Merseyrail – How to couple two 507/508 Units – A question I’m always being asked:-)

A Merseyrail train passes the former Maghull Signal Box @1990. The last track plan from the box is now on display as part of the Frank Hornby Trust’s exhibition area within Meadows Leisure Center – Copyright Noted HSG

For all of you out there who have pondered on how to join/couple two Class 507/508 Merseyrail EMU’s here’s an instructional video which will answer your queries:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOY3lFO8XMg

A Merseyrail train at Bootle Oriel Road Station

Of course you will, having digested this useful information, have to start to ponder all over again soon as Merseyrail is updating its fleet to Stadler 777 EMU’s in the near future.

Carlos Santana & Gato Barbieri play Europa

Aged 20 I went on holiday to the south of France with 4 friends and the wonderful Carlos Santana tune Europa was being played on jukeboxes everywhere we went – It was from the album Amigos the seventh studio album by Santana released in 1976. Indeed, we played it so often in the bar we frequented during that holiday that we were asked to play some other tracks.

Some years later I came across the Argentinian jazz saxophone player Gato Barbieri via his 1976 album Caliente and was immediately taken with his rendition of Europa so imagine how great it was to find them playing this fine tune together! Here’s a couple of links to YouTube so you can delight in it too:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-txBekIo-5o

www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4Mrp6wuSwk

Now what about the origins of Europa? It seems they are unclear or even possibly disputed as this link to Wikipedia notes:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europa_(Earth%27s_Cry_Heaven%27s_Smile)

I would add that Barbieri’s Caliente album is superb all the way through, one of those rare albums that does not have a duff track on it at all. There’s a great rendition of Marvin Gaye’s ‘I want you’ on it. The only other album that comes to mind which is superb all the way through is Isaac Hayes’ To Be Continued.

Oh and one final thought on Europa – It would be a great tune for the Snake Davis Band to play.

Liverpool to Hull by train – Why Northern Poorhouse Rail is not delivering

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/what-trying-hull-back-train-16692052

I still look upon the Northern Powerhouse as a Northern Poorhouse as it seems to be a southern view of what we northerners need or a southern promise which never seems to be properly funded.

The idea of connecting cities from Liverpool to Hull by high speed rail is spot on but it is too oft talked about rather than actually being delivered within a reasonable timescale. The Liverpool Echo article clearly demonstrates the present problems but what we need ‘up north’ is UK Government investment delivered by a decentralised accountable body and we need to get on with it NOW.

Oh and no Burham Bandwagoning over it too please.

Southport and Sainsburys – A saga from which Southport’s Lord Street shopping center can only lose from surely?

Southport’s famous Lord Street shops

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/taking-long-new-sainsburys-store-16665281

Looking up – Some of Lord Street’s frontages are quite beautiful but empty shop units are a worry.

Kirkby – ‘Made on Merseyside’ Exhibition

I’m always happy to promote local history events and this looks to be one to check out between the 23rd September and 16th November:-

Poster for Made on Merseyside Exhibition at Kirkby Gallery

Click on the poster to be able to read the text on it.

And here’s a map showing how to access Kirkby Gallery:-

The Frank Hornby Heritage Center, based in Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Center, is pleased to be lending some items to Kirkby Gallery as one part of this exhibition will cover the Binns Road Meccano Factory in Liverpool and its products.

Access to the Port of Liverpool – 15 years on from Strategic Access Study – Time to reassess due to Climate Crisis

I was recently asked to assist a campaigner who is a part of the fight against Highways England’s plan to build a new road right through Rimrose Valley Country Park. The ask was for me to help with obtaining a copy of a 2004 report on the options for transport access to the Port of Liverpool.

Rimrose Valley Country Park on a lovely Sunday morning. A Lone cyclist can be seen in the distance.

Firstly, I had to obtain a copy of the report and with a little help that was achieved.

The report is titled ‘PORT OF LIVERPOOL STRATEGIC TRANSPORT ACCESS STUDY Phase 3 Final Report’. It looked at 3 options for providing improved access to the Port of Liverpool and it comes down on the side of putting a new road through the Rimrose Valley. This is of course the option now being pursued by Highways England and which is causing so much controversy and objections.

I think it fair to say that I’m a big supporter of Rimrose Valley Country Park and love cycling through it, so it could be said that my opinions are somewhat biased in favour of the campaign group Rimrose Valley Friends who are leading the fight against the new road. In other words I’m not claiming that this piece is of an independent nature.

The report summarises the work undertaken by a team of consultants, lead by FaberMaunsell, for the study’s steering group comprising: • Sefton Borough Council; • Liverpool City Council; • Highways Agency (now Highways England); • Strategic Rail Authority; • Merseytravel; and • Atlantic Gateway.

Three strategies emerged from this work:

• Strategy 1 (Modal Transfer, Mitigation And Management) – to maximise the benefits and improvements where major highway investment is considered either unacceptable or undeliverable. This strategy combines rail and public passenger transport initiatives with traffic management, environmental mitigation and policy and enforcement but no significant investment in highway infrastructure which would generate additional capacity.

• Strategy 2 (Highway – A5036(T) On Line Improvements) – taking the best elements of Strategy 1 and combining them with link and junction improvements principally on the A5036 (T) to improve capacity within the corridor and therefore reduce delay and congestion.

• Strategy 3 (Major Highway – Rimrose Valley) – taking the best elements of Strategy 1 and combining them with the construction of a new road through the Rimrose Valley from Switch Island to the Princess Way/Bridge Road roundabout to relieve the existing key routes of a significant proportion of the port-bound traffic.

Clearly, there’s a danger of reading a 15 year old report and thinking that all it looked at then (agree with its conclusions or not) is just as relevant now. The big issue is of course the climate change/crisis we are facing and the need to restrict/cease use of petrol and diesel engined vehicles. This is now a matter of public policy, as opposed it being an issue within scientific and environmental community as it was back in the early 2000’s. For me this very real green issue is, without considering any other matter, a clear reason to re-examine what the options should be to improve access to the Port of Liverpool. And of course the recent delay in constructing the new road, caused by the legal action taken to stop it, has created a time frame which could be used to conduct a reassessment, so there really is no excuse for pursuing a project that in effect predates our climate crisis.

All walking and cycling destinations from the main cycle path in the Country Park.

I don’t think I learned a great deal more than I knew already from re-reading the report (with 15 years between reads) but all the same it was useful to reacquaint myself with the detail. I hope the report is of use to the Rimrose Valley Friends in their campaign work.

I had another lovely cycle ride through Rimrose Valley on the 4th August.