Modern Railways – August edition

The August edition of this long-standing railway magazine has the headline ‘Coalition’s Spending Spree – Rolling programme of electrification’. As a Liberal railway enthusiast this is great to see as we are clearly entering a new railway age. Having see the Tories being very sniffy about railways for decades and, with a few notable exceptions, seemingly being keen to run them down they are now ‘all aboard’ so to speak.

Sadly, despite this major investment programme we still go around in circles when it comes to the minor investment, in proportion, into much needed local railway schemes such as the reconnection of the Burscough Curves. However, the problem here always has been the fact that the benefits of reconnection are in Sefton/Merseyside but the curves are situated in West Lancashire. Having tried and sadly failed to bring campaigners together myself and seen both the Southport and West Lancs MP’s doing a similar thing we can only redouble our efforts and get behind that great railway group OPSTA (see them in my list of links) to have yet another push. One day the penny will drop about the benefits of this simple project to local rail travel.

Also, in the same edition of Modern Railways is what is termed a ‘Magical history tour: a trip around Liverpool’. The author Ian Walmsley has put together a fascinating article about Merseyside’s local rail network but I was drawn to a reference he made to the disastrous Merseytram project. Ian says that any great city needs an underground network and of course Liverpool has a small underground railway system. However, he goes on to comment on why this was not chosen to be further developed and enhanced instead of the attempt to build a totally separate tram system. I could not agree with Ian more, it really was a lost opportunity to build a better railway because to some it seemed that the in thing was to bring back trams.

I have commented before on the tram tragedy as I saw it from the inside of the Liverpool City Region Cabinet but the simple yet obvious question that Ian Walmsley has raised is still the big issue – why on earth did Merseytravel not look to develop what it already had? Answers on a post card……

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