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Phase 6 (Southport line) is due to start later this week and information about Phase 7 (Chester line) to help passengers plan their journeys is now available both on the Merseyrail website and via leaflets available at stations.

Information for passengers about the remaining four phases in the programme will be published in the coming weeks.

Phases:

Phase 6: Southport line – Southport to Hall Road between 2 and 10 February; Formby to Bank Hall between 11 and 24 February.

Passengers are advised to take into account longer journey times.

There will also be additional engineering works taking place on this line for one day on 17 February that will close the line between Southport and Formby.

Phase 7: Chester line – Hooton to Rock Ferry between 2 and 22 March; Hooton to Chester between 25 March and 2 April.

Commercial buses and the Mersey Ferries may be a good cross-river option.

Key advice:

* You can still get to where you need to go
* Check before you travel
* Plan ahead – use journey planners
* Leave more time for your journey. Timetables may change and your journey may be longer
* Consider avoiding travelling at peak times where possible

Upgrades involve altering the height and width of station platforms and realigning track. Although the changes might not be obvious to passengers, the work is essential to ensure the new trains’ sliding step can meet the platform edge. The sliding step will mean passengers can get on and off the train with ease.

While lines are closed to complete the platform upgrades, Network Rail has also brought forward other works to maximise the use of each closure.

During phase 6, Network Rail will also be replacing a railway bridge in Bootle that straddles the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. The complete renewal will take place between 18 – 22 February. Track maintenance work will also take place along the route on Sunday 17 February.

Level crossing maintenance works will also take place on the route during phase 6. Clear diversion routes will be provided.

During phase 7, Network Rail engineers will be completing strengthening works to the footbridge at Bromborough station, while the station is closed. These essential works will help to improve reliability and keep the railway safe.

David Powell, Merseytravel’s programme Director for Rolling Stock, said: “Major investment works on this scale will inevitably cause disruption but we’ve worked closely with Network Rail and Merseyrail to minimise this and help keep people on the move.

“We appreciate that journeys can be longer and may require a change of plan but customers have been great and clearly planned their journeys and I’d like to thank them for their continued patience while these important upgrades are completed.”

Adeola Dada, sponsor for Network Rail, said: “We’re nearing the sixth of eleven phases of work to prepare Merseyrail platforms for the arrival of new, state-of-the-art trains.

“In order to remodel the station platforms and track quickly and safely, we must close stations for a period of time. We’re making the most of these closures by delivering other essential works on the network such as renewing the railway bridge in Bootle, track maintenance along the Southport line and strengthening of Bromborough footbridge, to minimise overall disruption to passengers.

“We’re also completing a lot of work at night to ensure trains can continue to run during the day. This is all part of the Great North Rail Project – a rail industry team effort to transform train travel for customers across the North through track and train improvements.”

Andy Heath managing director for Merseyrail said: “Merseyrail has developed a robust rail replacement bus timetable to help passengers travel as easily as possible during each phase of work and minimise any disruption to their journey. Passengers will still be able to get to their destination, however we encourage them to plan their journeys in advance and allow extra time.”

For more information and further details about how your rail journeys will be affected visit the Merseyrail website.

Information is also on the Merseytravel website including alternative travel options.

To see what goes on behind the scenes check out the time lapse video of the platform upgrades at Walton station on the Network Rail website.