Why Merseyrail hasn’t yet gone back to 15-minute timetable and latest update

Merseyrail changed all lines to a reduced 30-minute service in January.

Commuters throughout Liverpool and Merseyside are still awaiting a return to Merseyrail’s regular 15-minute timetable after the network implemented a reduced service due to COVID hitting staffing levels.

Despite the diminished 30-minute service coming into place on January 17, the network has not yet restored it’s previous, more regular service.

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It has improved the running time for some of its services. The Southport and Hunts Cross lines now run on a 20-minute timetable, with the Kirby, Ormskirk, West Kirby and New Brighton lines doing likewise, before reverting to a 30-minute schedule in the evening.

Yet commuters will have to wait a little longer for a return to total normality as Merseyrail told LiverpoolWorld they are still wrestling with the fallout from the pandemic but hope to make an announcement “in the coming weeks”.

A Merseyrail train in the station. Image: Shutterstock

Andy Heath, Managing Director at Merseyrail, said: “We continue to work closely with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to return to a 15-minute frequency service as soon as is possible and we are hopeful of making an announcement on this in the coming weeks.”

COVID infections in Liverpool dropped by over 20% according to the latest official figures for the seven days leading up to Febraury 26.

However, the cumulative rate of infection in the city stands at 31,500 cases per 100,000 people, far higher than the England average of 28,560.

Mr Heath added: “COVID-19 clearly had a significant impact on the service we have been able to provide, however we have managed to keep the people of the Liverpool City Region moving over the last two years.

“Despite this, the lasting impact of the pandemic has meant that we have been unable to return to our normal timetable as quickly as we would have liked.

“I would encourage all passengers to follow our social media channels for the latest timetable updates.”

How have locals reacted?

Frustration was the order of the day when the reduced operating rate was first announced.

Eve, a regular user of Merseyrail, who relies on the service to get her and her child into Liverpool, said: “I don’t drive, so the train is the only way I can get into town. The wait in between trains will affect me a lot especially with the baby trying to get in and out.”

Another regular, Brian said: “What about the people who have to travel for work, they’ve got to survive on a weekly wage or a monthly wage?

“They’ve got to put their time in, the same as everybody even the people who work for the trains.”