Merseyrail - Merseyrail Network - B

Merseyrail - B
Merseyrail Network
The self-contained network is operated by the Merseyrail train operating company, formally known as Merseyrail Electrics 2002, a 50:50 Serco-Abellio joint venture. Two lines known as the Northern Line and the Wirral Line compose the electric third-rail part of the network, which has service frequencies of 15 minutes in outlying areas converging to rapid transit frequencies in central sections.
The lines are electrified throughout using a 750 V DC third rail system. The City Line (marked red on the map) is operated primarily by Northern with funding from Merseytravel. The line is mainly electrified with one branch, the Liverpool to Manchester line via Warrington, operated by diesel trains.
Trains on the Northern Line and Wirral Line cover the Liverpool City Region. The total route length of the two lines is 120.7 km (75.0 miles), accommodating 66 stations. The lines connect Liverpool city centre with cities and towns on the outer reaches of the city region, such as Southport, Chester and Ormskirk. Frequent intermediate stops serve other sections of the urban area.
Unlike similar networks in the UK, Merseyrail infrastructure is owned and maintained at a national level by Network Rail. As a self-contained system serving a single City Region, the Northern and Wirral Lines are exempt from the national rail franchising structure, which is instead the responsibility of local government. The City Line, which shares infrastructure with regional and high-speed services and trains with neighbouring mainline commuter services (particularly that of Manchester), is not part of this exemption.
The three lines interchange as follows:
  • Northern and City Line services interchange at Liverpool South Parkway and Hunts Cross in the south of the city.
  • Wirral and City Lines interchange at Lime Street in the city centre.
  • Northern and Wirral Lines interchange at Liverpool Central and Moorfields in the city centre.
Northern Line (Merseyrail)
The Northern Line is shown in blue on the Merseyrail and Merseytravel maps and denoted by the above wordmark on underground stations. Services operate on three main routes: from Hunts Cross in the south of Liverpool to Southport via the Link tunnel from Brunswick station through central Liverpool, from Liverpool Central to Ormskirk, and from Liverpool Central to Kirkby. Each route operates a train every 15 minutes from Monday to Saturday, giving a frequent interval between trains on the central section. Some additional trains run at peak hours on the Southport line.
On matchdays at Everton F.C.'s Goodison Park and Liverpool F.C.'s Anfield, Northern Line services connect with the SoccerBus service at Sandhills station to transport fans to the stadia. Bus departure is at frequent intervals from Sandhills station with ticketing to combine both modes of travel. Kirkdale station is within walking distance of Goodison Park.
Connections to non-Merseyrail services are available at:
  • Southport to Wigan Wallgate and Manchester Airport.
  • Liverpool South Parkway for services operated by London.
  • Northwestern Railway, East Midlands Railway, TransPennine Express and Northern serving Birmingham New Street, Manchester Oxford Road, Blackpool North and various destinations within Yorkshire and the West Midlands.
  • Hunts Cross to Warrington Central and Manchester Oxford Road;
  • Ormskirk to Preston.
  • Kirkby to Wigan Wallgate and Manchester Victoria.
Merseyrail Wirral Line
The Wirral Line is shown in green on the Merseyrail and Merseytravel maps and denoted by the above wordmark on underground stations. Services operate from the four terminus stations of: Chester, Ellesmere Port, New Brighton and West Kirby.
Each service from one of these the terminus stations runs through Hamilton Square underground station in Birkenhead, then through the Mersey Railway Tunnel, continuing around the single track underground loop tunnel under Liverpool's city centre. Trains head back into the Mersey Railway Tunnel to return to one of the four terminus stations.
Monday-Saturday services are every 15 minutes to/from Liverpool to Chester, New Brighton and West Kirby, and every 30 minutes to/from Ellesmere Port (Monday–Sunday). These combine to give a service at least every five minutes from Birkenhead Hamilton Square and around the loop under Liverpool's city centre.
Connections to non-Merseyrail services are available at:
  • Bidston on the West Kirby branch for the Borderlands Line to Wrexham, operated by Transport for Wales.
  • Chester to Crewe and London Euston, Wrexham and Shrewsbury, the North Wales Coast line to Llandudno and Holyhead, and to Manchester either via Warrington or via Northwich and Knutsford.
  • Ellesmere Port for an infrequent service to and from Warrington.
  • Liverpool Lime Street for intercity and regional trains to London Euston, Manchester, Birmingham, Wigan, Scotland, the Midlands and Wales.
Merseyrail City Line
The City Line is the brand name used by Merseytravel on suburban rail services in the Liverpool City Region, starting eastwards from the mainline platforms of Liverpool Lime Street railway station. The line is depicted on Merseytravel signage and maps using the colour red and the above word mark.
Unlike the other two lines, the City Line is not operated by the train operating company Merseyrail, however most of the line's stations within the Liverpool City Region use Merseytravel's Merseyrail yellow branding, signage and ticketing.
The term covers most of the Liverpool City Region sections of the Crewe–Liverpool line, the two Liverpool–Manchester lines, and the Liverpool–Wigan line, with services continuing to Warrington, Chester via Runcorn and Blackpool and Preston via Wigan. Two services are not electrified, the Manchester via Warrington Central and Chester via Runcorn.
It is mainly operated by Northern Trains, with additional long-distance services operated by TransPennine Express, Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, Transport for Wales, and West Midlands Trains.
Merseyrail Overview
Owner: Merseytravel, Network Rail
Area Served: Liverpool City Region and surrounding areas
Liverpool City Region (Merseyside and Halton)
Transit Type: Commuter rail
Number of Lines: 2 (plus main line commuter services)
Number of Stations: 68 (66 managed)
Annual Ridership:
2019: 30.6 million
2020: 9.0 million
2021: 20.0 million
Chief Executive: Neil Grabham
Headquarters: Rail House, Liverpool
Merseyrail Operation
Began Operation: 1977 - 46 years ago
Operator(s): Serco-Abellio
Infrastructure Manager(s): Network Rail
Character: Commuter rail, National Rail franchise
Number of Vehicles: 57
Train Length: 3 cars, 6 cars during peak times
Headway: 15 minutes (general), 5 minutes (central sections), 30 minutes (Ellesmere Port branch, general in evenings and on Sundays)
Technical Track Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification: 750 V DC third rail
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