Rail operator Merseyrail says it will offer more trains from Monday, May 18, but says they are for essential journeys only. Tony McDonough reports
Merseyrail will begin to increase the frequency and number of services from Monday, May 18, as the UK slowly emerges from the coronavirus lockdown.
Government guidance makes clear that only those that absolutely must travel by train, should do so. Merseyrail has increased services to a level that aims to meet an increase in demand, whilst taking into account the number of railway staff isolating due to the virus.
It is reminding passengers that these services are for essential journeys only. If you can use alternative forms of transport including cycling or walking you are urged to do so in line with the Government guidance.
Trains will now operate within normal operating hours, albeit at a reduced frequency. These are as follows:
Monday to Saturday
- Southport – Hunts Cross line: Trains every 30 minutes until approximately 7pm then every 60 minutes until end of service.Additional services will operate during peak times Monday to Friday.
- Ormskirk line: Trains every 30 minutes until approximately 7pm then every 60 minutes until end of service.
- Kirkby line: Trains every 30 minutes until approximately 7pm then every 60 minutes until end of service.
- West Kirby and New Brighton lines: Trains every 30 minutes until approximately 7pm then every 45 minutes until end of service.
- Chester line: Trains every 30 minutes until approximately 7pm then every 60 minutes until end of service.
- Ellesmere Port line: Trains every 30 minutes until approximately 7pm then a reduced frequency until end of service.
Sunday services will still operate between the hours of 8am and 8pm. Full details of the timetable can be found at www.merseyrail.org.
In line with government advice released by the Department for Transport, Merseyrail is encouraging passengers to follow social distancing guidelines when using the network:
- Maintain social distancing wherever possible.
- Wear face coverings if you can.
- Use contactless payments where possible.
- Avoid peak travel if you can.
- Arrive at the station in good time.
- Leave plenty of time for your journey – you might not make the train you planned due to social distancing measures.
- Wash or sanitise hands as soon as possible before and after travel.
- Follow advice from staff and be considerate to other passengers.
- Please be kind and respectful to staff and other passengers.
Passengers are also advised to check before and on their day of travel. This can be done by visiting the Merseyrail website www.merseyrail.org, the Merseyrail Twitter account @merseyrail or by sending a message on WhatsApp on 0151 555 1111.
Andy Heath, managing director at Merseyrail, said: “We have been working with Government and key stakeholders to develop an increased service that aims to meet demand for those who need to travel
“It is essential that everyone plays their part in helping to keep the trains for those who really need them. So, only use our services if you absolutely must while maintaining social distancing where it is possible to do so.”