Merseyrail’s RMT dispute and the two Mayors as Labour starts to duff itself up over DOO

Merseyrail’s new Stadler Trains, to be delivered in a couple of years time, are at the heart of the dispute about driver only operated trains.

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site

Yes OK it’s an issue I have covered many, many times in recent months but this is a new angle. It shows how figures within the Labour Party are at odds with each other over the Driver Only Operated (DOO) trains that are coming to the Merseyrail network with the new Stadler rolling stock.

In essence the Echo article is one where the RMT union is accusing the two Labour Mayors of Liverpool (Joe Anderson) and Liverpool City Region (Steve Rotherham) of siding with private sector train operating company Merseyrail when the RMT quite obviously feels the Mayors should be siding with RMT.

Well you might say, that’s a statement of the blinding obvious but hang on a minute. I’ve pointed out before that in reality Merseyrail are only in effect a front for this dispute as it was created by Merseytravel the public sector transport committee of the Liverpool City Region which has a huge Labour majority. It was Merseytravel who approved the purchase of the new Stadler trains which can/will run without train guards. Merseyrail were simply told to get on with it after Merseytravel had thrown the fire cracker into their relationship with the RMT guards that Merseyrail employ. Yes Merseyrail have been loyal and taken on the dispute but let’s not forget where the dispute with RMT was created – at Merseytravel.

So you could say Labour backs DOO on Merseytravel Committee, RMT a Labour supporting union opposes DOO and our two Labour Mayors are caught in the middle being in effect accused by the RMT of backing DOO by the back door.

Merseyrail – When a train is simply too short!

Merseyrail Class 508 EMU at Maghull Station

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Folk using the Merseyrail Northern Line between Liverpool & Ormskirk may soon be using the ‘Miseryrail’ phrase as 3 car trains are yet again the order of the day due to power shortages at Aughton Park.

This first manifested itself a few weeks back but here we go again it seems. 3 car trains at rush hours are bad for passengers and they are letting their feelings be known!

Network Rail are in the dock over this continuing problem.

Lydiate – It’s ‘In Flower’ volunteer group is moving forward

Lydiate’s newest volunteer group held another meeting on Monday night in the Scotch Piper Pub.

The draw was made for raffle prizes, tickets for which were sold at the Lydiate Christmas Fayre held in Lydiate Village Centre last Saturday.

Donations and expressions of interest in sponsorship are starting to come in.

The group now has a constitution and is fully set up to be able to apply for grants.

The logo of the group looks great and is at the head of this posting.

Brexit and Labour’s incoherent stance

The Independent has the opinion piece from Tom Brake MP on its web site – see link above

I must admit I have begun to laugh these days when JC attacks the incoherent TM for being in a right old muddle over Brexit because he too is in that very same muddle. Yes he attacks her but he keeps on voting with her in the H of C! OK Lab’s official position last night was to abstain but that kind of sums them up at present does it not?

This Tweet from Vince Cable of a couple of days ago also hits the Labour nail on their heads:-

‘Just suggested to @theresa_may in the chamber that she might as well have Labour leadership with her at the #Brexit negotiations, since they seem to agree with her on leaving Single Market and Customs Union, no matter how disastrous that may be.’

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Maghull – Development sites and flooding risks – Questions still being asked!

Dovers Brook, Maghull in full flood looking north from Sefton Lane on Boxing Day 2015.

A subject I have covered many times before but then in a low-lying coastal Borough like Sefton flooding is always going to be a threat. And that is of course why it needs to be closely managed with no building agreed to in areas where to do so would increase the risk of it.

And the reason I return to this subject now, when no serious flooding events have taken place recently in the Town? Well it’s to keep track of ongoing issues in Maghull where land development continues to cause real worries for residents.

Those from the Maghull area may recall the hugely controversial plan to build on land off Damfield Lane going back only a few years ago. It was and indeed still is controversial with locals because of worries about flood risks potentially being increased. In fact the care development on that site is being constructed right now. The major objection to the planning application was all about flood risk and hours upon hours were spent in investigations into what building on this site could/would lead to in terms of flood risk.

River Alt looking south towards Switch Island from Bridges Lane in Sefton Village – It takes virtually all the surface water for miles around out to sea at Hightown

In simple terms surface water drains away from Maghull in a westerly direction using Whinney Brook, Maghull Brook, Dovers Brook etc. with them all draining into the River Alt. In turn the Alt empties out into the Mersey estuary at Hightown. The issue is therefore the capacity of these brooks and the river to be able to take the consequences of heavy prolonged rainfall away. Clearly at times that capacity will not be sufficient and the more we concrete over farmland, where rainwater can presently soak away, the greater we make flood risks.

A flooded Bridges Lane between Dovers Brook and the River Alt – when it all got too much in December 2015

Since the Damfield Lane site was given the green light for building however a far, far bigger site on the east of Maghull has also been allocated for around 1,600 houses and an industrial park by Sefton Council. It will go a long way to making Maghull 25% bigger than it is now – truly a huge urban extension and from a flood risk perspective (never mind the fact that the land presently grows our food) surely a big additional worry.

I recently posted about the SUD (Sustainable Urban Drainage) pond that has been dug on the Ashworth South/Poppy Fields site off School Lane. I’m also told that the pipe presently being laid across the fields on the other side of School Lane is to take water from the Poppy Fields site over to Whinney Brook. Here’s a shot of that SUD:-

Looking over the recently created rainwater collection pond. School Lane is behind the fence in the background.

So what is being done to manage flood risk in the Maghull area? The Lunt Meadows water catchment area is the big solution when the River Alt gets beyond its capacity. Here’s a link about it:-—Lunt-Meadows-Washland-c13.html

The big questions Maghullians have to face, in my view, are when will the next significant flood risk event take place (as surely it will do) and are the powers that be managing land development in a way that does not increase flood risk? On this latter question the answer must surely be that the jury is still out……

So what if Brexit does not actually happen?

MSN has the story on its web site – see link above

Now for those Brexiters who still read this anti-Brexit blog site I would guess that even the suggestion of Brexit not being followed through (at any cost – the more harm the better) will require them to take to the streets demanding that the UK self-destructs itself.

But in the real world we all know that May and Corbyn and are in a right old tangle about how to deliver Brexit without flushing the UK down the economic pan of history. May’s presently got to find the impossible solutions whilst Corbyn feels the need to both back her and attack her as he does not have to find the solutions.

Let’s face it, things are not going well in any way in Brexit Britain.

With thanks to Keith Page for the lead to this posting