Merseyrail Wirral line passengers will be able to travel to and from Liverpool by train on weekdays from Monday 13th February as Phase 2 of major track renewal work gets underway.
Work to replace the concrete base on the ‘loop’ is on schedule, meaning that trains will be able start and terminate at James St station, Monday to Friday.
Weekends will continue to see Wirral line trains starting and terminating at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central, with high quality, express rail replacement buses running between Birkenhead and Liverpool stations.
There will, however, be special arrangements for weekends over the Grand National Festival, Easter and the May Bank Holidays, with trains starting and terminating at James St.
While direct rail services to and from the city centre are expected to be welcomed by passengers, they are being advised that the first week of Phase 2 (13th-17th February) will present challenges as only one platform will be available at the station. However by the second week (20th February-29th May), the service offered will be much improved as two platforms will be in use.
While trains will be back running Monday to Friday, people are still being advised to plan their journeys in advance as services will still be running to the same timetables as during Phase 1 of the works. There will also be specific advice for cyclists and other people with travel needs at www.merseyrail.org/trackrenewal
Meanwhile, there will continue to be a number of options for people travelling across the river at weekends– rail replacement buses, existing cross-river bus services, the Mersey Ferries and even the car. The tunnels are generally proving to be flowing freely at weekends, meaning driving may be an option on Saturday and Sundays without causing congestion.
Network Rail are replacing the most challenging sections of concrete based track in the ‘loop’ – originally laid in the 1970s, while making the most of the opportunity to carry out other work, including replacing conventional track under the riverbed.
Network Rail, Merseyrail and Merseytravel, have been working over many months, with local authorities, operators and other partners, to come up with a plan that balances the need to get essential and complex work done with the need to keep people moving and the city region ‘open for business’.
The work, which also supports a new Merseyrail fleet on the network from the early 2020s, is part of a £340m investment in the Liverpool City Region (LCR)’s rail network over the next three years (see notes to editors)
Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Merseyrail’s Managing Director, added:
“I hope passengers will welcome the fact that during this longer, middle phase of work, it will be possible to get a train directly to and from the centre of Liverpool, and experience from phase 1 shows that customers used their nous and adapted quickly to the changes. We do recognise that phase 2 will take a bit of getting used to, and rest assured we will have plenty of staff on-hand to help and guide people, with particular focus on James Street station.”
Said Frank Rogers, Chief Executive of Merseytravel:
“The first phase of the track renewal work has gone successfully both from a works perspective, with Network Rail on course in a challenging and intensive project, and in terms of the way passengers have adapted brilliantly and graciously to making their journeys in different ways, helping keep the City Region moving. We thank them for their patience so far and hope they continue to bear with us as we start the next phase of the works.”
Only one platform, Platform 2, will be available, at James St Station:
20th February- 29th May:
Both Platform 1 and Platform 2 will be in use at James St Station
All Phases 2: 13th February– 29th May