Final work on the upgrade of the Bootle Branch Line, in a £8.3m investment by the Government, has been completed.
The investment delivers the doubling of freight train capacity to the Port of Liverpool.
The upgrade now allows for up to two trains an hour to run in each direction, meaning more vital goods can get to and from the port.
Work on the Bootle branch has been a long-term project, and has reopened to ease pressure on the pinch point between the West Coast Main Line and the Port of Liverpool.
Not only does this increase the amount of goods that can be transported, it does this without adding more lorries, easing congestion on the road networks.
Key goods that benefit from this upgrade include Scottish Shortbread and Whisky, that are being exported to American markets by DB Cargo. A new service from Liverpool to the East Midlands was launched by GB Railfreight in late 2020 that aims to take 20,000 lorries off the roads.
Chris Heaton-Harris, Rail Minister, said: “I am delighted that the upgraded Bootle line has opened, offering more opportunities for reliable, greener rail freight to transport goods to and from the thriving Port of Liverpool.
“Rail freight is one of the most sustainable ways to move goods and it is exciting to see our investments in the North boosting the economy and levelling up the region.”
Phil James, North West route director at Network Rail, said “We have been delighted to have work with Peel Ports and the Department of Transport to remove a bottleneck on the rail network for economically and environmentally important freight trains.
“With a new 400m double tracked railway successfully in place, it gives the Port of Liverpool increased capacity to transport more goods by train. This will cut carbon emissions and reduce congestion by taking lorries off our roads, helping the country build back better after the pandemic.”
David Huck, Managing Director, Peel Ports said: “This is truly transformational news for the Port of Liverpool and for the future of sustainable supply chains. The new rail line upgrade enables even more choice and connectivity for customers by providing 4 departures per day from the container terminal. This is in addition to our long-standing bulk rail services.
We can now reach the central belt of Scotland as well as East and West Midland destinations with ease. Combined with our significant investments in infrastructure, our people, processes and technology, the news further strengthens the proposition for Liverpool as a strong, viable alternative location to southern ports.”