Merseyrail announces timetable changes to combat dreaded ‘leaves on the line’ train delays

Why do leaves on the line cause delays?

We’ve all heard the notorious announcement before: ‘Your train has been delayed due to fallen leaves on the track’.

Well, Merseyrail have taken steps to prevent the infamous Autumnal delays by making changes to their upcoming timetable.

From Monday, October 3, minor alterations will affect the Southport, Chester and Ellesmere Port lines

What’s the problem with leaves?

‘Leaves on the line’ is often used as term of ridicule by commuters for last-minute cancellations, but the issue does cause genuine problems.

Merseyrail says the residue from fallen leaves covers the track with a hard, slippery coating, which makes acceleration problematic.

Trains have to run at lower speeds for safety and this sometimes leads to the delays and cancellations.

What are the timetable changes?

A Merseyrail train going through a station. Image: Merseyrail

There’s no need to panic. The timetable change just adds a variance of around three minutes to allow for the potential of slower speeds.

Trains will leave some stations three minutes earlier than currently scheduled and some will arrive at stations three minutes later than currently timetabled.

Merseyrail say most passengers won’t notice any change to their journey.

The minor changes will be:

Chester and Ellesmere Port Lines: Trains running from stations between Chester and Ellesmere Port and Birkenhead Central will depart up to three minutes earlier than currently timetabled. They will arrive in Liverpool City Centre at their usual time.

Trains from Liverpool City Centre will depart at their usual time but arrive at stations between Birkenhead Central and Chester and Ellesmere Port up to three minutes later than currently timetabled.

Bromborough Rake and Green Lane stations will remain on a 30-minute frequency for trains.

Southport Line: Trains running from stations between Southport and Sandhills will depart up to three minutes earlier than currently timetabled. They will arrive in Liverpool City Centre at their usual time.

Trains from Liverpool City Centre will depart at their usual time but arrive at stations between Sandhills and Southport up to three minutes later than currently timetabled.

🚉 Passengers should use the Merseyrail journey planner to plan journeys.