Maghull – New cycle track from Switch Island towards Maghull on A59

I have commented before about the narrow and completely inadequate cycle/footpath out of Maghull towards Switch Island and it seems someone has been listening as construction work on a much wider path has been taking place in recent weeks from Switch Island up to the pedestrian/cycle crossing just before the Maghull boundary.

I do hope that the highway powers that be Highways England and Sefton Council are going to keep the new path construction going to the junction with Liverpool Road South as there’s no point in stopping at the cycle/pedestrian crossing. This is view from the crossing towards the Liverpool Road South junction – still a very narrow path at present but I will have more news soon on it:-

Of course what Maghull and Lydiate really needs alongside the A59 Northway is a safe cycle route from Switch Island through to Robins Island and Lydiate Parish Council has acknowledge this need in its draft Neighbourhood Plan.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Clieves Hill – Beautiful views and huge potholes

Clieves Hill in Aughton provides wonderful views over West Lancashire and Sefton to the coast, views like this:-

But beware if you try to park your car in the viewing lay-by as there are some monster sized potholes in it:-

Note:- Lay-by potholes reported to Lancashire County Council 21 04 18

Click on the photos to enlarge them

The lead photo is also amongst my Flickr shots at:-

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

Lydiate – Sefton Council introduces new traffic calming measures using hedges! :-)

This looks like an April 1st posting but its not. The photo below is real and was taken on Lydiate’s Bells Lane on 4th April:-

It looks like an innovative new method by Sefton Council to calm traffic speeds at first glance using hedging! In fact the sign has been spun around 90 degrees by the recent high winds making it side on to the road.

Sefton Council were informed and it is now pointing the right way.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

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

Southport – Loss of trains to Manchester Airport and Piccadilly, seems Merseytravel has form here!

I have always been annoyed by the fact that Merseytravel, the publicly funded passenger transport committee for Merseyside, shows such little interest in the railway line from Southport to the east of the Town.

Northern Rail train standing in Southport Station.

In fact this line is of some considerable importance despite it being run as little more than a secondary line for the past 40 years or so. One of the reasons that Southport developed in the railway age was that Manchester businessmen set up home in the Town because of its excellent railway service. There’s can be little doubt that the fortunes of Southport are still bound up to some degree in the quality of service on the Southport – Wigan – Manchester line so for Merseytravel to be less than interested in it when Southport council tax payers are helping to fund passenger transport costs via their contributions is appalling to my mind.

I helped expose Merseytravel’s could hardly care less attitude to this line during my time as a Sefton councillor when it became clear that it did not even get a mention in the original Long Term Rail Strategy for Merseyside. To some extent that battle was won but with the second iteration of that plan, published last October, the lack of targets for the line raised fears once more that the now grandly named Liverpool City Region was once more little interested in the line or indeed Southport. Indeed, my fears about City Regions sucking power towards the main city to the detriment of the surrounding towns and communities is sadly coming true and I’m not the only one to think that.

But what started this latest rant off about the Southport – Wigan – Manchester Line? Well it came from my picking up a copy of the book ‘Merseyrail Electrics – The Inside Story’ by T B Maund published in October 2001. It’s book I have had a copy of for many a year but I happened upon this:-

‘To secure other reductions in expenditure on railway services, the PTE [Passenger Transport Executive] decided to give the statutory twelve months’ notice to withdraw support from some services. Notice had already been given in respect of the Southport – Manchester services……’

This decision seems to have been taken in 1977/78 and if nothing else it clearly shows that in times when money was tight the PTE were quite willing to withdraw support for the line back then. Some 40 years on it seems that lack of commitment to the needs of commuters in the north of Sefton Borough is sadly just as steadfast.

Note:- Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive (PTE) and Passenger Transport Authority (PTA) are what we now know as Merseytravel.

Port of Liverpool Access – Rimrose Valley Friends meet Peel Ports

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/news/whose-road-is-it-anyway-our-meeting-with-peel-ports/

There is an interesting report of the meeting on Rimrose Valley Friends web site – see link above

Having covered this issue numerous times on this blog site I have to say that in my humble opinion this matter started to go wrong many, many years ago when it was first mooted that the Peel were thinking of expanding at Seaforth.

What should have happened back then was a detailed access study (involving residents from the potentially affected communities) to look at all the implications – positive and negative – of such an expansion. I also think that study should have been commissioned by Sefton Council, working with what was then the Highways Agency and Network Rail or its forerunner Railtrack. But such a move was not made – Why?

The issue came up during my time as a Sefton Councillor but my very clear recollection is of being told that Bootle’s councillors were not keen on leading the issue. If I understood what I was told correctly they seemed to look upon the Port as a troublesome neighbour. My take on this is that without the Council taking the lead the the Highways Agency and Network Rail were never going to look at holistic transport/access solutions on their own and they didn’t.

The matter was not helped by the planning application for the works to the Port being dealt with by Government rather than the local authority as it kept the issue under local radars. Yes I know that Sefton Planning Dept. will have had a hand in the planning process to some extent and that they will have reported to appropriate councillors but at the end of the day if the application had been dealt with locally the implications of access to the port would have been dragged to the surface much sooner.

However we got here the cart (building the enlarged Part) got before the horse (access to the enlarged Port) and if that does not show how poor and muddled headed UK Planning processes are I don’t know what does. Sadly, however, we are where we are and the ‘solution’ put before us is driving a new road through a Country Park! You really could not make this up, could you?

Northern Train Fares – Going down the route of private car park enforcement?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/waiting-buy-ticket-northern-rail-14498902

This move made me wonder whether this new penalty scheme will in fact catch out the honest traveller as well as the deliberate fare evader?

What do you do if you are at an unstaffed station with only a ticket purchasing machine but the person ahead of you has never seen one before and is puzzling about how to work it and get the best value ticket for their journey. Oh and the train is coming too so you are not going to be able to get a ticket yourself. Do you take a chance that the guard/ticket inspector will believe you or do say oh well I’ll have to await the next train which maybe an hour later?

See what I mean? This new process could start to look like what happens where private parking companies are running supermarket or shopping centre car parks, in other words a money making process not really a parking enforcement one where you the driver are effectively guilty until proven innocent.

This worries me as I fear for train users who innocently find themselves having to justify what the ticket inspector is maybe trained to reject as the train operating company sees an opportunity to make a few bob at the same time as dealing with real ticket evaders.

With thanks to Bob for his assistance with this posting.