THEY are not exactly bricking up the Mersey Tunnel, but the cross-river train link between Liverpool and Wirral will be completely shut down for six weeks from January 3.
The biggest repair programme for 40 years is to be undertaken on the Merseyrail network. In total it lasts six months and will cost millions of pounds.
It promises to be a miserable start to 2017 for tens of thousands of commuters returning to work after the Christmas/New Year break who will have to catch rail replacement buses.
But the travel advice will be music to the ears of restaurants and bars in hard-up January. Transport bosses say don’t take the car and, instead of travelling at peak times, make the most of restaurants, shops and other leisure activities on whatever side of the river you’re travelling home from.
Months of planning have gone into the preparation work to ensure Merseyside keeps on the move while work is going on, says Merseytravel which today announced its transport options.
"The key advice for Merseyrail users is to leave their cars at home and stick to express rail replacement bus services, or other public transport, to keep the Mersey Tunnels and surrounding routes moving," said Merseytravel.
Network Rail will be replacing the most challenging sections of concrete-based track in the "loop" – originally laid in the 1970s - while making the most of the opportunity to carry out other work, including replacing conventional track under the riverbed.
“Network Rail, Merseyrail and Merseytravel, have been working over many months, with local authorities, operators and other partners, to come up with a plan that balances the need to get essential and complex work done with the need to keep people moving and the city region ‘open for business’,” read a Merseytravel statement.
The work, which would also support a new Merseyrail fleet on the network from the early 2020s, is part of a £340m investment in the Liverpool City Region rail network over the next three years.
Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, MD of Merseyrail said: “We appreciate that this work will bring significant disruption to passengers on the Wirral line, resulting in temporary changes to how they make their journeys. However, we have worked hard with our partners to ensure that the alternative travel arrangements we’ve put in place provide the most effective ways of keeping people moving around the city region.”