Follow the travel advice, plan journeys, stick to public transport and help keep everyone on the move. This is the latest message from City Region transport leaders to all those travelling for work or for leisure ahead of a three-week full cross river rail closure, during the week and at weekends, – the final phase of the Wirral Loop Line Track Renewal works (Tuesday 30th May – Sunday 18th June 2017).
Businesses and organisations are also advised to think about putting flexible arrangements back in place to support staff, customers and contractors. Information is available from the stakeholder toolkit on the Merseyrail website.
Customers are reminded that the alternative transport services will also continue to run at the weekends during Phase 3 and the Mersey Tunnels are proving to be flowing freely at weekends, meaning that driving may be an option on Saturdays and Sundays without creating congestion in the tunnels.
It’s hoped that people will adapt well to the alternative travel arrangements that mirror those in Phase 1.
Headline results from a Phase 1 customer survey show that people followed the advice with 85% opting for one of the following public transport options - rail replacement buses, commercial buses, Mersey Ferries, cycle bus/ferry.
The results also show that customers’ experience of these alternative modes of transport was overall a positive one with the majority rating them as very good/good.
For Phase 3, travellers also need to take into account the following information:
Wirral Dock bridges: Current works to replace two of the old ‘four bridges’ along the A554 Tower Road in Wirral means there is no through-route along this road until the end of 2017. Seacombe ferry terminal, the Mersey Ferries and the 12 Quays Terminal can still be accessed by following the well-marked diversion routes, but be prepared to allow longer for your journey. More information is available on Wirral Borough Council website.
Mersey Tunnels: Tunnel flows have changed recently with an increase in traffic and longer peak periods, due to a combination of various roadworks on major routes in Liverpool City Centre, Tower Road, Wirral and the Runcorn/ Widnes area, impacting on traffic using the Silver Jubilee Bridge. This potentially puts the tunnels at risk of even greater congestion during the final phase of track renewal. Where possible don’t use the car, use public transport.
Everyone who travels in the city region, either on the train, bus, ferry or in a car, is encouraged to plan their journey.
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’.
Network Rail has been 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.
The work, which also supports a new set of Merseyrail trains 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).
Merseytravel Chief Executive Frank Rogers said:
“The response of our City Region travellers during these works, particularly in phase 1, has been exceptional and we are asking for their support for this final leg of the investment journey. We can’t afford to be complacent for Phase 3 so if people continue to follow the travel advice, as they have been doing, we will continue to monitor services and do everything we can to keep people moving.”
Said Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, MD of Merseyrail:
“With light literally at the end of the tunnel, phase 3 is the final furlong to upgrade track in the tunnel and under the riverbed. Like phase 1, these few weeks are likely to be disruptive, but there will be plenty of rail replacement buses in service. We ask passengers to bear with us over this relatively short period before the Wirral line is once again running as normal.”
Martin Bell Network Rail Project Manager said: “We are now entering the third and final phase of the work to refurbish the track under the river bed. The work to renew the track on the Wirral loop is now complete. This final phase involves replacing traditional ballasted railway track that runs beneath the River Mersey that is getting a new lease of life. We thank passengers for their patience during this renewal programme and look forward to completing the project in June.”