Getting ready for your new trains

Wed, December 12th, 2018

Next phases of Merseyrail network platform upgrades announced

Information about the next three phases of platform upgrades to prepare the Merseyrail network for the arrival of new, state of the art trains in 2020 is now available to help people plan their journeys.

Network Rail is just days away from completing works for Phase 2 at Bank Hall station on the Southport line.

Upgrades involve altering the height and width of station platforms and realigning track. This is vital to ensure the new trains’ sliding step can meet the platform edge, providing better access for all passengers.


There are 11 phases of work scheduled until June 2019. During each phase, some stations will be temporarily closed however high quality, rail replacement buses will keep passengers moving.

A summary of the next three phases are below and passengers are advised that further information including timetables is available at Merseyrail stations and on the Merseyrail website.

Phase 3: Wirral loop line: James St, Moorfields, Lime St, Liverpool Central stations, from 27 December 2018 - 2 January 2019

Commercial buses and the Mersey Ferries may be a good cross-river option.

Phase 4 Kirkby line: Kirkby, Fazakerley and Rice Lane stations, from 5 - 13 January.

Phase 5 Hunts Cross line: Brunswick to Hunts Cross, starting with one day of work on 19 January, then 21 -26 January 2019.

Sandhills to Hunts Cross (including Liverpool Central), from 20 and 27 January 2019

More information about Phases 6 to 11 including rail replacement bus services and alternative travel options will be available a few weeks before the start of each phase.

Key advice:

  • Check before you travel, especially during the Christmas period as timetables may change.
  • Plan ahead – use journey planners.
  • Leave more time for your journey.
  • Consider avoiding travelling at peak times where possible.
  • Consider your options –including commercial buses and the Mersey Ferries.
  • These vital works need to happen to ensure that station platforms across the Merseyrail network are compatible with the new trains and their ground breaking, sliding step technology that will provide unassisted access for all.

This will mean that wheelchair users can board the train without a ramp and passengers with prams and cycles can get on and off the train with ease. This technology represents a pioneering approach for the UK.

Merseytravel, Merseyrail and Network Rail have worked collaboratively on this project and significant planning work has been carried out to minimise the time needed to complete these important works and reduce disruption to passengers.

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

Wayne Menzies, Merseytravel's Head of Rail said: “When these works have finished we will be one step closer to welcoming our new, state of the art trains to our region that will transform how we travel. I want to therefore 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.”

“During phase 3 we appreciate that people will want to travel cross river over the Christmas holiday. The Liverpool City Region remains very much open for business and commercial buses and the Mersey Ferries may also be a good cross river option.”

Andy Heath, Managing Director at Merseyrail said: “Merseyrail has developed a robust rail replacement bus timetable to help passengers travel as easily as possible during each phase of work and minimise any disruption to their journey. Passengers will still be able to get to their destination, however we encourage them to plan their journeys in advance and allow extra time.”

Marcus Barnes, senior sponsor for Network Rail, said: “The second of eleven phases of work to prepare Merseyrail platforms for the arrival of new, state-of-the-art trains is almost complete.

We’re finishing the final stages of work at Bank Hall, ready to welcome passengers back in the station from Monday 17 December. Work also continues, at night, at Birkenhead North and Kirkdale stations to allow trains to continue to call there during the day.

“This package of works, totalling 100 platforms and 58 stations across the Merseyrail network, is part of the Great North Rail Project. Many of these upgrades may not be obvious to passengers, but are key to enable improved access onto new Merseyrail trains using the new sliding step technology."

Check out the animation to find out more about the works and the new trains.

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