Southport – Wigan – Manchester trains – 5 days with no trains running due to bridge replacement

Passengers are being warned about a five-day closure of the railway in November to renew a bridge over the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

The bridge in Burscough will be completely replaced as part of the Great North Rail Project. In order to carry out the major work no trains will run between Southport or Parbold stations from Saturday 16 until Wednesday 20 November.

To allow engineers to carry out the work, there will also be a seven day closure of the canal tow path beneath the bridge from Friday 15 November.

During the closure, work will also be undertaken to upgrade over 400m of track drainage at Hoscar Lane station, as well as replacing sleepers and sections of rail in the Southport station area.

Passengers are being advised that bus replacement services will operate during the closure.

To inform passengers about changes to train services, posters will be displayed at all affected stations. Information hand out’s to passengers travelling during the morning peak (week commencing 14 October) will also take place I understand.

Passengers are being advised to allow extra time for their journeys and to check before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk

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

Remembering Doreen Service

Doreen Service lived on Foxhouse Lane in Maghull, opposite the former Red House pub (now The Fox), for many a year before retiring to Rock Lane in Melling opposite the Bootle Arms pub. Her husband Ian died quite some years ago when they lived in Maghull and Doreen herself passed away very recently at the grand old age of 91. Doreen had been a teacher and a local magistrate.

I relate this information not just because some Maghull and Melling residents will have known Doreen and will be sad to hear that she has passed on but because she was a significant part of one of the biggest political events of the 1980’s – The famous 1981 Crosby By-election (see link below) won by the SDP’s Shirley Williams, now Baroness Williams of Crosby.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_Crosby_by-election

Doreen and Ian’s Foxhouse Lane home became akin to a parliamentary by-election HQ full of photocopiers, state of the art computers and dot matrix printers – it was the very early days of IT becoming big in UK politics. As a fresh faced young Liberal helping in that 1981 campaign I recall going to their house to find it full of people, boxes of leaflets to be delivered and with well known political faces of the day popping in and out for tea, sandwiches etc.

Not many people would allow their homes to be taken over in that way but Doreen and Ian were very much into helping Shirley Williams win in any way they could. And even after Shirley’s victory they backed her up whenever she needed help often putting people up (including Shirley) at a moments notice.

I really got to know Doreen well after these momentous times, following Ian’s death and her move to Melling. I would call to see her now and again to talk about the old days and indeed more modern political problems as Doreen never lost her reforming zeal. Sadly, her physical health was poor and she could no longer get around much at all, Finally she had to go into a nursing home where she died a few days ago. Her funeral was yesterday.

Thanks to Andrew Blackburn I managed to track down the photo of Doreen above which was taken in May 1992. She was a strong person who had strong views and she did not have much time for fools. We got along well and I will certainly remember her. On the face of it just another elderly lady living out her retirement under the radar yet she was of huge local political influence in the early 1980’s. RIP Doreen

Maghull – North Station Foot/Cycle path to Park Ln – Nearly but not quite yet

Following a tip off from a local resident to the effect that contractors working on the Poppy Fields housing estate were in the process of opening up the long- awaited foot/cycle path through to Maghull North Station from Park Lane I went to have a look.

This how things were panning out this morning around 8.30am:-

But the path does not yet connect to the Station as it’s still fenced off near to the Station car Park:-

By the way at 8.30am today there were no spaces available in the Station car park as far as I could tell.

The path was actually laid out when the Ashworth South Site was down to be a new prison but it has remained out of use throughout it’s significant lifetime – some 10 years or more I think.

Well it looks like it may be fully opened up in the not too distant future when landscaping around it has been installed. A long wait indeed but a useful access path for pedestrians and cyclists will soon be with us, I hope.

With thanks to Frank Sharpe for the lead to this posting.

Notes:- (1) There is a dropped kerb at the Park Lane end of the path so it’s easy access for cyclists unlike the supposed level access off School Lane where there’s still no dropped kerb for cyclists into the station.

(2) Fencing issues off School Lane are yet to be resolved – seems there a lack of money.

