Merseyrail cuts services due to wheel faults

Train operator Merseyrail is cutting the frequency of its services from next Monday as wheel faults see trains taken out of service. Tony McDonough reports

Faults on Merseyrail are set to cause further disruption. Picture by Tony McDonough


Merseyrail passengers face further disruption on the Liverpool city region network amid faulty trains taken out of service.

Over the past couple of weeks a “significant increase” in wheel bearing faults has caused disruption on the network. Trains have been taken out of service leading to multiple delays and cancellations. Rail replacement buses have also been in operation.

Now, in an attempt to get to grips with the crisis, Merseyrail will run reduced services from Monday, June 13. From that day trains will run every 30 minutes on the Ormskirk, Kirkby, Hunts Cross, New Brighton, West Kirby, Chester, and Ellesmere Port lines. Services will run every 15 minutes between Southport and Liverpool Central.

A supplemental rail replacement bus service will also operate between the following stations. This is in case services become overcrowded:

  • Spital and Moorfields stations.
  • Birkenhead North and Moorfields stations.
  • Maghull and Moorfields stations.
  • Waterloo and Moorfields stations.

Rail replacement buses will be timed to minimise waiting time for passengers. Passengers on the Kirkby and New Brighton Lines will see trains re-introduced on Sunday, June 12. Services will operate the normal 30-minute Sunday timetable. They will switch to an amended 30-minute timetable from Monday, June 13.

As a result of the wheel bearing issues, Merseyrail has been forced to test its whole fleet. Those trains found to have the fault are taken out of service for repair. Later this year the train operator will start introducing its new £500m train fleet onto the network.

Merseyrail says the new timetable will remain in place until further notice. As trains are repaired they will be used to strengthen services, providing six-car trains at peak times.

Passengers are advised to allow extra time for their journey as services are likely to be busy. Then can check @merseyrail on Twitter for updates before they head to the station.

Andy Heath, managing director of Merseyrail, said: “I’d like to offer my sincere apologies to our passengers for the disruption. We know that these changes to our timetable add inconvenience and delay into the day for the people of the city region.

“I’d also like to reassure our passengers that we are working closely with our partners and industry experts to resolve this problem. Progress is being monitored daily. As soon as it is possible, we will return to our normal, reliable 15-minute timetable. 

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