Rail chaos as strikes add to travel disruption

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Lime Street station. Pic by Owen Swift © JMU Journalism

Strike action and railway construction works are contributing to travel disruption across the region as a two-day industrial dispute affects commuters.

Liverpool Lime Street station’s multi-million-pound upgrade already means it will be closed until October 22nd. Strikes by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport workers (RMT) on Tuesday and Thursday this week over the introduction of driver-only trains will add to the chaos.

The £460 million development into the new driver-only trains could be in place from 2020, with the union objecting to the scheme in a series of strikes, including on Grand National day earlier this year.

The strike affects Northern Rail and Merseyrail, stopping all services on the Kirkby, New Brighton and Ellesmere Port lines and reducing trains to the Southport, Hunts Cross, West Kirby and Chester.

There will be a break in service around midday on all lines except Liverpool Central to South Parkway.

No trains will be leaving Lime Street during the building works, but there are replacement buses taking passengers to stations.

Liverpool South Parkway, Liverpool Central and Moorfields are all affected by the closure, and are reported to be busier, with some passengers taking to social media to complain about the confusion.

Twitter: Merseyrail

David Print, Head of Strategic Development for Merseyrail, told JMU Journalism: “We have lots of extra staff in Lime Street, Moorfields and South Parkway in yellow vests. There are lots of people around to help if anybody is confused.”

Mainline services from Manchester, London, Birmingham, Leeds, York and Crewe will start and terminate at Liverpool South Parkway in Speke.

Merseyrail has recommended leaving vehicles at home and using public transport to travel to South Parkway as the carpark there is “likely to be full” by 6.30am each morning.

Mr Print said: “The area surrounding Liverpool South Parkway is very congested, please don’t drive as the car park will fill up very quickly.

“There is lots of fantastic public transport with extra services in place to get you to and from Liverpool South Parkway.”

To help passengers travelling to and from the city centre, buses are taking passengers to and from Moorfields station, along with ‘UK Bike and Go’ rentals from the station being free throughout the upgrade.

For more information on the Lime Street upgrade and details on this week’s strikes, contact Merseyrail via its social media outlets or official website.

About Abby Nicholson, JMU Journalism