Merseyrail – No feet on the seats but it’s OK for penguins and chimps!

Any passenger on Liverpool’s Merseyrail trains can’t have failed to have noticed that the train company rightly takes a very dim view of people putting their feet on the seats, indeed there are stickers like this in every carriage:-

No feet on the seats r

But hang on a minute on Moorfields underground station there is this poster:-

Feet on the seats r

Does this not clearly indicate that if you are a chimp or a penguin that feet on the seats is actually OK?!

Lydiate – Damaged canal banking – An update

IMG_4848r

My previous post of a few days ago refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/06/14/lydiate-canal-bank-issues-at-lydiate-hill-bridge/

And this is what the Canal and River Trust had to say about it on 16th June.

‘the canal banking has partially fallen away at this location. For safety reasons, we have closed access to the towpath so that we can make the area safe. Our teams will be taking steps to secure the site in the next few weeks so that the towpath can re-open. This will be a short term measure. Long term repairs will require more resource and we currently do not have this available.’

The odd part about this response is that the tow path was actually open when Sheila and I walked it last on Saturday 13th June.

Maghull – Shopping Centre does have new owners!

Maghull Square

My posting of 15th April 2015 refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/04/15/maghull-what-news-of-the-long-promised-and-talked-about-town-centre-redevelopment/

Well it must have been about 2 months ago that I was first asked, by a Champion newspaper reporter, whether I could corroborate rumours that were doing the rounds about the Maghull Group company selling Maghull Square Shopping Centre to another owner.

I could not confirm one way or the other but I did ask a man who should have known. The answer I got was no it had not been sold, but it certainly has now.

My information is that London and Cambridge Properties has bought Maghull Square and this now means that they own the whole of Maghull’s shopping centre. They have owned the half of it south of Westway for a long time, now they have it all.

What will this mean? Investment? New retailers? A refresh for this desperately tired looking 1960’s concrete shopping centre? All of these I hope. And what of Maghull in Bloom’s excellent work to brighten up the shopping centre in recent years. How will that be affected? We must hope for a good relationship with the new owners to take Maghull forward.

My response to Labour’s Neighbourhood Plan for Lydiate

Looking at Green Belt & high grade agricultural land off Lambshear Lane in Lydiate which Labour-run Sefton Council is saying will be reserved as future building land.

Looking at Green Belt & high grade agricultural land off Lambshear Lane in Lydiate which Labour-run Sefton Council is saying will be reserved as future building land.

Why do Labour want to do a Neighbourhood Plan for Lydiate? – this is my take on their plan proposals.

Labour could not have less credibility when it comes to local planning as they have been the cheerleaders for developers who want to concrete over hundreds or acres of high grade agricultural land around Lydiate and Maghull and indeed across Sefton Borough.

We Lib Dems fought with residents to oppose the Labour Party but they forced through their massive building plans for Lydiate and Maghull. To have the cheek to now say they want a Neighbourhood Plan to try to manage the building that they voted for is laughable. If Labour had backed residents and the environment instead of getting in bed with property developers their massive building plans would not need to be managed at all!

The land that surrounds Lydiate is all of the highest grade of agricultural land and we grow our food upon it; building on it is unsustainable environmentally. Labour are blaming the last Government for what they voted for locally instead of facing up to the consequences of their own actions.

This was drafted in response to a request from the Aintree & Maghull Champion newspaper for me comment but they chose not to use it in the paper.

Merseyrail – What will the new trains look like and when will they appear?

Well this one has done the rounds more times than any of us care to remember and I have posted about the saga previously on this blog site.

Could the new trains look like this?

Could the new trains look like this?

So where are we up to? Well a presentation to members of Merseytravel on 4th June 2015 said this. I have added some explanations of weird rail industry terminology in [ ]:-

Current Situation
• Merseyrail Electrics is one of the best performing TOCs [Train Operating Companies] in the UK [makes you wonder about the others as I know locals who think Merseyrail is a poor performer], nonetheless the system does operate within a number of constraints
• The current fleet consists of 59×3 car units leased by Merseytravel from Angel Trains then sub-leased to Merseyrail (contract extendable to December 2019)
• By this time the vehicles will be over 40 years old
• Fleet reliability has improved recently, but remains modest (~11,000 MTIN) [Miles per Technical Incident Number – the frequency of breakdowns]
• The availability requirement (85%) is very undemanding and masks the poor reliability
• The trains make poor use of the interior space and while comfortable for suburban rolling stock have a relatively low passenger carrying capacity (303 passengers with 192 seats)
• A small scale refresh programme is underway which will allow the fleet to continue operating until the end of the decade but will not address capacity constraints
• The traction power infrastructure is under pressure, which limits performance and expansion
• The depot facilities have seen little investment and are inefficiently laid out
• The LTRS [Long Term Rail Strategy – This is a recent document produced by Merseytravel and on which I have commented on before] anticipates continued growth in patronage, regardless of any investment
• If no additional capacity is provided there will be over-crowding, leading to growth being stifled within the current concession period 2

A couple of additional interesting facts
• Extending the current fleet’s life beyond the 2030s is not considered viable.
• Merseytravel has considered a wide range of commercial strategies and has concluded that the bundling of the rolling stock, depot re-construction and maintenance into a single set of contracts with one supplier optimises risk transfer and value for money

It seems that a meeting of the Merseyside Combined Authority [City Region Cabinet] on 21st August will be the next significant date in this saga.

Or could they look like this?

Or could they look like this?

Whatever happens it seems that the decision making process can’t be put off for much longer.