WIRRAL commuters facing six months of disruption during a major upgrade of railway track next year can find out more about the alternative transport options that will be available throughout the work from today. 

As revealed in August, Network Rail is replacing the most challenging sections of concrete based track in the Liverpool 'loop' – originally laid in the 1970s - and carrying out other work, including replacing conventional track under the riverbed.

The work will take place day and night from January 3 to June 18. For the first six weeks there will be no trains between Wirral and Liverpool.

Details of transport options are from www.merseyrail.org/trackrenewal and railway stations.

Among the suggestions is for motorists to leave their cars at home and use rail replacement bus services or other public transport, to help ease congestion in the Mersey tunnels.

Businesses and organisations are also urged to think about what they may need to put in place to support staff and customers.

Commuters are also advised to avoid travelling at peak times where possible and leave more time for your journey.

Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, managing director of Merseyrail, said: "We appreciate that this work will bring significant disruption to passengers on the Wirral line, resulting in temporary changes to how they make their journeys.

"However, we have worked hard with our partners to ensure that the alternative travel arrangements we've put in place provide the most effective ways of keeping people moving around the city region."

The track renewal is part of a £340 million investment in the railway of the Liverpool City Region.

Wirral Globe:

What does it mean for commuters?

  • Phase one takes place from Tuesday, January 3 to Sunday, February 12. During this time, all Wirral line trains will start and terminate at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central. Rail replacement buses will run between these stations and Liverpool.

    • Phase two takes place from Monday February 13 to Monday May 29. All Wirral line trains will start and terminate at James Street station from Monday to Friday. During weekends, all services will start and terminate at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central stations, with rail replacement buses being used again.

    • Phase three takes place from Tuesday May 30 to Sunday, June 18. All Wirral line trains will starts and terminate at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central.

    • People normally using loop line services can use their rail tickets on the 10A bus to travel around the 'loop'.

    • The cross-river bus service running between Wirral/Chester and Liverpool will be strengthened to accommodate existing and new customers.

    • Mersey Ferries will operate a frequent cross-river service between Seacombe and Pier Head in peak times, with three services an hour, a journey time of 10 mins each way and free parking for 370 cars at Seacombe.

    • Cross-river Merseyrail tickets/passes will be able to be used throughout the disruption. Ferries will be an option for cyclists as cycles can't be carried on rail replacement buses.

    • Special arrangements will be in place for those with disabilities with staff on hand to help.

Wirral Globe:

Terry Strickland, area director of Network Rail said: "After more than 40 years it is time to renew track on the loop line and riverbed to maintain the safety and reliability of the network.

"Whilst underground we will also be undertaking maintenance jobs that will help boost the resilience of the network, limiting the need for further disruption in the future.

“We are supporting the work of Merseytravel and Merseyrail to keep the city region moving during this time and thank passengers in advance for their patience during the works."

Cllr Liam Robinson, chair of the Merseytravel Committee: "We have been clear from the start of the planning for these works that the City Region has to be kept moving and remain open for business.

“This is the message that has also been echoed strongly by businesses and organisations on both sides of the river; it is non-negotiable.

Wirral Globe:

"While the work will bring disruption and mean temporary changes to how people make their journeys we will, working together, make it as positive an experience as possible.

"We have to consider the end game and the significant benefits £340m investment in our rail network will bring."

Cllr Stuart Whittingham, Wirral Council's cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: "Investment in our transport network is always welcome and improvements to the City Region's rail infrastructure will play a major part in delivering our economic regeneration plans over the coming years.

"Wirral Council is aware of the inevitable disruption and inconvenience this repair work will cause to commuters in 2017 and wants to see the impact on the travelling public minimised as much as possible.

Wirral Globe:

"We are working with Merseytravel and others to organise meetings with Wirral commuters and rail users to shape the best possible temporary transport solutions, so Wirral residents are well informed about their alternative travel to work options as early as possible."

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool and Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority: "The renewal work to the Wirral line is necessary to keep the network running and safe.

"Whilst it will be disruptive for passengers, there is a strong alternative transport option available to ensure people can still get around as they would do normally.

"I urge people to plan early and make the most of the travel information that is available from today, taking into consideration that they will need to leave more time for their journeys.

"Please bear with it, we are doing everything we can to minimise disruption during this time and be reassured that this work is part of a wider investment in the Liverpool City Region that will give us new services and stations by 2019.”