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29 September 2017, 15:33
Rail journeys to Liverpool will be severely disrupted for three weeks from Saturday as the city's main station closes for a major upgrade.
Passengers will have to change onto local trains to reach the centre of Liverpool, extending some journey times by around half an hour.
Lime Street will be closed to trains between Saturday and October 22.
Once the improvement project is completed next year an extra three services per hour will be able to operate in and out of Lime Street, including new direct trains to Scotland, Network Rail said.
Longer platforms will also allow bigger trains to use the station.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "We are committed to improving train journeys in Liverpool and this major upgrade will mean we can deliver more services that people want, longer trains and better platforms.
"The work at Lime Street is part of our Great North Rail Project which will help transform services for passengers and we are grateful to them for their patience while this upgrade is under way.
"This is a key part of the well over £1 billion investment we have for improving the rail network across the North of England."
Rail investment in the North has been a contentious issue in recent months, with Mr Grayling accused of starving the region of investment.
He sparked anger in July by supporting a new £30 billion Crossrail 2 scheme in London and the South East days after a series of rail electrification projects in Wales, the Midlands and the North were axed or downgraded.
The mayor of Liverpool city region, Steve Rotheram, said: "I welcome this scheme as an important stepping stone in improving the city region's capacity and connectivity.
"As the Lime Street station upgrade gets under way we'll be continuing to make the case for the North to get the infrastructure commitment and funding it deserves, not least full high-speed rail connections west-to-east, joining up north-south HS2 infrastructure with Northern Powerhouse Rail into Liverpool."
Martin Frobisher, Network Rail's London North Western route managing director, said: "With passenger figures set to double during peak periods by 2043, the Liverpool Lime Street upgrade is vital to transform train travel for passengers in the future.
"Our work will enable faster, more frequent and reliable train services to run in and out of the station by 2019."