Liverpool-Chester hourly uplift delayed to 2024 due to train repairs, says TfW
Transport for Wales (TfW) has announced a setback in their plan to increase the frequency of train services on the Liverpool-Chester route via Liverpool Airport.
Initially scheduled to begin from 10 December 2023, the new timetable will now be implemented in January 2024.
The delay comes in the wake of recent storms in November, which resulted in wheel damage to several trains, TfW says.
The train operator has embarked on an extensive repair programme that is expected to last throughout December.
A spokesperson for Transport for Wales commented on the situation, saying, “We have a comprehensive programme in place for repairing the damaged wheels on the trains affected, which will take most of December to complete.”
“This will cause a few weeks of delay to delivering the frequency enhancements planned as part of the December 2023 new timetable.”
The spokesperson further added, “Our engineers are working as fast as they can to get the repairs completed, which will put us in a stronger position to reliably deliver the new services, making sure we have enough rolling stock.”
The enhancement of the Liverpool-Chester route is a part of TfW’s ongoing efforts to improve public transport connectivity in the region.
As part of the original announcement in November, TfW said it will be increasing the frequency of trains on the Wrexham Central to Bidston line to every 45 minutes, up from the current hourly.
TfW confirmed to our sister site Deeside.com that, starting December 10, two new Class 197 trains will join one Class 230 train on the Wrexham Central to Bidston line.
Asked if this planned service increase will be impacted by the damaged wheel issue, a spokesperson said: “I’m pleased to say this uplift is still planned to go ahead.”
The introduction of the Class 197 on the Wrexham to Bidston line will see the phasing out the 1980s-built Sprinter trains, which have been supplementing the service on the line as TfW works to resolve issues with its Class 230 upcycled former London tube trains.
The Class 230s, a fleet of five hybrid diesel/battery trains, utilise the bogies and aluminium bodyshells of retired London Underground trains.
TfW purchased them for the Wrexham to Bidston line to fulfil a short-term goal of increasing the number of services on the line, aiming eventually to offer a half-hourly service.
These trains were initially planned to be in service by 2019 but faced delays due to the pandemic and technical challenges.
TfW ultimately introduced the Class 230s on the Borderlands Line – a critical route through Flintshire to Wrexham and the Wirral – in early April this year.
However, the Class 230s have encountered reliability issues and have struggled to maintain the hourly timetable.
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