Northern Rail’s meltdown and its impact on Merseyside and beyond

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/mersey-commuters-demand-more-government-14813870

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its web site – see link above

Yes we all know how badly the Northern Rail meltdown has affected negatively the lives of train users across the north of England but it’s worth saying yet again that the troubles actually predate the now infamous May timetable changes. Users of the Ormskirk – Preston route were seeing far too many cancellations before May and Southport – Manchester travellers were suffering often overcrowded and unreliable trains. May’s timetable changes just made it all much worse.

Southport – Manchester trains now virtually all go into at Manchester Victoria Station whereas before they were split between Victoria and Piccadilly. The loss of trains into Piccadilly is a huge issue to those using this line who work in the business area around Piccadilly.

Labour MP Lisa Nandy made a big fuss in House of Commons the other day as her frustration boiled over at the utter mess of train services on her local line – The Southport to Manchester Line. Lib Dem MP Tim Farron has launched a petition to try to get Northern sacked as the train operating company on his Lakes Line from Oxenholme to Windermere, indeed working with local residents he has brought in a heritage railway company to run the trains that Northern can’t/won’t run.

Merseyrail – More about the new trains

A new Stadler Merseyrail train artist impression

www.railwaygazette.com/news/traction-rolling-stock/single-view/view/battery-trial-planned-for-new-emu-fleet.html

The Railway Gazette has the details on is web site – see link above

An article for those of you more interested in the technical aspects of the new and soon to be delivered rolling stock for the Merseyrail network.

With thanks to Colin for the lead to this posting

Northern Fail – Could they less guilty than we thought?

www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/18/northern-trains-operator-asked-for-timetable-changes-to-be-delayed?CMP=share_btn_link

The Guardian has the report on its web site – see link above

So according to this report Northern say they tried to get the latest timetable changes put back but were refused by Network Rail and others in rail industry. If true this shines a clear light on what was going on prior to the meltdown when the timetable changes were brought in in May. Makes you wonder about the decision making process in the rail industry if they can seemingly forge ahead with something they collectively have been told won’t work!

With thanks to Bob for the lead to this posting.

Maghull – New Station Opening Day Photos

Having campaigned for Maghull’s 2nd railway station to be built over many years and being a railway enthusiast I had to be there to see and indeed ride the first train out of the station today. It was the 05.58 from Maghull North (ex Ormskirk) to Liverpool.

Together with a few hardy folk (it was a cold and windy morning) we joined the train and here are some shots of events:-

05.58am 1st train into the new station for Liverpool

The Merseyrail welcome tent giving out cup cakes. The chap on the right in orange is one of the engineers who built the station.

Ticket to ride the first train

View of a later Liverpool bound train

Radio Merseyside were there and they interviewed some travellers and even me. I also rode the first train back into the station travelling to Ormskirk.

By the time I left the station around 7.30am the car park was filling up and large numbers of travellers were turning up. One lady asked me in worrying tones whether trains really were running from the station as I was getting back into my car. I was able to assure her they were and thought to myself good job the line is not being run by Northern!

So Maghull now has its 2nd station and a pleasant opening day it was too. Great to chat with Stephen an engineer who has worked on the project for contractors Buckingham. Let’s hope the station settles in to being a great success on the Merseyrail system.

Maghull – It’s 2nd railway station opens tomorrow 66 years after it lost its original 2nd station

Maghull lost its original 2nd railway station when it closed on 7th January 1952. That station (Sefton and Maghull) was on Sefton Lane and was a part of the former Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway.

I’m told by an old Maghullian in the know that the first talk of a 2nd station for Maghull, on the Liverpool – Ormskirk line, was just after World War 2, so its taken a while you might say to get it built.

The serious talk has been going on for I suppose over the last 25 years and it took some time to secure the station site. My good friend and former Sefton councillor for Maghull, Roy Connell, had a hand in that effort and the battle was won some 10 or more years ago when the rest of what was then called the Ashworth South Site* was down to have a prison built on it. That prison, which was never built of course**, is not to be confused with the temporary prison (HMP Kennet) which did operate from the former Ashworth East site for just under 10 years until quite recently.

Maghull North Station site – 27th September 2017

Construction of the new station (somewhat unimaginatively called Maghull North***) started last September and when it became apparent that it was due to open alongside the May 2018 railway timetable changes some of those in the railway know scratched their heads and said ‘that’s not going to happen’ or words to that effect. And indeed it did not and the opening was put back a month until 18th June.

This photo shows, on the left hand side the shortish back gardens of the Mersey Avenue houses.

The building of the new station has not been without considerable upset though for the residents of Maghull’s Mersey Avenue, who will have the station at the bottom of their back gardens. Noise, overnight working and the height/scale/position of the lift towers became huge issues and it led to demands for compensation payments which remain unresolved I understand. So it’s worth those standing on the platform of the new station taking a few moments to think of the troubles of the Mersey Avenue residents.

Having fought for the station to be built for more years than I care to recall I’m obviously pleased that it’s finally arrived. Now we want Merseyrail’s Liverpool – Ormskirk Line extended to its logical end of Preston. The present arrangement of a poor and unreliable service by Northern Trains onward from Ormskirk is a hang over from the decline of our railways in the 1960’s. I hope I’m still breathing when Northern are kicked off that line and we can all once again travel the length of the Preston to Liverpool railway.

Welcome Maghull North, your birth has been a long and tough one but you should be of benefit to many future generations.

* Former site of the world famous former Moss Side Hospital which pioneered the treatment of shell shock during and after World War 1.

** When the new prison was cancelled @2010 the site was designated for housing and presently the Poppy Fields and Pavilions housing estates are being built on the site.

*** Campaigners seeking to acknowledge the world groundbreaking medical history made at Moss Side Hospital wanted the new railway station to be called ‘Maghull Moss Side’ but the dead hand of railway administration was having none of it. They had made a decision and we were stuck with it so to speak just as they refused a quite sensible request to change the name of the old Maghull station (which was once called Maghull & Melling) to ‘Maghull Hornby’ in recognition of former Maghull resident and world famous toy maker Frank Hornby.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull North Station – So why’s this new station in a different zone to the present Maghull Station?

I was reminded today of an issue that first popped up on the Maghull Community Page of Facebook a few weeks ago by a lady who phoned me (my apologies to her as I can’t recall her name) to see if I could explain why it will be more expensive to travel from the new Maghull North Station to Liverpool than from the nearby Maghull Station.

A good example (from the Merseyrail web site) is that a Day Saver ticket from Maghull Station costs £3.90 yet less than a mile up the line to Ormskirk the same journey into Liverpool on the same type of ticket will cost £5.20. The reason? Traveling from Maghull North into Liverpool means you need an All Zones ticket but from Maghull you only need a Single Zone Day Saver. The obvious question being why have the Zones not been adjusted so that both the Maghull stations are in the same Zone like, for example, the Bootle Stations (Oriel Road and Strand) are?

The consequence is surely going to be that the new station will not be used as much as the old station or put it another way it’s like being charged for example for car parking at the brand new Maghull North Station because of the extra £1.30.

Would it not be a good idea for Merseyrail and Merseytravel to get their heads around this matter and put the new station in the same Zone as the old one, or am I missing something here?

Stop Press – It seems that the issue may well be one with the Merseyrail web site as that is where the discrepancy has been noticed. There’s a very useful comment from Craig on this posting which is informative. There’s nothing like the complexities of ticketing on UK railways to get anyone utterly confused!