Merseyrail set to restore 15-minute services

Rail operator Merseyrail is set to restore 15-minute services on most parts of its Liverpool city region network following two weeks of disruption. Tony McDonough reports

Merseyrail says 15-minute services will be restored across most of its network on June 20


Merseyrail will restore two-minuted services on most of its network from Monday, June 20.

Passengers have endured two weeks of disruption on the Northern and Wirral lines due to an increase in wheel bearing faults. This meant a number of trains had to be taken out of service.

A reduced timetable was introduced on Monday, June 13, as Merseyrail attempted to get to grips with the problem. With trains now beginning to re-enter service the following changes will apply from Monday, June 20:

  • Trains on the Ormskirk, Kirkby, Chester, New Brighton, and West Kirby lines will run every 15 minutes between approximately 7am and 7pm. A 30-minute service will operate outside of these hours.
  • Between Southport and Hunts Cross trains will run every 15 minutes from the start to the end of service.
  • On the Ellesmere Port line, the normal 30-minute service will continue to operate.
  • A 30-minute service will continue to run on Sundays across all lines.

While the number of trains available continues to improve daily, initially all services will operate as three-car trains. As more trains are repaired, they will be re-introduced to provide six-car services on the busiest routes.

Despite the timetable changes the network is likely to be significantly affected by next week’s planned UK wide industrial action by Network Rail staff. While Merseyrail staff are not taking part in this industrial action, it will involve Network Rail staff. They operate the signalling systems and provide crucial maintenance. 

The current planned dates for strikes are Tuesday, June 21, Thursday, June 23 and Saturday, June 25. Merseyrail will share passenger travel advice alongside the rest of the UK rail network later this week. 

Andy Heath, managing director of Merseyrail, said: “We are truly sorry for the disruption to our passengers’ journeys over the last two weeks. Our teams together with our train maintainer Stadler have worked around the clock to ensure we were able to restore the 15-minute service.

“We continue to work with Stadler and experts from the wider rail industry to ensure we fully understand the root cause of this issue, to prevent this happening again.”

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