Liverpool Lime Street Station – Chaos as wall collapses onto main line

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/dramatic-pictures-show-scene-wall-12672598

The Liverpool Echo has the photos – see link above – from the wall collapse between Lime Street and Edge Hill Stations. The collapse in the deep cutting between the stations is causing all trains to be stopped in and out of Lime Street for an unknown period of days as clear up and repairs are undertaken.

Liverpool’s Trams – A fascinating historic film

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mWS5JZZEiA

If you have an interest in Liverpool in the 1950’s and the demise of its once very significant tramway network then you will want to view this YouTube film – see link above.

Liverpool Tram 869 (Not the last tram) in Crich tramway Village, Derbyshire. Photo from 2008

The filming was done by local man Alfred H Jacob.

Merseyrail – RMT Guards vote for Industrial Action

The present Merseyrail rolling stock (Class 507/8 EMU’s) at Southport Station.

Below is the RMT Union notice which was sent to members of the Merseytravel Committee today:-

RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that members have voted overwhelmingly for both strike action and action short of a strike in a ballot for industrial action after Merseyrail’s continued failure to provide cast iron assurances around the future of the safety critical role of the guard.

Action has by RMT’s Merseyrail guards and drivers has been confirmed as follows: Members not to book on for any shifts between 0001hrs and 23.59 hrs on Monday 13th March. In addition members will not work any rest days from 00.01 hrs on Tuesday 7th March indefinitely.

81.8% of members voted for strike action with 93.5% backing action short of a strike.

In addition, the union is kick starting a renewed campaign, involving the general public and targeting politicians across the area served by Merseyrail, aimed at maximising political and public support for RMT’s fight for a guaranteed guard on the company’s services.

RMT General secretary Mick Cash said:

“This ballot result sends out the clearest possible message to Merseyrail, Merseytravel and politicians across the area that RMT is prepared to stand up and fight for public safety and the guard guarantee. The company now has the best part of two weeks to sit down with us, address the core issues at the heart of this dispute and negotiate a settlement before the action commences.

“The union’s position on Driver Only Operation is perfectly clear. We will not agree to any introduction of DOO and will fight to retain the safety critical role of the guard and to keep a guard on the train. It is the failure of Merseyrail to give guarantees on those basic principles that has led to the current dispute and the campaign of industrial action.

“RMT asked Merseyrail to give the union assurances that any new trains will have a second safety critical crew member on board and that the guard will be retained on all services. We set out clear deadlines giving the company ample time to give those assurances but the company have flatly refused to consider a guarantee of a second safety critical person on the new trains”.

“This dispute, and the industrial action announced today, were entirely preventable if the company had listened and to the unions deep-seated safety concerns, had taken them seriously and had put passenger safety before profit. The blame for the industrial action, and the disruption it will cause, lies solely at the door of Merseyrail and those who are happy to put private profits before public safety.

“Merseyrail are also completely ignoring the clear wishes of their own passengers, who overwhelmingly oppose the idea of Driver Only Operated trains on their network. That pig-headed attitude has forced the union’s hand and the idea that we would compromise on the fundamental issue of rail safety is absurd. The union remains available for meaningful talks and we would expect Merseyrail to take up that offer as a matter of urgency.”

I can’t say that this has come as any surprise at all as Merseytravel, the public sector body that controls the Merseyrail Train Franchise, all but invited the strike in my view by choosing to purchase new trains which will be DOO – Driver Only Operated.

Like many I view this move towards taking away train guards with great scepticism as I don’t think Merseytravel have convinced anyone so far that it will actually lead to a safer local rail network for Merseyside. It does not help that Merseytravel seem to have differing answers to the question why they have decided to go down the route of Driver Only Operation. But of course I also view with horror the prospect of an industrial dispute and railway strikes such as that which is presently ongoing in the South East of England over this very issue.

I suspect this dispute has a long way to run and the victims of it will be the travelling public and Merseyrail staff it seems.

My thanks to Cllr. John Dodd for the lead to this posting.

Talking up division in society will lead to trouble

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-39048293

Above is a link to a BBC web site page and it is an issue for considerable thought. Talking up division in society is not clever whether it comes from Trump, UKIP or anyone else, indeed that kind of talk can lead to all sorts of problems for any society and it can even start wars.

Quote from article ‘Politicians who have used a divisive and dehumanised rhetoric are creating a more divided and dangerous world, says rights group Amnesty International.’

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Maghull – Update on work behind Sefton Drive on Cheshire Lines Path by Merseyside North Volunteers

merseysidenorth.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/those-brambles-fight-back.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+MerseysideNorthVolunteers+(Merseyside+North+Volunteers)

Merseyside North Volunteers have the story on their web site – see link above

A really welcome environmental project being brought to fruition by volunteers on the Cheshire Lines Path in Maghull.

Brexit – Like Tony Blair John Major is right

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39109408

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

I find myself now agreeing with a Tory politician following agreeing with a former Labour one on the same issue – Brexit.

This time John Major is in effect attacking the nutters in his party, UKIP and indeed Labour who seem to think all will be rosy in the Brexit garden. He is right to say that the impression being given by Brexiters, that all will be great, is utter rubbish and that everything is likely to be very far from wonderful.

But as I took in the thoughtful comments of John Major I was also watching the BBC evening regional news programme who, for reasons best know to themselves, had taken a caravan to Blackpool to hear the views of their Brexit lovers. And what did we hear but that ridiculous and utterly untrue story about bananas! Give me strength and give the BBC some idea about how to conduct a meaningful regional news item!