Weather set to wipe out Merseyrail services on Friday

Train operator Merseyrail says forecasts of snow and ice overnight mean they may not be able to operate any services in the Liverpool city region on Friday. Tony McDonough reports

Merseyrails says it will struggle to run any services on Friday due to bad weather. Picture by Tony McDonough


Merseyrail says it is not expecting to be able to run any train services across its network o Friday (January 8) with snow and ice forecast for the region.

Following the Met Office issuing a ‘yellow weather warning’ for snow and in the Liverpool city region on Thursday evening and Friday morning, Merseyrail admits it will struggle to run any trains on its Northern or Wirral lines. Commuters are advised to check Twitter @merseyrail or the website.

However, it adds if conditions improve it may attempt to operate some services. The forecast is for weather conditions to improve from mid-morning. Rail replacement buses will not be in operation. However season tickets will be accepted on Arriva, Stagecoach and Mersey Ferries.

Merseyrail is also introducing a reduced timetable across its network from Sunday, January 10. This is due to the national COVID-19 lockdown imposed this week. Wherever possible, people have been advised to work from home.

Andy Heath, managing director at Merseyrail, said: “We have been working hard over the last few weeks to prepare the network for adverse winter weather conditions, covering the rail with anti-ice and running trains throughout the night to keep the lines clear.

“Through previous experiences when, following the anti-icing, we incur a combination of snow, sleet and rain fall on our electrified third rail as is forecasted, this can result in a new layer of ice which electricity cannot pass through and trains are unable to operate.

“As a result of this, we believe it is highly likely that trains will not operate on Friday. We hope that this advance notice will give passengers enough time to make alternative travel arrangements. We will be continuously working with Network Rail to run services as soon as is safely possible and apologise for any inconvenience this will cause our passengers.”

COVID-19 timetable changes

From Sunday, January 10, services on the Southport and Hunts Cross lines will return to a 30-minute frequency Monday to Sunday. The West Kirby and New Brighton lines will be running at a 45-minute frequency on Sundays. These lines will continue to operate every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday with a 15-minute service between Birkenhead North and Liverpool.

The timetable across the rest of the Merseyrail network continues to operate as follows:

  • Ormskirk line – every 30 minutes Monday to Sunday.
  • Kirkby line – every 30 minutes Monday to Sunday.
  • Chester and Ellesmere Port lines – every 30 minutes Monday to Sunday (15-minute service between Hooton and Liverpool).

Trains will be operating as six cars wherever possible across the network. Government issued travel advice is that passengers should only travel if they need to, and if travelling, to do so with confidence by planning ahead, avoiding busy times and routes where possible, and wearing a face covering while travelling (unless exempt).

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