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Skip Navigation LinksMerseytravel > Travel Updates > Wirral Loop Line Track Renewal Works

 Wirral Loop Line Track Renewal Works

Wirral loop line track renewal – what you need to know

A summary of the works and what it means

Network Rail is carrying out major track renewal work to the Merseyrail Wirral loop line and under river track between 3 January and June 2017, in three phases.
During this time, the biggest changes will be to cross river services but there will also be temporary changes to all Wirral line services. However, everyone who travels in the city region, either on the train, by bus, ferry or in a car, is encouraged to bear in mind what’s happening and the potential impact the works may have on your journeys so you can plan ahead.
Lots of information and travel options are available – visit Merseyrail, follow #trackrenewal on Twitter

2017 - Dates for your diary

Phase 3: Tuesday 30th May – Sunday 18th June

For 20 days, all Wirral line trains will start and terminate at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central. Express rail replacement buses will run between these stations and Liverpool. No trains will run cross river to and from Liverpool.

How you can help

  • Don’t take the car, use public transport: The Mersey Tunnels and surrounding routes can accommodate additional buses but they will not be able to cope with an increase in cars, especially at peak times. Congestion will increase journey times for everyone. 
  • Avoid travelling at peak times where possible: If you work, speak to your employer about whether there is any flexibility in working times or times you could avoid travelling altogether. If you can, you may want to leave work later and make the most of restaurants, shops and other leisure activities on whatever side of the river you’re travelling home from.
  • Leave more time for your journey: Whether you travel cross-river by train, bus, ferry or car you will need more time for your journey to take account of the changes.
  • Consider your options: Different ways of travelling may suit your needs depending on where you need to go and at what time.

What you need to know

For Phase 3, travellers need to take into account the following information:
Wirral Dock bridges: Current works to replace two of the old ‘four bridges’ along the A554 Tower Road in Wirral means there is no through-route along this road until the end of 2017. Seacombe Ferry Terminal, Mersey Ferries plus the 12 Quays Terminal can still be accessed by following the well-marked diversion routes, but be prepared to allow longer for your journey. More information is available on Wirral Borough Council website.
Mersey Tunnels: Tunnel flows have changed recently with an increase in traffic and longer peak periods, due to a combination of various roadworks in Liverpool City Centre, Tower Road, Wirral and the Runcorn/ Widnes area, impacting on traffic using the Silver Jubilee Bridge. This potentially puts the tunnels at risk of even greater congestion during the final phase of track renewal. Where possible, don’t use the car use public transport.

Rail Users

Merseyrail Wirral line

Customers will be affected especially those using cross river trains.
Trains will start and finish at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central and will not run to or from Liverpool or round the city centre ‘loop’. There are also small changes to timetables on all Wirral lines.
Advice: Check timetables, plan your route, take into account extra journey time.
There are a number of alternative travel options: high quality, express rail replacement buses, existing cross-river bus services and the Mersey Ferries. See below for more information.

Merseyrail Northern Line

You are not affected

Mainline services

If you use mainline services from Lime Street or Liverpool South Parkway you will not be affected unless you use the Wirral line for part of your journey. Rail replacement buses will arrive at and leave from St Georges Plateau adjacent to Liverpool Lime Street Station and from Moorfields to help you make your connection.
Advice: Check timetables and take into account longer journey times.

Rail replacement buses

High quality ‘express’ buses, with on-bus  WiFi and charging points,  will run directly from Birkenhead Central and Birkenhead North to Moorfields Station and St George’s Hall (for Lime Street Station), with return buses at least every 15 minutes.
There will be additional services to ensure people can still catch early morning mainline trains.
Merseyrail tickets are valid on these buses and on the 10A bus which you can use to travel around the ‘loop’ – between James St, Moorfields, Lime St and Central.
Advice: Plan ahead and take into account extra journey times


There are 14 existing cross-river bus services that run between Wirral/Chester and Liverpool.
These services are likely to become busier, so more or bigger buses will be put on key routes to accommodate existing and new customers.
As rail service frequency will be reduced on the New Brighton and West Kirby lines during track renewal,  rail users may want to take advantage of  cross river bus services during this time with the 432/433 (New Brighton-Liverpool service) running every 15 minutes and the 437 (West Kirby-Liverpool service) running every 8 minutes.
The following links take you to the route information and timetable details.
NB: Merseyrail tickets are only valid on rail replacement buses (and the 10A), not existing bus services.
Advice: Check bus timetables, plan your journey, take into account that buses maybe busier. You can also plan your journey on bus by using our journey planner.

Mersey Ferries

Services will be running as usual and Merseyrail passengers with valid cross-river tickets/passes can travel on the Mersey Ferries for no additional charge.
Current works to replace two of the old ‘four bridges’ along the A554 Tower Road in Wirral means there is no currently no through-route along this road. However Seacombe Ferry Terminal can still be accessed by following the well-marked diversion routes.
Morning commuter services from Seacombe to Liverpool Pier Head begin at 7.20am and run at about 20 minute intervals until 9.40am.
Evening services from Liverpool Pier Head to Seacombe begin at 5.00pm and also run at about 20 minute intervals until 6.40pm.
There is free parking at Seacombe for 370 cars, and buses serve the area. It is also the best options for cyclists. A limited bike bus service is also available. Information and the timetable is available on the Merseyrail website
Further information for cyclists is below.
During peak commuter times, if the ferry isn’t running for any reason (e.g. as a result of poor weather), then a replacement bus service will run between Seacombe Ferry Terminal and the Pier Head in Liverpool City Centre.
Off peak passengers can still use the ferry to make cross river journeys
A full timetable of all cross river journeys is available at Mersey Ferries
Advice: Plan your journey and check before you travel. Be prepared to allow longer for your journey due to the Wirral Dock bridge closures

Car & the Mersey Tunnels

The tunnels won’t be able to cope with an increase in cars, especially at peak times. Congestion will increase journey times for everyone. 
Advice: Stick to public transport where possible. If you have to drive, avoid travelling at peak times wherever possible and leave more time for your journey. Car parks are available at a number of Merseyrail stations, including 670 spaces at Birkenhead North.
Advice: Check before you travel and take into account that park and ride car parks may be busy and fill up earlier. Consider your options as due to an increase in traffic, the tunnels are currently busier at morning and evening peak times.


Mersey Ferries are the best option for crossing the river.
A limited bike bus service is also available. More information is available on the Merseyrail website
Secure Cycle Storage
Another option if you travel with a bike is to leave your bike in Merseyrail’s secure cycle shelters, which are located at the majority of stations. To make use of them, register in advance at where a full list of stations can be found, an access fob will be sent to you free of charge.
Bike & Go
If you leave your bike at home or at your local station you can take advantage of the Bike & Go offers during Wirral Track Renewal. During the work, Bike & Go will offer half price annual subscription to customers who live in the Liverpool city region and free rentals from Moorfields station during Phase 3. To register, visit, select the Wirral promotion and use the promo code wirral17.
Remember that throughout Wirral loop line track renewal, fold-up bikes can be taken on trains and rail replacement buses.

Disabled Travellers

You will still be able to travel cross-river.
Passengers will be transported on rail replacement buses or other suitable vehicles.
More information is available at on the Merseyrail website.

Planning your journey

If you need any help planning your journeys you can call Merseytravel on 0151 236 7676, Mondays to Fridays 7am – 8pm, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays 8am – 8pm or Merseyrail Customer Relations team on 0151 555 1111, Mondays to Fridays 7am-7pm.
Lots of information and travel options are available - go online, follow #trackrenewal on Twitter or pick up a booklet from any Merseyrail station.

Merseytravel, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
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