People heading to the final of The Open on Sunday 23rd July are being reassured that they will be able to get there by rail, as Merseyrail pulls out all the stops to minimise the impacts of industrial action during one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
Merseyrail has confirmed that – despite the plans of RMT guards to strike that day, and the expectation that train drivers will not cross picket lines – it will be able to run a service specifically designed to get people to and from Royal Birkdale.
There will be a service every 15 minutes between Liverpool Central and Hillside and Southport and Hillside from 9am to around 12.30pm and then from around 5pm to approximately 8.30pm.
To support spectators who ‘park and ride’, morning services between Liverpool Central and Hillside will call every half hour at Blundellsands and Crosby and every evening service back to Liverpool Central will call at this station.
There will, however, be a significant knock-on impact for those not heading to the golf, with no services able to run at all across the rest of the Merseyrail network.
No industrial action is planned for any other rail operators that day, meaning that people can still travel into Liverpool and around other parts of the Liverpool City Region as normal, including on Northern services into Southport where they can also access the Merseyrail network to travel to The Open.
For those who would normally use the Merseyrail network, the City Region’s extensive bus network is being recommended as an alternative transport option for many passengers. Local commercial bus services will be strengthened on some key routes. People wanting advice on their transport options can visit www.merseytravel.gov.uk/railstrike
23rd July is also the finale of LIMF at Sefton Park. No rail services will be serving the event, but concert-goers will be able to travel to and from Sefton Park by commercial bus services, with special shuttle bus services put on after the event. These will take people back to the City Centre where they can catch commercial bus services.
Frank Rogers, Chief Executive of Merseytravel said:
“The RMT’s selfish actions have forced us to take very difficult decisions in relation to where we target extremely limited services on 23rd July. All eyes will be on Royal Birkdale in an event that’s watched by 600 million people across the globe and is worth around £100m to the Liverpool City Region economy. We want golf goers to take away the best possible impression of our area and to be able to do that, we have to have the transport to match. We are really sorry that it means other travellers will be impacted and we hope they understand the reasons.
“The new trains are vital to the prosperity of the City Region. No guards are losing their jobs and we are absolutely confident that the new trains are safer than the ones they replace. This disruption is totally unnecessary. Now is the time for RMT to get around the table with Merseyrail and talk, not attempt to ruin a global event.”
Said Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Merseyrail’s managing director:
"It is disgraceful that the RMT Executive should deliberately target major events that the city region has worked so hard to bring to Merseyside. As we saw with Aintree Saturday in April, the RMT Executive thinks nothing of doing down the Liverpool city region in its proudest moments. Only one out of the 20 members of the RMT National Executive Committee covers the Liverpool city region. They don’t care about the economic and reputational damage that they cause.
"We do care, because we at Merseyrail want the City Region to be even more successful and prosperous. That’s why we are focussing all the resources we have on Sunday 23rd July on providing a frequent and high capacity service to and from Hillside station for people travelling to and from The Open.”
Key advice if you’re travelling on 23rd July:
If you’re heading to The Open:
- You can still get to The Open by rail. There will be a service every 15 minutes from both Liverpool Central and Southport designed specifically to get people to and from Hillside for Royal Birkdale.
- Other rail services are operating as normal, meaning golf goers can get into Lime Street or Southport to make their onward journeys to Royal Birkdale by rail. For more information visit www.nationalrail.co.uk
- If you’re travelling into Liverpool Lime Street, you can easily access Merseyrail services to The Open by taking a short walk to Liverpool Central.
- If you were planning on using the Merseyrail network to interchange in the City Centre for Merseyrail’s Northern Line services to Hillside, consider using commercial bus services to get to and from the city centre. There is an extensive network of services.
- Plan ahead and leave longer for your journey as there may be queues. Don’t aim for the last train home – be at the station in good time. To ensure golf goers get a train back to Liverpool, they should be in the queue at Hillside by 7.30pm
- While there will be plenty of public transport available, park and ride facilities are available for The Open. For more information visit www.sefton.gov.uk/sport-leisure/golf-in-sefton
- Full details of Merseyrail services are on the Merseyrail website www.merseyrail.org/strike on Twitter (@Merseyrail) and will be on posters at all stations.
- For more travel options and advice visit www.merseytravel.gov.uk/railstrike or call Merseytravel if you need more help in planning your journeys on 0151 300 1000
If you’re travelling for other reasons on 23rd July:
- The Merseyrail service operating on 23rd July is designed specifically to get people to and from the golf using Merseyrail’s Northern line only. There will be no through services running between Liverpool Central and Southport and no services running on any other Merseyrail lines.
- There is an extensive bus network around the City Region that can still get you where you want to go and the Mersey Ferries may also be an option. To plan your journey visit www.merseytravel.gov.uk/railstrike
- Merseyrail services are the only rail services affected by Industrial action, meaning that you can still travel to and from Lime St and around parts of the City Region on mainline services. For more information visit www.nationalrail.co.uk