New city centre railway station at least four years away

The opening of a new Merseyrail station in one of the fastest growing parts of Liverpool is at least four years away, officials have said.

When plans for a new £100m railway station at the former St James’ location in the Baltic area of the city were revealed in 2022, it had been hoped the revived stop could welcome passengers in 2025. Now rail chiefs have poured water on the timetable, warning commuters are in for a lengthy wait.

Tony Killen, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) rail development advisor, told the organisation’s overview and scrutiny committee how an opening date of March 2028 was likely to be the earliest point passengers can expect.

The name for a Merseyrail station to be built in the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool more than a century after the original closed, has been revealed.

LCRCA initially set an opening date of next year for the new station, so named Liverpool Baltic following a public vote and to avoid confusion with the existing James Street site. The original station opened in 1874 and was named after a nearby parish church. It closed during the First World War as a cost-cutting measure but never re-opened.

The station would be located between Liverpool Central and Brunswick Station on the Northern Line and will include passenger toilets, a cycle hub, step-free access to and between both platforms and a passenger drop-off area outside.

The shortlist of names was produced after initial discussions between the main partners on the scheme – Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Network Rail, Merseyrail, and Liverpool Council.

Providing an update to the committee, Mr Killen, who appeared alongside new Merseyrail chief Neil Grabham, said an outline design was being worked on with Network Rail which could be finished “over the next few weeks”. A planning application could be submitted to Liverpool Council by May this year.

Mr Killen said, “Funding is coming from the Department for Transport (DfT) and we’re working closely with the DfT on the business case which justifies the investment. It’s looking around £100m all told and we’re working with our DfT contacts to make sure they’re comfortable with the investment.”

It is hoped a contractor could be appointed by September. On the potential opening date for the station, Mr Killen said, “All being well if that goes ahead the programme will see the new station probably being open for passengers in March 2028.”

The £100m expected fee will include works around the station, including the junction and area at Parliament Street nearby to incorporate active travel, Mr Killen said. The platforms will be located 12m below street level, the advisor added.

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