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Coordinated Merseyside railway upgrades planned during Southport line closure

A railway bridge over the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Bootle will be replaced later this month while the Southport line is closed for platform upgrades.

The two improvements will take place at the same time to deliver the most benefit, while causing the least disruption to passengers.

Network Rail and Merseyrail have worked together to reschedule the bridge renewal to fit in with the ongoing platform improvements.

Between 18 – 22 February, the existing bridge deck will be removed and a 1,000 tonne crane will be used to install a new deck.

The Southport line will be closed for platform upgrades from 2 – 24 February as part of a wider programme of improvements to accommodate new trains from 2020.

Both pieces of work are part of the Great North Rail Project – a multi-billion-pound rail industry team effort to transform train travel for customers across the North through track and train improvements.

Chris Atkins, Network Rail scheme project manager, said: “Working with Merseyrail, we have rescheduled the renewal of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal railway bridge to fit in with the closure of the Southport line while platforms are upgraded.

“This will mean that passengers will have the least amount of disruption while we deliver significant benefits to the railway on Merseyside.

“Both pieces of work are essential. One will prepare the Merseyrail network for the arrival of its new trains. The other will ensure the railway bridge that supports the railway in Bootle is kept safe for the next 100 years.

David Powell, Merseytravel’s programme director of rolling stock, said: “All partners have worked together to minimise disruption to passengers as much as possible. We are progressing with the platform upgrades in preparation for the arrival of the new state of the art trains from 2020.

“Although the end results might not be obvious, the upgrades are essential to ensure the new trains’ sliding step can meet the platform edge so that passengers can get on and off the new trains with ease.”

Andy Heath, managing director at Merseyrail, said: “The platform upgrade work is essential to prepare the network for the new state-of-the-art trains and carrying out other necessary work at the same time will help to minimise disruption to passenger journeys. Passengers using the Southport line between 2 -24 February are encouraged to check before they travel at merseyrail.org/itshappening”

Between 2 and 24 February, Network Rail will be completing vital upgrades to 17 platforms on the Southport line. Work to adjust the height and width of station platforms and remodel track will prepare the platforms for the arrival of the new trains.

Passengers are being reminded to continue to check before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk for the latest information.