe-Liverpool Line has fast services between Liverpool Lime Street and Crewe, so I suspect that it has a speed limit of at least 100 mph.

For this reason along, I suspect that all operators and Network Rail, would hope that Trains for Wales will use a train capable of running at up to 100 mph between Liverpool Lime Street and Runcorn.

The operating speed of trains owned or planned by Trains for Wales are.

It seems to me for various reasons that the Class 769 trains would be ideal for this route.

  • They could use the electrification between Liverpool Lime Street and Runcorn.
  • They are four-car high-capacity trains, that meet all the regulations.
  • They are 100 mph trains on electrification.
  • They will be straight from the factory with new interiors.
  • Northern will have servicing facilities for these trains at Allerton TMD.
  • They would give the service some publicity.

They probably won’t be delivered in time for May 2019, but they could replace whatever is used for the initial service.



March 10, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | , , , ,


  1. gives timings, and states they’ll be using Sprinters. I think TfW see this as just the 1st stage of Halton Curve services. The longer-term plan is to have regular services from Liverpool to Cardiff, and I believe the plan is to use the new CAF trains they have on order.

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 10, 2019 | Reply

    • I also think there’s plans for Liverpool to Llandudno and Holyhead, using the CAF trains.

      Comment by AnonW | March 10, 2019 | Reply

  2. been looking a bit more at the timetable on realtimetrains. CTR-LIV is much the same time as the existing Merseyrail service, though this should improve once they start using newer/faster trains than the old Sprinters. The main advantage for me is it’s substantially faster for getting to LPL airport. Looks like the 1st service ex CTR is 6.07, arr LPY 6.43, so not of use for flights before 8.15 or so. 1st ex WRX is 6.35 Last ex LIV is 23.23. So the route could do with some earlier/later services. Of course, what I’d really like is a direct link to the airport, but whether that will appear during my lifetime …

    The timetable released last year had a couple of trains to/from Ellesmere Port, but this seems to be missing. It would be even more of an anomaly for the Welsh government to be running trains on this route than from CTR, also entirely in England.

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 10, 2019 | Reply

    • But then you have to remember that for years Liverpool has thought of itself as the business capital of North Wales.
      I’ve thought for some time that tram-trains or Class 777 trains running on battery power would be an ideal link to Liverpool Airport. Design the tracks right and they could go to Chester via Runcorn, using batteries charged on the main line. Stadler are a very innovative company and they are bringing out all the tricks in Cardiff and Liverpool. I suspect their next targets are Sheffield, Manchester and Croydon. All will beed new trams soon and imagine what could be done by herds of battery tram-trains across Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. Croydon needs third-rail tram-trains. Bizarre but feasible.

      Comment by AnonW | March 10, 2019 | Reply

      • yeah, I agree with you on a tram-train to LPL. from last summer talks about a rail link being hugely expensive, but an advantage of Speke is that the roads are all very wide and there’s plenty of room for a tram line. You’d have to work out how to link the existing rail lines at Garston Curve with Speke Hall Rd/Ave, but apart from that, it should be relatively inexpensive to build. And an alternative to trying to find a route E from the airport would be to simply add a chord from the E at Garston. Plus if you use batteries, there’s no need to put up overhead wires.

        I don’t think technology is really the problem with a lot of this type of scheme. It’s more making politicians aware of what is available, and pointing out how it might be at least partly funded by the private sector, as with Heathrow Southern. Of course, LHR is a lot lot bigger and the problems/issues are well known. Nevertheless, I might feel moved to contact the appropriate councillor and LJLA. 🙂

        Comment by Peter Robins | March 10, 2019

  3. I have just been reading the spec for the 399 tram-trains as used in Sheffield.

    Click to access ttsypte0616e.pdf

    From the spec and other things bI’ve seen, I can deduce the following.

    1. They can do tight turns.

    2. The version for the South Wales Metro will have batteries.

    3. Stadler seem to have the knowledge to design platforms to handle both their trams and tram-trains, as they will do in South Wales.

    4. They have sold quite a lot of these tram-trains to Karlsruhe.

    I don’t think Liverpool will be taking much of a risk buying tram-trains for the airport.

    The most likely alternative is probably the Class 777 trains, as I wonder, if they could run as a tram under battery into the Airport.

    Stadler have form in doing this, as they supplied diesel multiple units to run through the streets of Zwickau in Germany as trams.

    I think Stadler work to Douglas Bader’s philosophy.

    Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men

    Comment by AnonW | March 10, 2019 | Reply

    • the Zwickau example is interesting. It looks a bit odd, but seems to work. The problem I see with this is that normal heavy-rail trains are quite a bit wider than trams/tram-trains, so they need more space. On the other hand, the distance to the airport is quite short – roughly half the proposed link to Skelmersdale, for example. The shortest link would be from the WCML, but this is overhead not 3rd-rail, i.e. not 777s (unless they’re adapted, of course). This would though fit better with the tram-train concept, as you could link not only with Lime St, but also with Crewe or Chester or even Warrington. You could probably make a link from the 3rd-rail Northern line near Hunts Cross, or maybe rejig the junction by LSP, once you’d established where the link from WCML was.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 11, 2019 | Reply

      • If you look at the datasheet for the 777 on the Stadler web site, you’ll see it mentions both battery and 25 kV operation. It even shows a pantograph on the train.

        Zeickau was developed as after unification Deutsche Bahn were desperate for affordable solutions to connect the two rail systems. They actually use three rail track that can handle srandard gauge trains and narrow gauge trams. The trains are dressed up a bit to look like trams.

        Comment by AnonW | March 11, 2019

  4. also listed in

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 14, 2019 | Reply

  5. rode on this this morning, from S Parkway to Chester, after landing at LPL. Not often we get a chance to travel on a new route (even if the new section is only 2km long). The one I was on and the one I saw going the other way were both reasonably well used.

    Comment by Peter Robins | May 23, 2019 | Reply

  6. see also

    Comment by Peter Robins | June 11, 2019 | Reply

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