Massive programme of Merseyrail line closures to prepare for new ‘state-of-the-art’ trains being introduced from 2020.
A rolling programme of line and station closures will be put in place across the Merseyrail network from Autumn 2018 as work gets under way to introduce new state-of-the-art trains in 2020.
The work will involve re-modelling a total of 100 platforms and realigning track at 58 stations. The station upgrades will involve closing sections of the line so platforms can be adjusted to adapt to the new trains.
Merseyrail said they had tried to reduce disruption by programming the line closures when there were no major events happening and when there was low passenger demand. Rail replacement buses will be laid on when there are no services.
Network Rail bosses said the line closures had to be put in place so engineers could work in safety – and to allow access for machinery, equipment and materials.
The new trains are being introduced as the present Merseyrail fleet is approaching the end of its working life, with some units 40 years old.
Merseyrail said the trains will be safer, reducing the gap between the platform and the train. They will have a sliding step which means wheelchair users can board the train without a ramp, which they have to use at present.
It also said there will be 50% more passenger-carrying capacity, with wider aisles, along with a 10% reduction in journey times – and every passenger will also be able to see CCTV in real time on the train they are on, similar to what is already in use on the bus service.
Andy Heath, Merseyrail managing director, said: “A lot of work has gone into minimising disruption as much as possible while this work takes place, and both high-quality rail replacement buses and our staff will be available to help keep everyone moving.
“This is the largest investment in the network since the 1970s and is a game-changer for public transport in the Liverpool city region.
“The new state-of-the-art trains means there will be unassisted access for all our passengers.”
The new fleet of trains is the third and final element of the £340m Great North Rail project, which has already seen the upgrade of the Wirral loop line track and the remodelling of Liverpool Lime Street station.
The full programme of closures is as follows:
October 20 to 28: All stations closed from Ormskirk to Walton
October 29 to November 9: Stations closed from Ormskirk to Old Roan
November 12 to December 16: Closure of Bank Hall station (trains will run through without stopping)
December 24 to January 1 2019: Closure of Wirral loop line
January 5 to 13: Stations closed from Kirkby to Rice Lane
January 19 to 20 / 26 to 27: Liverpool Central to Hunts Cross closed
January 21 to 25: Brunswick to Hunts Cross closed
February 2 to 10: Southport to Hall Road closed
February 11 to 24: Formby to Bank Hall closed
March 2 to 22: Rock Ferry to Hooton closed
March 25 to April 2: Hooton to Chester closed
April 7 to 14: West Kirby to Birkenhead North closed
April 15 to 22: West Kirby to Bidston closed
April 27 to May 5: New Brighton to Birkenhead North closed
April 27 to June 15: Overpool station (station will remain open but there will be changes to journey)
May 11 to June 15: Green Lane station (as above)