Town Green – That long empty shop unit I thought could be a perfect Costa

A while back I speculated on the future of the former Spar shop on Town Green Lane – here’s my posting from Sept 2018:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/09/14/aughton-empty-shop-unit-at-town-green-surely-a-coffee-shop-opportunity/

Well things move on and there’s what seems to be a controversial application before West Lancs Council for it to be a bar selling food – here’s a link to the item on West Lancs Council’s planning website:-

pa.westlancs.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=PXB8ATRHHYA00&activeTab=summary

There’s an alcohol license application too, I’ve noted.

I take an interest in this spot because it’s a regular stopping point for me on cycle rides to get a coffee and a bite to eat. But what I’ve noticed is that some pretty bad vehicle driving takes place here because Town Green Lane is in effect a single track road past the shops as one side is for parking vehicles to access the retail premises.

I’ve often thought that, apart from ridiculous parking stunts blocking the pavement on the Co-Op side (the Co-Op does have a large car park I might add), the main issue is vehicles approaching the area far to fast. A couple of significant speed humps would tackle this in my humble opinion.

There’ll be standing room only in the Valleys

I’ve just spent a week in the Brecon Beacons and took the opportunity to try a Transport for Wales train from Ebbw Vale to Cardiff.

Ebbw Vale Town Station (the end of the line) is very basic and very exposed; a ticket machine, a one train per hour frequency and a small shelter is about it – a far cry from say Merseyrail with it’s 15 minute frequency and staffed stations with ticket offices/toilets. The ticket machine, whilst working, needed quite a hard pounding on its keyboard for it to take any notice of what you were trying to tell it. At busy times you get the impression that folk would not bother queuing up to use it as it takes too long and you could easily miss your train as a consequence because the turnaround time of incoming trains to outgoing is very short indeed. I noticed quite a few fellow passengers buying their tickets from the guard and having used the ticket machine I know why.

The outbound train was a 2 car Class 150 (see photo above at Ebbw Vale Town Station) and I’d say that it was 2/3rds full throughout the journey which started at 11.37. Of course, this made me wonder what rush hour services would be like (having heard they were normally overcrowded) but more on that aspect later on in this posting.

The ride was very smooth on the 150 but it was regularly hitting overgrown branches which were clearly in need of being cut back. The stations called at along the line seemed to be as basic as Ebbw Vale.

The journey each way takes almost exactly an hour and a day return, which can be used on any train, is presently (Oct 2019) £8.40.

The return journey was at 16.34 from Cardiff Central and within 5 mins of the set time of departure it was standing room only on the elderly 2 car Class 142 ‘Nodding Donkey’ which had an onboard toilet (I’m guessing that the 150 must have had one too but did not notice). People remained standing until the station call about 30 mins into the ride up the valley. Like the 150 the 142 was regularly hitting over hanging branches. The ride back was not bad for a 142 (seen below at the exposed Ebbw Vale Town Station) but obviously not as smooth as the 150 and there was quite a bit of wheel screeching from the 142.

I noticed that the station platforms along the branch seemed capable of taking 4 car trains but whether 4 cars are ever provided I could not tell. My guess is that when 4 cars are finally a reality they will fill to capacity very soon and 6 car trains probably need to be the Transport for Wales aim.

Oh and one final thing, which fits with a recent posting of mine about Merseyrail’s Maghull and Maghull North Stations. The car parking provision at Ebbw Vale Town Station whilst being reasonably significant across 2 car parks was unsurprisingly not enough and I had to park some distance away from the Station.

Both trains were clean and punctual. Marks out of 10 for Transport for Wales – 7.

A photo from my train ride can also be seen on my Flickr page at:- www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Northern on the rocks and not before time in my view

‘The government is considering whether the management of the North of England’s largest rail commuter service should be taken into public hands’ – BBC website

The BBC has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50067806

Northern Rail Class 319 electric unit at Liverpool Lime Street Station

Rimrose Valley Country Park – Fight against new road goes on……..

An idyllic view of Rimrose Valley Country Park

Highways England are to run 2 information sessions about their plans to build a road through this beautiful Country Park. Details of the events are on the Rimrose Valley Friends website – see link below:-

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/news/important-update-highways-england-information-sessions/

Tuesday 22 October 2019 between 2pm and 8pm
at the SING Plus Centre, 53 Cambridge Road,
Seaforth, Liverpool, L21 1EZ; and

Thursday 24 October 2019 between 2pm and 8pm
at The Park Hotel, Dunnings Bridge Road, Liverpool
L30 6YN

Liverpool City Region comes under pressure to take back control of buses

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-city-region-urged-follow-17059083

This is a welcome move by Lib Dem members on Wirral Council as their initiative will, if supported, have a beneficial effect on bus services across the Liverpool City Region (LCR).

I recall hearing Merseytravel Chairperson, Cllr. Liam Robinson, talk about such a move at an OPSTA meeting in Southport in November 2018. However, my concern then, as it has been for many a year, was that regaining local control over buses was becoming a matter oft talked about rather than actually being energetically taken forward. My note from the Southport meeting said this – Cllr. Robinson presented his vision of how bus services could be improved in the Liverpool City Region (beyond the present Bus Alliance with Arriva and Stagecoach)

Good luck to Wirral Lib Dems in their attempt to push LCR/Merseytravel to deliver on this sooner rather than later. Righting the wrongs of the Thatcher’s appalling 1980’s Bus Deregulation Act, which plunged all local bus services (except for those in London) into a further spiral of decline has been a long time coming – like some local bus services!