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Behind the scenes of the Merseyrail platform upgrades

Remodelling track and resurfacing platforms are just some of the engineering works involved in the platform upgrades programme taking place across the Merseyrail network.

Remodelling track and resurfacing platforms are just some of the engineering works involved in the platform upgrades programme taking place across the Merseyrail network.

The upgrades are part of plans to make sure that the network is ready for the arrival of our new, state of the art trains from 2020 that will transform how we travel.

Network Rail is carrying out this vital work that includes altering the height and width of station platforms plus realigning track.

So far Network Rail has:

  • Upgraded 54 platforms at 33 stations on the Merseyrail network
  • Remodelled over 6,250 metres of platform copers (the concrete slabs on the platform edge)
  • Resurfaced over 15,000 square metres of platform surface
  • Realigned 6,750 metres of track

These are complex engineering works and around 100 Network Rail engineers are working round the clock to complete the works on time.

Although the platform changes might not be obvious to passengers, the work is essential to ensure the new trains’ sliding step can meet the platform edge. This approach is unique in the UK.

Phase 6 on the Southport line was completed successfully at the weekend (24 Feb) and Phase 7 on the Chester line, Rock Ferry to Hooton, is due to start on 2 March.


There are 11 phases in this programme and during each phase, high quality rail replacement bus services will keep passengers on the move.

Passenger information and timetables are published online and in leaflets, available at stations, a few weeks before the start of each phase to help people plan their journeys.

Information about the following phases on the Wirral line is now available:

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

Phase 8: West Kirby line between 7 April and 22 April

Information about the remaining phases on the Wirral line will be available in the coming weeks:

Phase 9: New Brighton to Birkenhead North between 27 April and 5 May

Phase 10: Overpool between 27 April and 15 June

Phase 11: Green lane between 11 May and 15 June

Key advice:

  • 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 travelling outside peak times where possible

The vital upgrades are being carried out to help make sure the network is ready for the new state of the art trains and their sliding step technology. This technology will make it much easier for people, including wheelchair users and those with prams and luggage to get on and off the trains.

Adeola Dada, sponsor for Network Rail, said: “Our work force of around 100 engineers, over 60% of which live in the Liverpool City Region, have been working relentlessly to upgrade Merseyrail platforms before trains come onto the network in 2020.

“54 platforms across the Merseyrail network have been remodelled to the right height and width so the new trains’ sliding step can meet the platform edge. We’re grateful to passengers and our lineside neighbours for their continued patience and support as we deliver these essential upgrades.

“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.”

David Powell, Merseytravel’s programme Director for Rolling Stock, said: “We appreciate that passengers need to adjust their journeys but they have been great at planning ahead and that really does help us keep people moving so it’s a huge thank you from all of us. This is a hugely important piece of work and there are a lot of people working both on the front line and behind the scenes to make sure it’s running as smoothly as possible with minimal disruption to passengers.

“When we researched passenger opinion in 2013/14 one of the points raised was the gap between the sliding step and the platform edge. These works will result in the step meeting the platform edge and will clearly benefit passengers in terms of getting on and off the train.

“Ultimately, this is all about our new trains that will be arriving from 2020 and will be owned by the people of the Liverpool City Region.”

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.

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.

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