CANCELLED Merseyrail Chester and Ellesmere Port trains have incurred the anger of a local MP who has labelled the situation a "joke".

The rail operator announced on Sunday evening (January 14) that trains will not be running early on Monday due to forecast freezing conditions.

That resulted in a number of trains scheduled to run towards Chester and Ellesmere Port being either cancelled or stopping at Hooton. Other services in the Liverpool area were timetabled to run as normal.

Merseyrail apologised for the disruption and added rail replacement bus services were in operation for those times.

But Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Justin Madders, writing on social media, said: "It’s a bit soon for April fools but this surely has to be a joke?!

"How can it be too cold to run services in E Port & Chester but nowhere else on the network? Do we have a micro-climate here or are we being treated as 2nd class citizens again?

"Time for Cheshire rep on @merseyrail."

Explaining the situation in the replies, a Merseyrail spokesperson said due to engineering works on the Chester/Ellesmere Port line, it meant its MPV – a vehicle used to treat potentially frozen rail track – was unable to run there. The MPV was used elsewhere on its network.