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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-02-17

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page


Merseyrail Track Renewal Phase 2 - Update
Photograph with thanks to Merseyrail.

MERSEYRAIL this week have thanked Wirral Line passengers travelling for their patience during the 1st week of Phase 2 of the track renewal work, which has seen trains running in and out of James Street, but with only 1 platform in use. Passengers were advised to leave longer for their journeys to allow for queues and to travel out of peak times if possible, and this advice appears to have been heeded. James Street has been very busy, between 4pm and 6pm, with queuing largely managed inside the Station, by Merseyrail Staff. Rail journeys should be much smoother, from 20 February 2017, when 2 platforms, James Street will be available. Customers, especially those with bikes or with travel needs, are still advised to check the information before they travel online.

Passengers using the Wirral Line at weekends are reminded that there will be rail replacement buses running between Birkenhead and Liverpool Station. Throughout Phase 2, weekends will see Wirral Line trains starting and terminating at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central, and high quality, express rail replacement buses will be in operation to allow passengers to complete their journey across the river. Also there will be several 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.

Special arrangements have been made for the weekends over the Grand National Festival, Easter and the May Bank Holidays, with trains starting and terminating at James Street.

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:- Merseyrail.Org/TrackRenewal.

Passinger advice:-

Leave more time for your journey. James St will be the only station in the City Centre where you can catch Wirral line trains so it will be a lot busier than usual.

Avoid catching the train to and from James St at peak times wherever possible. This will help keep queues to a minimum.

Consider your travel options. There are a number of ways to cross the Mersey during the week and at weekends. Existing cross river bus services may be a convenient option or the Mersey Ferries.

Ensure you've read up on Phase 2, online.

There are differences in travel plans between weekdays and weekends and specific advice for cyclists and those with disabilities.

Network Rail are 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 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 the rest of Merseyside, '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 Merseyside's rail network, over the next 3 years.

Andy Heath, Merseyrail's deputy managing director, said:- "We appreciate that this week has been difficult for passengers, who have had to get used to the next stage of the work. Having only 1 platform in use at James Street is not ideal, but we expect that with 2 available from next week, the situation will be much more manageable and more pleasant for passengers."

Frank Rogers, Chief Executive of Merseytravel, said:- "The 1st week of phase 2 was always going to be 1 of the most challenging parts of the track renewal works, so we would like to thank customers for their continued patience. Merseyrail staff have worked hard to keep the disruption to passengers, at James Street, to a minimum. As both platforms will now be open during the week we will see an improved service for passengers travelling on the Wirral line."

It's worth noting that if all goes to plan, Phase 3 of the program will start on Tuesday, 30 May 2017 and run until 18 June 2017. Over those 20 days all Wirral Line Trains will be starting and terminating at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central. Rail replacement busses will be used to run between the Wirral and Liverpool Stations.


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Southport Reporter (R) Bourder




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