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
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:-
► 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,
► 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
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