People using the Wirral line are set for up to a month of disruption as the next phase of Merseyrail’s platform upgrade work begins.
Phase seven of the Merseytravel work, set to last from March 2 until April 2, will affect those who catch trains on the Chester and Ellesmere Port lines.
The first section of phase of work will last three weeks, affecting services between Hooton and Hamilton Square, with the second between Chester and Hooton to go on for a week after.
They mean that for those travelling between Capenhurst, Bache or Chester and Hamilton Square or Liverpool’s city stations, journeys will be disrupted for an entire month.
The entire scheme of works are being carried out to prepare stations for new trains in 2020, with this phase the seventh of 11.
This is exactly how your journey will be affected:
March 2 – March 22
There will be rail replacement bus services going between Hooton and Rock Ferry, which will call at all stations in between. Trains will run to Hooton, and from there passengers will need to board the bus.
The buses will also call at Hamilton Square, which has more trains running to and from the Liverpool stations.
From Monday to Saturday, there will also be express buses running between Hooton and Hamilton Square stations.
The works will also mean an altered timetable on both Chester and Ellesmere Port lines.
For those travelling from Rock Ferry, Green Lane or Birkenhead Central, there will be a reduced service with trains running every 15 minutes.
March 23- March 24
Over this weekend, a normal train service will run.
March 25 – April 2
From March 25, there will be rail replacement bus services between Chester and Hooton, which will call at all stations.
Merseyrail said passengers can board trains at Hooton to complete their onward journey.
As well as that, there will be timetable alterations for trains to and from Hooton and on the Ellesmere Port line. The firm said six-car services will run “where possible”, and advised commuters there is free parking at many stations, including 109 spaces at Ellesmere Port.
For those travelling to or from Capenhurst station, there will be a rail replacement bus service every 30 minutes.
The normal timetable will resume on Wednesday 3 April.
Amended timetables for all services can be found on the Merseyrail website, and passengers are advised to plan ahead to allow extra time for your journey.
Bikes (except folding bikes) cannot be taken on rail replacement buses, and prams and pushchairs must be folded.
Wayne Menzies, Merseytravel’s head of rail, said disruption to journeys would be “worth it in the end” for passengers, adding: “We’ve got to complete these works.
“It’s really important that passengers know what’s happening so they can plan ahead and if we work together we can keep everyone moving and the city region will remain open for business.
“The new trains will transform how we travel and this project is about making this happen so although there will be some disruption it will be worth it in the end.”
Andy Heath, managing director of Merseyrail, said: “These works are vital to prepare our network for the arrival of the new state-of-the-art trains in 2020 and in particular the sliding step that will allow unassisted access for all our passengers.
“Every effort has been made to minimise 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.”
By Tom Houghton – Local Demcracy Reporter