Commuters are facing severe travel disruption as essential engineering work begins on the Wirral Line on January 3rd.
The first phase of work will see train services between West Kirby and Liverpool cease at Birkenhead North for six weeks with rail replacement buses in operation.
There will be timetable alterations and a 30 minute service will run on the West Kirby lines throughout the work. Six car trains will run when possible to maintain the number of seats available.
Merseyrail said commuters should expect journey times to increase by approximately 20 minutes, however at peak times when roads are busy they could increase further.
They advised commuters to avoid travelling by car through the Mersey Tunnels at peak times and to stick to public transport.
A spokesperson said: “We do not recommend driving through the Mersey Tunnels during Wirral loop line track renewal, particularly at peak times.
“Whilst the tunnels can accommodate additional buses, they will not cope with an increase in cars without causing significant congestion.
“If you have no choice but to take the car, avoid travelling at peak times whenever possible and leave more time for your journey. Consider car sharing to play your part in keeping the City Region moving.”
Alternatives to the rail replacement service include:
Mersey Ferries offer a cross-river alternative during Wirral loop line track renewal, with free parking for 370 cars at Seacombe Ferry Terminal and buses serving the area. Ferries also provide an alternative travel option for cyclists.
During the week, there will be a commuter service from 07:20 – 10:00 and 17:00 – 19:00, with ferries every 20 minutes between Seacombe and the Pier Head. At weekends and during the week between 11:00 – 16:00, cross-river journeys can be made via the River Explorer Cruise.
During peak commuter times, if ferries are suspended for any reason, alternative travel arrangements will be provided.
Throughout the work, valid cross-river rail tickets will be accepted on all Mersey Ferries.
During Phase 1, traffic between Birkenhead and Seacombe may be slower due to preparatory work on the major bridge replacement schemes on the A554 Tower Road, Birkenhead. There will also be disruption to traffic during Phase 3 as there will be restricted access across Tower Road, with traffic diverted via Duke Street Bridge. Please allow extra time for your journey.
Public transport will remain the best mode of transport throughout Wirral loop line track renewal. Additional cars on the road will increase congestion and journey times.
As well as our robust rail replacement bus offer, cross-river bus services provide a transport alternative throughout each phase of the work.
Services will be strengthened for the duration of the work to accommodate more passengers.
Rail tickets will only be accepted on rail replacement buses and not cross-river bus services.
For more införmation visit www.merseyrail.org/trackrenewal