Merseyrail is facing persistent complaints from passengers over an unexpected side effect of the £20m refurbishment of Liverpool's main underground station – trains running early.
Trains are not stopping at Liverpool Central during its extensive revamp, which started when the station closed in April and lasts until October. The trains still pass through the closed station and drivers have been told to slow down at that point to keep journey times the same as before the closure. Failure to do so has caused trains to run around two minutes early, causing passengers arriving last-minute at the station to miss trains.
The Northern line from Southport to Hunts Cross is a key daily commuter route feeding into onward services at Liverpool South Parkway to Manchester, Leeds, Crewe, Nottingham and Birmingham.
A member of Merseyrail's customer service team told Place that frequent complaints had been passed on to the operational team. Drivers and guards had been told repeatedly to wait at Central in order to stick to the timetable but were flouting the instructions.
The £20m refurbishment of Central will deliver bigger, safer platforms, better access for disabled passengers, brighter waiting areas and improved toilet facilities.
The station works have been planned by Merseyrail, Merseytravel, Network Rail and Liverpool City Council. The Merseyrail franchise is operated by a joint venture between between Serco and Abellio.
The Wirral line at Central reopens in August and the Northern line in October.