Coun Harry Smith, chair of the council's highways, transportation and engineering services committee, says the scheme has the full support of the council.

It has been described by Merseytravel as a 'potentially valuable extension to their electrification programme' and includes new stations at Beechwood and Woodchurch.

Feasibility studies into the scheme have already been carried out - with positive results - although Merseytravel believes more studies in the next financial year will help.

The scheme features in Merseytravel's Local Transport Plan, although no funding has yet been committed to the project.

Coun Smith, pledging his support for it, said: "Merseytravel has indicated to me that the scheme has major potential in the continuing development of the Merseyrail network.

"They have also said that they will continue to invest in schemes which fulfil the twin criteria of increased patronage and value for money for local council tax payers.

"The Woodchurch electrification and new stations at Woodchurch and Beechwood are important elements of the council's regeneration programme. This new facility will demonstrate the council's commitment to work in partnership with Merseytravel to improve public transport.

"Merseytravel is aware that this scheme is fully supported by the council and that the Labour group has requested Merseytravel do all it can to speed up the necessary design and construction works."

Converted for the new archive on 13 March 2001. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.