More passengers die on the roads in six hours than have died on Britain’s railways in the last six years

I was taken with this media release which I recently picked up on and it took me back to one episode of the first series of that BBC programme called Great Railway Journeys of the World. The episode was called Coast to Coast and it followed Ludovic Kennedy as he crossed America by train in around 1980. It was probably the best programme from the original series and at one point Kennedy is talking to an aged railway man from America who gave a similar statistic to the one in this media release from Railfuture. Or the other way of saying it is ‘don’t get on the safe old train get in a car and kill yourself’!

Rail campaigners are praising an astonishing run of safety on Britain’s railways. Saturday the 23rd February will mark the sixth year in a row without a single passenger fatality in the UK.

“We congratulate the railway industry and its staff for continuing to run a safe railway for passengers” said Bruce Williamson of the group Railfuture. “There have only been two fatal accidents in the last ten years, the Grayrigg derailment in 2007 in which one person died, and at Ufton Nervet in 2004. That one was caused by a suicidal motorist who parked his car on a level crossing waiting for a train to kill him – hardly the railway’s fault. In other words, in ten years the rail industry has been responsible for just one passenger fatality – an astonishing and unprecedented run of safety. Of course, one death is one too many, and there is no room for complacency, but it does illustrate how spectacularly safe rail travel is”.

“This is in contrast to the roads where more passengers die on the roads in six hours than have died on Britain’s railways in the last six years.”

“There has not been a single fatal accident caused by a train driver since Ladbroke Grove in 1999 – because of better training, tougher recruitment standards for drivers and a new track safety system installed nationwide after Ladbroke Grove.”

Notes to editors

Railfuture is the UK’s leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture’s website can be found at: http://www.railfuture.org.uk

Maghull North Railway Station – it still has to be fought for!

The other day I was talking to a chap who had lived in Maghull most of his long life and he related to me how for many years there had been talk of a second new railway station for Maghull. His message was keep fighting for it lad (I am 52) you will win one day!

Keep fighting for it I will, but in the timescale that this chap had been talking to me about we have actually lost 3 railway stations locally in the East Parishes of the Borough! They are Sefton & Maghull, Lydiate and Aintree Central – all part of the long lost Cheshire Lines Extension Railway from Aintree to Southport. I have found some photos of the stations on the Internet as below. Lydiate is first (the site is now part of the Cheshire Lines Path with virtually no sign of the old station), Aintree Central second (Deltic Way now stands on the site) and lastly Sefton & Maghull (now under Sefton Lane Industrial Estate, although the mound in Sefton Lane was originally a bridge over the railway next to the station).

I came to live in Maghull in 1968 and when I was at Ormonde Drive Secondary Modern School my favorite teacher, Jack Petty, told me how he had used the railway in its last years and how at times he had been the only passenger! He also said that at Sefton and Maghull Station they would have a cup of tea waiting for him in the morning when he came in on a train from Southport. The line closed in 1952.