Mersey Tunnel users are calling for tolls to be axed when train services from Wirral to Liverpool are stopped for six weeks.

A major renewal of the underground loop line track will begin in January.

During this time there will be no trains at all between the borough and the city centre.

Chairman of Mersey Tunnels Users Association Dave Loudon has now called on the leaders of local councils to tell Merseytravel to suspend tolls.

Mr Loudon has emailed town hall chiefs saying: “Removing toll barriers and toll collection for the six weeks in January would ease the flow of vehicles into and out of the tunnels.

"On behalf of those drivers and businesses that will be using the tunnels during that time I ask that you tell Merseytravel to stop the tolls for that period.

“To keep collecting tolls in this situation would show that Merseytavel and the authority are more interested in profits than they are about the people and businesses that use the tunnels.

“It is doubly unfair as Merseytravel may be expecting to make even more Tunnels profit for the six-week period while those using the Tunnels experience lengthening queues.”

He said Merseytravel makes a vast profit from the tunnels.

The MTUA believes even with the suspension of tolls, Merseytravel would make more than £8m profit this financial year.

A Merseytravel spokesman said: “The proposal by the MTUA that Mersey Tunnel toll charges are suspended for the first six weeks of Wirral loop line track renewal works would exacerbate travel issues and is therefore not something that we will be considering.

“Making the tunnels toll free would encourage more people to use them, adding to congestion both in the tunnels and on the surrounding routes on both sides of the river.

"Our focus is keeping the Liverpool City Region moving and we are actively encouraging people to leave their cars at home, using public transport cross-river wherever possible during the works.

“Additionally, the toll barriers have an important role to play in traffic management, helping stagger the traffic to keep it moving as best it can to reduce the likelihood of traffic queuing in the tunnel– something we try to avoid wherever possible.

“We will have plenty of staff on hand to help and will be carefully monitoring the tunnels and surrounding routes to respond quickly to any issues as they happen.”


Rail-users are being encouraged to stick to public transport during the work by using express rail replacement services, existing cross-river buses and the Mersey Ferries to help keep the tunnels and surrounding routes flowing.

Wayne Menzies, head of rail at Merseytravel, said earlier this week: "Wirral line rail users will be well aware of the impact the track renewal work will have on their journeys, but regular tunnel users may not be aware that it’s likely to have an impact on their journeys too.

"Encouraging rail users to stick to public transport, and regular tunnel users to consider when they travel, can help manage the flow of traffic through the tunnels for everyone's benefit, including those on express rail replacement or cross-river bus services."

Network Rail is replacing 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.