Northern Assist – Your inability to run trains is just appalling

Sadly a subject I keep returning to as the troubles with the Northern Assist franchise seem to get deeper when you thought they had already reached rock bottom.

Below is a link to the Lancashire Evening Post date 6th December all about the rail chaos on the Ormskirk – Preston Line.

www.lep.co.uk/news/transport/rail-chaos-leaves-village-stranded-as-every-train-in-a-week-is-cancelled-1-9481152

The lady and quoted in the article was one of the contributors to the OPSTA public meeting I attended and reported on only a few days ago. here’s a link to that previous posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/11/23/northern-trains-could-the-ormskirk-preston-line-be-the-most-poorly-performing-in-the-uk/

A train from Preston pulling into Ormskirk Station.

Chris Jackson Regional Director of Northern is quoted saying this in the LEP article:-

“Cancelling an entire route – as we had to do with the Preston to Ormskirk Line – is not a decision we take lightly, but the unusual circumstances called for extreme measures. The trains which operate the Ormskirk line were those most affected by the autumn conditions, and the route itself was also problematic. When we were unable to operate trains we did provide a reliable rail replacement service which ensured our customers on the line were still able to get where they needed to be.”

His statement raises more questions, such as:-

* So why is the Ormskirk – Preston Line more affect by autumn leaves than any other line that Northen operate?
* Why is the Ormskirk – Preston line ‘problematic’?
* I hear that the rail replacement buses were not reliable and did not stop at each station on the line – Why?

Sorry Northern you are letting travellers down in a very big way and its been going on for far too long. Just sort it or hand the franchise back, enough is enough.

Maghull – Where will that footpath come out onto Park Lane?

The lack of a long-promised footpath/cycle path from Park Lane to the new Maghull North Station continues to frustrate those who could make good use of it. However, Sefton Council has told me that it will eventually be provided via the developer of the Poppy Fields Housing development – I’ve mentioned this previously on this blog site.

But the other day I was asked where the path will come out onto Park Lane? Well, it was originally constructed when the Ashworth South site was going to be a brand new prison (yes the majority of the path is there already) and if you look through a hole in the wooden fence next to the Park Lane railway overbridge you will see what the camera saw on 5th November – photo above.

As you can see the path was built with signage and a removable bollard to stop vehicles trying to access it.

How long we have to wait for the path to be completed and opened up is a second question to which I presently do not have an answer but I think we all hope it will be sooner rather than later.

Smart Meters – The saga continues – Could 4m have to be replaced?

I’m indebted to Roy Connell for bringing my attention to this article on the Mail Online* website – see link below

www.dailymail.co.uk/money/bills/article-6435495/Why-4-million-smart-meters-ripped-homes.html

I have covered this matter quite a number of times on this blog site as the rollout of smart meters has been little more than a farce from day one.

There’s nothing particularly new in the Mail story to those of us who have been tracking this saga but it does highlight the utter mess that has potentially been created by industry standard smart meters not being installed from the start of the programme. And that’s putting to one side whether they are needed at all I might add.

The way the energy market is set up we all need to be swapping our suppliers each year to ensure we are getting the best deal but with some smart (or is that unsmart) meters swapping suppliers may be far from simple.

Persoannly I’m sticking with the old meters for now until this crazy situation is fully resolved.

* I don’t recall ever linking one of my blog postings to the Mail before and I do so with more than a few reservations as a progressive politician of the left. Suffice to say I decided that the information in the article outweighed my many political concerns about this newspaper.

Arriva 300 Liverpool – Southport via Lydiate Route

An Arriva 300 bus at the Meadows bus stop, Maghull.

A recent conversation with a Maghull resident made me aware that there are concerns that weekday afternoon 300 Arriva buses are not necessarily reliable and it made me think. Think because I have previously heard concerns being raised about the unreliability of the 300 bus on weekday afternoons. Is this a common issue? I’d like to hear from any users of the route, so please get in touch.

Coincidentally, I’ve also picked up a copy of a recent report from Mike Perkins of OPSTA (Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers Association) on the sate of bus services in and around Southport and he also makes mention of the 300 route. This is what he says:-

Please click on the text above to enlarge it for reading

I understand that Mike was previously involved in managing some local bus services so he’ll know what he is talking about and I thought his comments on the 300 route were worth sharing.

Rimrose Valley Country Park – Are Sefton Tories backing Highways England plan for new road through it?

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

Defending Rimrose Valley Country Park from having a new road forced through it is a matter close to the hearts of many local people in Sefton Borough. To me, it’s always been an obvious and firm no on environmental grounds.

And then Keith Page brought my attention (see link below) to this article on the Liverpool Echo website:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/tory-councillor-wants-new-road-15499566

Rimrose in the foreground and its threat in the background

Does this mean that the official policy of Sefton Tories is to back the new road or are the comments of the Formby Conservative Councillor just his own views?

But what about the reason given for wanting the new road! Really, keeping our local country park free from vehicles is a far, far higher priority. Time for Sefton Tories to clarify their stance on this new road project – Are they backing it?