A LONG-awaited direct hourly train service between Chester and Liverpool will finally resume this week after being suspended during the pandemic.

There have been several false dawns, but Transport for Wales says the service which calls at Runcorn has at last been reinstated.

Passengers currently face a two-hourly direct service during the day and a three-hourly direct service in the evening.

Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury, who has kept up the pressure over the reintroduction of the service, said: “I am so pleased on behalf of my constituents who need the hourly service to get to and from work and college, medical appointments and so on.

“I have been in regular contact with Transport for Wales in response to frustrations received in my postbag and on social media.

“Transport for Wales has had to contend with a shortage of trains for various reasons, but this regular direct service has taken far too long to reinstate, and people’s patience has been tested to the limit.

“Anyway, great news, and let us hope everything goes smoothly when the hourly service resumes, because I am afraid general reliability has also been raised as an issue.”

The service uses the Halton Curve stretch of line which was reinstated to two-way working in May 2019.

A Transport for Wales spokesman told Mr Amesbury by email: “I am pleased to announce that hourly services between Chester and Liverpool will now commence on Monday, February 12.

“Our fleet and engineering teams have been working tirelessly to get as many trains back into service, and as a result, we are now able to operate scheduled services from Monday onwards.

“May I take this opportunity to thank you and your constituents for their continued patience and understanding as we introduce these additional services.

“We look forward to welcoming customers back onto the service, which runs via Helsby, Frodsham and Runcorn.”

Customers are urged to continue to check before they travel via the Transport for Wales website, app and social feeds for the most up-to-date travel information.