Wirral Line trains to resume on February 13 – but only on weekdays

Phase two of the multi-million pound Merseyrail loop line replacement works will see Wirral Line services start and terminate at James Street Station on weekdays only. Tony McDonough reports.

Rail replacement buses will still operate from Birkenhead Central and Birkenhead North to James Street at the weekends during phases 2
Rail replacement buses will still operate from Birkenhead Central and Birkenhead North to James Street at the weekends during phase 2 of the loop line track renewal works

Merseyrail trains between Liverpool and the Wirral will resume from Monday, February 13, as the six-month track renewal programme – but only on weekdays.

On Monday to Friday Wirral Line services will start and terminate at James Street Station and on Saturdays and Sundays trains will terminate at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central with buses then ferrying people to Liverpool.

There will, however, be special arrangements for weekends over the Grand National Festival, Easter and the May Bank Holidays, with trains starting and terminating at James St.

On schedule

The multi-million pound plan to replace the track on the loop line is on schedule and is being carried out in three phases.

Starting in January the first six weeks of the works saw replacement buses shuttling between Liverpool and Wirral.

Phase three starts on May 30 and will again see all Wirral Line services start and end at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central and the use of rail replacement buses.

Challenges

While direct rail services to and from the city centre are expected to be welcomed by passengers, they are being advised that the first week of phase 2 (February 13-17) will present challenges as  only one platform will be available at the station.

However by the second week the service offered will be much improved as two platforms will be in use.

While trains will be back running Monday to Friday, people are still being advised to plan their journeys in advance as services will still be running to the same timetables as during phase 1 of the works.

There will also be specific advice for cyclists and other people with travel needs at www.merseyrail.org/trackrenewal

Major project

Network Rail is replacing the most challenging sections of concrete based track in the ‘loop’ – originally laid in the 1970s, while making the most of the opportunity to carry out other work, including replacing conventional track under the riverbed.

The track on Merseyrail's loop line is to be replaced in a six-month operation
The track on Merseyrail’s loop line is to be replaced in a six-month operation

Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Merseyrail’s managing director, said: “I hope passengers will welcome the fact that during this longer, middle phase of work, it will be possible to get a train directly to and from the centre of Liverpool.

“Experience from phase 1 shows that customers used their nous and adapted quickly to the changes.

“We do recognise that phase 2 will take a bit of getting used to, and rest assured we will have plenty of staff on-hand to help and guide people, with particular focus on James Street station.”

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