MERSEYRAIL have revealed the latest phase of upgrade works set to take place ahead of the introduction of the new fleet of Stadler trains in 2020.

Rail stations such as West Kirby, Green Lane, Hamilton Square and Chester will all be affected with disruption to services lasting between one day and 13 days.

Some works will take place at night to minimise disruption.

Wayne Menzies, head of rail for Merseytravel said: “This next phase of planned works will be vital in welcoming our new, state-of-the-art trains to the Liverpool City Region in 2020.

"I want to thank passengers not only for their continued patience and cooperation but for following the advice given which is designed to help keep them on the move.

"We, and our partners at Merseyrail and Network Rail have worked together on this project and significant planning has taken place, to minimise disruption for passengers and people living near to stations wherever possible by having the works take place at night when the stations and wider network is not in use.

"Of course, while these works continue, high-quality rail replacement buses will be available to get people where they need to go.

"We also encourage customers to consider other travel options, including commercial bus services.

"Please check your tickets and passes before you travel.”

The upgrades are part of a rolling programme of planned works which will prepare Wirral and Northern lines for the new state-of-the-art trains.

Some of the works include altering the height of station platforms and realigning the track so that the new train's sliding step can meet the platform edge to provide unassisted access for all passengers.

The planned works will take place between:

  • Rice Lane to Kirkby: line closed, 7-15 September
  • Green Lane: Chester and Ellesmere Port services will not call, 8 September – 20 October
  • Hamilton Square to Hooton : line closed until 14:00, 8 September
  • Aintree to Walton: line closed until 13:00, 15 September
  • West Kirby: platform 1 closed with all trains to operate from platform 2, 16-20 September
  • New Brighton/West Kirby to Hamilton Square: lines closed, 21-22 September
  • West Kirby to Hoylake: closed, 23-29 September
  • Southport to Formby: line closed until 13:00, 29 September
  • Birkenhead Central to Chester / Ellesmere Port: line closed, 13 & 20 October
  • Bache to Chester: line closed, 14-19 October

The upgrades started in October last year, with eleven phases planned in total with some stations needing more work due to unforeseen circumstances and the decision was made to return to these stations later this year so that other phases of work were not delayed.

Further planned works will also be taking place from later this year and into 2020 to ensure that all stations are ready to accommodate the new longer trains. There will also be work to install equipment to provide a pioneering connectivity system which will include high quality on-board WiFi.

Lucy Middleton, scheme project manager at Network Rail, said: “We’ve completed around 85% of our upgrades on the Merseyrail network to prepare platforms for the arrival of new trains and their innovative sliding step technology.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to complete all upgrade work at Rice Lane, Green Lane, West Kirby, Birkenhead North and Chester as the changes needed were more complex than we originally thought.

“We didn’t want to impact further phases in the programme and made the decision to delay this work until later in the year. We’re sorry to Merseyrail passengers for the further disruption to their journeys and would like to thank them for bearing with us.”

While lines are closed, Network Rail will also be undertaking upgrades to the power supply which will help to drive the powerful state-of-the-art trains thereby enabling journey time reductions of over 10% across the network.

Andy Heath, managing director for Merseyrail, said: “This work is essential to prepare the network for the new state-of-the-art trains that will arrive next year, with sliding step technology that will allow unassisted access for all of our passengers.

“Plans are in place to minimise disruption as much as possible, with both high quality rail replacement buses and our staff helping passengers to complete their journey during these short phases of work."

Passengers will find timetable information and travel advice to plan their journeys at