[holding answer 26 October 2009]: On 23 July the Government announced a major £1.1 billion programme of rail electrification, including the electrification by 2013 of the line between Liverpool and Manchester via Newton-le-Willows.
Electrification of the Liverpool-Manchester route via Newton-le-Willows will enable the operation of high-capacity four-carriage electric trains transferred from the cross-London Thameslink route. These trains will be completely modernised before they are transferred, including the installation of air-conditioning.
This additional capacity on the Liverpool-Manchester line running via Newton-le-Willows will relieve pressure on the other Liverpool-Manchester line running via Warrington.
The diesel trains currently operating on the Liverpool-Manchester line via Newton-le-Willows will be transferred onto other routes, delivering much needed additional capacity.
In the meantime, the Department for Transport is in discussion with train operating companies about delivering additional capacity. This includes discussions with Northern Rail about a first phase of additional rolling stock. The Government will publish an updated rolling stock plan taking account of electrification and setting out a revised strategy this autumn.