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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2016-11-24

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Helping City Region and Merseyside businesses plan ahead for Wirral loop line track renewal works

BREAKFAST clubs to flexible working hours' Businesses and organisations have started to share what measures they're putting in place during the Wirral loop line track renewal works, that will start on 3 January 2016.  The case studies by Merseytravel and Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce aim to give other employers ideas so they can play their part in keeping the City Region and Merseyside moving, while continuing to operate effectively and minimising the impact for their staff.

They have been developed alongside a 'checklist' that employers can use to facilitate discussions about the impacts of the work on staff, contractors and service users and whether opportunities exist to support them further.

The key advice to businesses is to encourage their staff to stick to public transport, recognising that an increase in car journeys, particularly cross-river and at peak times, will cause significant congestion in the Mersey Tunnels and surrounding routes, significantly increasing journey times for everyone.

Other hints and tips in the checklist include:- establishing how many staff will be affected, considering ways to reduce cross river travel, such as opportunities for home working or hot desking at other sites, flexible working patterns, giving consideration to the start and finish times of meetings, ensuring staff know all the travel options available to them and seeing if suppliers may be able to make deliveries outside of peak times.

Employers are encouraged to use the checklist and case studies in conjunction with the other materials available via an online toolkit which includes web banners, posters, FAQs and the customer information booklet. These can also be accessed in electronic format, or be requested in hard copy online.

Said Wayne Menzies, Chair of the Liverpool City Region and Merseyside Major Events Transport Board and Head of Rail for Merseytravel:- "We want to work with businesses and organisations to reduce travel during peak periods, particularly cross river, to help people get to work and to keep the City Region and Merseyside moving. This guidance assists with that.  We completely appreciate the inconvenience caused by the changes to people's travel arrangements and that many of the tips may not help those with set hours, a location based job or who have specific caring responsibilities. However, if we can help businesses mitigate the impact and reduce the flow of passengers during the peaks we make the journey easier for all; those who can be more flexible and those who can't."

Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Merseyrail's managing director, added:- "We appreciate that the work taking place will inconvenience our passengers in the short term, but the renewal of the track in the tunnels is essential and will give us a more reliable infrastructure for decades to come. We have worked hard to ensure that the alternative travel arrangements put in place enable people to continue getting around and cause as little disruption as possible. This goes not just for our own passengers, but also the travelling public throughout the City Region."

Details of the transport options that will keep the Liverpool City Region and Merseyside moving during 6 months of work on Merseyrail's Wirral line, including 6 weeks of full cross river closure from 3 January 2016, are available online.

Network Rail will be replacing the most challenging sections of concrete based track in the 'loop' originally laid in the 1970's, while making the most of the opportunity to carry out other work, including replacing the 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 and Merseyside 'open for business.'

The work, which would also support a new Merseyrail fleet on the network from the early 2020's, is part of a '340m investment in the Liverpool City Region and Merseyside (LCR)'s rail network over the next 3 years.

We're encouraging businesses and organisations to share what they're doing to prepare themselves and their staff for the track renewal work via following Twitter, with the hashtag #trackrenewal.


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