River Alt – Everything drains into around these parts

Following all the heavy rain of recent days it’s sadly no surprise that the River Alt is struggling to to deal with all the water flowing into it from the land and other drainage brooks, streams and ditches. In turn this means flood alerts for parts of Maghull as the river water rises.

The first shot below was taken yesterday from the aqueduct which takes the Leeds Liverpool Canal over the Alt near to Aintree Village:-

Just back towards Melling there’s a runoff for the canal to keep it’s levels down and I could see it was in use. I’m guessing that this runoff also goes, eventually, into the River Alt.

The second shot below was also taken yesterday where the A59 (Northway) crosses the Alt in Maghull:-

Then we move on to today and the consequential flooding of Sefton Lane/Bridges Lane on the Maghull/Sefton Village boundary. Here the Alt flows under Bridges Lane and this is how it looks:-

At face value the river looks to be coping until you move a little further east along Bridge Lane to where Dovers Brook is crossed by Bridges Ln/Sefton Ln. It looks like this:-

The first shot is looking north with the adjacent houses on Sefton Lane* clearly visible. The second shot looks like the Dovers Brook has been halted by a stone wall but in fact it’s the bridge under Sefton Ln where the arch of it has been covered by the floodwaters. The houses here are being affected as is sadly often the case when Dovers Brook backs up.

My understanding is that the Alt being so high stops Dovers Brook from emptying into it, hence the backing up. Although there’s nothing new about this problem (I recall Sefton Ln flooding here when I was a lad living on the Lane in the 1960’s /1970’s) it’s all the more frustrating that after many years the problem has not been resolved. You have to feel for the residents of this isolated row of houses and elsewhere along Dovers Brook when it over-tops.

With more rain anticipated tomorrow, well I don’t need to say any more do I………

*Sefton Ln/Bridges Ln has already been closed during the present foul weather although it was passable this afternoon. However, this is what it looked like in December 2015 when the section of road between Dovers Brook and the River Alt was a river in itself:-

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

Southport Corporation Transport – A surprising find in Manchester’s Heaton Park

I’ve blogged about Southport’s long gone tramways previously. Here are a few links back to my previous postings about them and Southport Corporation Transport:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/01/12/southports-tramways/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/07/27/southport-its-former-horse-trams/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/06/03/southport-looking-back-to-1967-and-the-county-boroughs-centenary-celebrations/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/07/13/birkdale-its-tramway-into-southport-an-historic-photo/

The reason I return to this subject now is that I’ve recently visited the volunteer preserved tramway in Manchester’s Heaton Park. This lovely little tramway is well worth a visit (check when it’s open before travelling) but sadly soon after we visited they had some overhead cantenary cable stolen which curtailed their ability to run their heritage trams. The good news is that Manchester Metrolink has stepped in to get them up and running again.

A preserved Blackpool tram at Heaton Park Tramway, Manchester.

However, I digress. If you take a close look at the photo at the head of this posting or this one

you will realise the buttons are from Southport Corporation Transport. They were on the uniform of the ticket inspector on one of the Heaton Park Heritage trams. Small world indeed.

The Blackpool tram shot is also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Port of Liverpool – Expansion continues & will become 2 carts (or many HGV’s) before the horse?

Rimrose Valley Country Park.

I picked up the link below via a Liverpool City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) newsletter:-

www.peelports.com/news/2019/contract-awarded-for-phase-2-of-liverpool2-container-terminal-expansion

That the continued expansion of Liverpool 2 develops is of course no surprise at all. That the on-line article makes no mention what so ever of access to the Port does surprise me.

It’s not as if the access issues have been uncontroversial; they’ve been hugely controversial and still are and Highways England has not even taken it’s first bulldozer into Rimrose Valley Country Park yet.

I’ve always looked upon the expansion of the Port of Liverpool as being a cart before horse kind of project or willing the end result without the (acceptable) transport means to deliver it. And by ‘acceptable’ I mean that pushing a new road through Rimrose Valley Country Park to deliver the transport means is quite obviously unacceptable to many folk living in the southern part of Sefton Borough.

There’s got to something very wrong in our strategic planning process in England for us to have ended up where we are with this project.