Merseyrail trains to run without passengers

On Friday morning the first trains on the Merseyrail network will run WITHOUT passengers to ensure they are safe as the Met Office predicts more snow for Liverpool city region. Tony McDonough reports

Merseyrail’s first trains on Friday will run without passengers. Picture by Tony McDonough


Merseyrail’s first pre-rush hour services will run without passengers on Friday morning amid safety fears caused by snowfall.

On Thursday morning services on both Northern and Wirral lines saw delays and cancellations as snow fell across Liverpool city region. The Met Office has issued a warning for more snow on Friday morning.

Merseyrail says it is aiming to run as normal a service as possible but warns there is likely to be further disruption to some services.

Snow could accumulate on the powered third rail, preventing trains from making electrical contact. To ensure the track is safe, the very first trains on each line will run without passengers. 

Anyone planning to travel on Friday or over the weekend is advised to check the Merseyrail website, app or social media channels before starting their journey. 

The following changes will be in place from the start of service;

  • Southport line: 05:37 (Southport – Hunts Cross) starts at Sandhills at 6.21am. The 5.59am (Sandhills – Southport) is cancelled.
  • Ormskirk line: 5.49am (Ormskirk – Liverpool Central) will start from Sandhills at 6.16am.
  • Kirkby line: 5.43am (Kirkby – Liverpool Central) will start from Sandhills at 5.55am.
  • Hunts Cross line: 6.01am (Hunts Cross – Southport) will start at Liverpool Central at 6.24am.
  • West Kirby line: 5.51am to Liverpool Central is cancelled.
  • New Brighton line: 5.53am to Liverpool Central is cancelled.
  • Chester line: 5.39am (Hooton – Liverpool Central) will start from Birkenhead Central at 5.59am. The 5.55am (Chester – Liverpool Central) will start from Hooton at 6.09am.
  • Ellesmere Port line: 6.17am (Ellesmere Port to Liverpool Central) will start from Hooton at 6.26am.

Mitigation plans will be in place overnight and in the morning as Merseyrail takes steps to protect commuter services.

Tracks on the 75-mile Merseyrail network will be treated overnight to protect them from snow build-up. Station staff will ensure that platforms and car parks are well gritted, so they are safe for passengers.

Greg Suligowski, head of customer service at Merseyrail, said: “The Met Office weather warning for snow across the region means that we need to take immediate preventative measures to ensure that we can start services at the earliest time possible tomorrow. 

“Our teams will be working closely with colleagues from Network Rail both overnight and in the morning to get passenger services moving. However, further disruption beyond the cancellations announced is possible.

“We apologise for the disruption this will cause and would recommend anyone planning to travel tomorrow or over the weekend checks our social media channels, app or website for the latest advice before starting their journey.”

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