A Merseyrail train at Southport Train Station. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

Cold weather mitigation plans are set to be repeated for a third night on the Merseyrail network to ensure services are running as smoothly as possible on Thursday 19 January.

The night of 17 January, into the morning of 18 January, saw some challenging conditions on parts of the network and Merseyrail and Network Rail teams worked hard to resolve issues as soon as they could.

Although temperatures are starting to pick up, mitigation plans will be in place overnight and in the morning as Merseyrail will once again take steps to protect commuter services on Thursday morning.

Tracks on the 75-mile Merseyrail network will be treated overnight to protect them from ice build-up, while station staff will ensure that platforms and car parks are well gritted, so they are safe for passengers.

The plan also means that the first services of the day on each line will run without passengers. Ice on the third rail can cause trains to become stranded so some first trains of the day will run empty to ensure routes are cleared.

Passengers are being advised to check the latest updates before they travel on Thursday morning.

The following changes will be in place from the start of service;

Chester and Ellesmere Port lines: The first train of the day from Hooton (05:39 to Liverpool Central) will be cancelled.

The first train of the day from Ellesmere Port (06:17 to Liverpool Central) will only be in passenger service from Hooton onwards.

The first train of the day from Chester (05:55 to Liverpool Central) will only be in passenger service from Hooton onwards.

New Brighton line: The first train of the day (05:53 to Liverpool Central) will be cancelled. The 06:16 Moorfields to New Brighton is cancelled.

West Kirby line: The first train of the day (05:51 to Liverpool Central) will be cancelled. The 06:21 Moorfields to West Kirby is cancelled.

Southport line: The first train of the day from Sandhills (05:59 to Southport) will be cancelled.

The 05:52 from Southport to Hunts Cross will operate as normal .

The first train of the day from Southport (05:37 to Hunts Cross) is cancelled.

Hunts Cross line: The first train of the day from Hunts Cross to Liverpool Central will depart at 07:06. All earlier trains are cancelled.

The first train from Liverpool Central to Hunts Cross will depart at 06:43.

Ormskirk line: First train of the day (05:49 to Liverpool Central) will be cancelled.

Kirkby line: First train of the day (05:43 to Liverpool Central) will be cancelled.

Passengers should check before they travel by using the Merseyrail app, website (https://www.merseyrail.org/) or Twitter account (@merseyrail).

Merseyrail acting Managing Director Jane English said:

“Due to freezing temperatures overnight, some lines on the Merseyrail network suffered significant disruption at the start of service on 18 January.

“I want to offer my sincere apologies to passengers who were disrupted by these delays, which affected the Chester and Ellesmere Port lines to Hooton, and Hunts Cross to Liverpool Central particularly.

“The Chester and Ellesmere Port line was impacted by ice on the third rail, making it extremely difficult for the train to pick up power. This led to delays on this part of the network.

“The Hunts Cross line was similarly hit by icing on the powered third rail, causing similar problems in that area.

“Merseyrail and Network Rail colleagues were out working hard overnight and into the morning to deal with the cold issues. However, in some parts of the network the ice build-up was significant. I can assure our passengers that we will be working hard to ensure the best possible service tomorrow morning.”

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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