New Merseyrail Trains – a construction video on You Tube

A mock-up of a Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s

Although Merseytravel posted this video – see link below – on 7th February I had not come across it before. It’s worth watching to see how the new trains are being built and the initial testing of them:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOn07VAeGHU

‘From design concepts to the real thing; watch as the new trains for the Merseyrail network take shape from initial designs to the first train out on the test track in Europe!’

As I post this Merseyrail (still operating Class 507 & 508 units of course) have had their first Stadler unit (777 003) out on nocturnal testing along the Kirkby line of recent nights.

NOTE – Merseyrail are only offering a 30 minute frequency service presently due to the health crisis we find ourselves in.

A mock-up of a Class 777 Stadler EMU as displayed in Birkenhead a while back

Downholland – Eagar Lane/Greens Lane resurfacing outside Lavender Barns

Back in August 2019 I called on Lancashire County Council to resurface the stretch of Eagar Lane/Greens Lane outside Lavender Barns just yards into Lancashire from Lydiate, and I blogged about the state of the lane – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/08/15/greens-lane-downholland/

If I recall correctly that prompted more patch repairs but the message must have got home to LCC (maybe others raised the matter with them too?) as a couple of days ago they did a significant resurfacing job:-

Editor’s note – ‘Thanks for that LCC, much appreciated, but sadly there’s another very poor stretch of Greens Lane which has deteriorated significantly of recent months. It’s around the entrance to the 2nd fishery, past Green’s House and near to the row of houses further into Downholland Civil Parish. I’ll pop a note on your website about it.’

Melling – Prescot Road bus shelter – What on earth’s going on?

Whilst I was away on holiday last week a Melling resident contacted me regarding the removal of what looks to me and indeed the resident like a perfectly good and substantial bus shelter yards away from the Pear Tree Pub. This is it:-

The poster advertising the potential removal is on the bus stop sign and this is what it says:-

I took the photos today when I went to have a look at the shelter. Apart from perhaps a bit of pointing the sandstone built shelter is in excellent condition and it’s one of a number of similar shelters erected around Melling Civil Parish by Melling Parish Council quite some years ago. Indeed, I’ve blogged about the shelters a while back (January 2018) and here’s a link to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/01/24/melling-its-rather-grand-sandstone-bus-shelters/

After I penned that posting I realised I missed out a 4th one, also on Prescot Road, i.e. the one now under threat of replacement.

So, why do the powers that be want to exchange it for a modern shelter? What’s wrong with the historic one? Are they going to try to get rid of all of Melling’s sandstone shelters? Is the construction of a cycle path alongside this incredibly busy road a factor in the proposal?

But really, there’s nothing at all wrong with the shelter at face value, so how about just keeping it and the other ones too – just in case someone somewhere has the eye on them as well for ‘modernisation’.

Liverpool’s famous cycle makers – Liverpool on Wheels exhibition

Regular readers of this blog site will know that I’m a keen cyclist, so it’s probably no surprise that I found the cycling part of the new Liverpool on Wheels exhibition in the Museum of Liverpool very interesting. Here’s my photos of cycling items on display

The comment above could easily have been written today, particularly about Lancashire and Liverpool roads!

I recall when I was a teenager I bought a Harry Quinn racing cycle second hand but whilst it was a lovely bike (and incredibly light) I went off cycling for some reason and sold it on…..

This has been my 4th posting about the excellent Liverpool on Wheels exhibition curated by NML’s Land Transport Curator Sharon Brown.

BBC TV Programme from 2018 – Clues to our present health crisis

The BBC has the programme on I Player – see link below:-

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p059y0p1/contagion-the-bbc-four-pandemic

The programme ‘Contagion: The BB4 Pandemic’ is from March 2018 and in my humble opinion is worth watching to help us understand how a pandemic develops.

And here’s a 60 second explanation of Coronavirus from the BBC website:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-51883255/coronavirus-explained-in-60-seconds

I hope we can all keep as well as possible in the present circumstances

My thanks to Bob Robinson for the lead to this posting

Tyne & Wear Metro V Merseyrail

A holiday in the lovely town of Tynemouth last week gave me the chance to check out Tyne & Wear Metro. This is what I made of it in comparison to my local rail network Merseyrail:-

Merseyrail Class 508 EMU at Maghull Station

T&W Metrocars at Whitley Bay Station

In some ways these two rail commuter systems are similar but in others they are quite different.

They both serve large northern metropolitan areas – Tyne and Wear & Merseyside respectively – plus they both like painting their trains and stations yellow, grey and black. What’s more both are about to gain new (Stadler) rolling stock – Merseyrail before Tyne & Wear.

The differences as I saw them:-

* Merseyrail has staff at virtually every station – T&W Metro seems to be a predominately a staff-less system. Certainly I didn’t see staff on the 4 journeys that I made on their trains and you buy tickets from machines like this one at Tynemouth Station:-

* With no staff around T&W Metro feels less secure to travel on than Merseytravel. This performance poster (seen at Cullercoats Station) is interesting – look at the staff availability (only 5.9 out of 10) and Ticketing (5.8 out of 10), although to be fair their security rating is a higher 7.1 out of 10:-

* T&W Metro has a big graffiti problem as mile after mile of lineside walls are covered in it – Merseyrail generally is graffiti-free – probably shouldn’t have said that!

* The old T&W Metro EMU’s are quite basic and look their age (although they were refurbished between 2010 and 2015 by Wabtec Rail at Doncaster) whereas the Merseyrail EMU’s have been refurbished a couple of times and look modern especially on the inside.

* As a non-local I found T&W’s major station – Monument – hard to navigate especially for trains on the circular route north of the Tyne. It would have been nice to have had a member of staff to interact with as Merseyrail always has at it’s hub station – Central. I had to ask fellow passengers for advice on which train to get to Tynemouth Station.

* Merseyrail is of course 3rd rail power pick up whereas T&W Metro is overhead line.

* T&W Metro is light rail – Merseyrail is heavy rail. The present T&W stock are called Metrocars. They are a fleet of light rail vehicles manufactured by Metro-Cammell. For operation on Network Rail controlled tracks (between Pelaw Junction and Sunderland) they are designated on TOPS as Class 994. Merseyrail’s Class 507 & 508 EMU’s are British Rail built.

T&W Metro’s Tynemouth Station is a delight in its careful and spot on refurbishment *.

Manors is an underground Station which reminded me a little of Merseyrail’s Moorfields Station.

I enjoyed riding T&W Metro but I think that Merseyrail has the edge on it especially with regard to staffing, security and ticketing. Here’s a link to the new trains that T&W Metro will be getting:-

www.nexus.org.uk/newmetrotrains

And a local newspaper article about the temporary depot being constructed as the change over of trains to Stadler starts to take shape:-

My thanks to Wikipedia for some facts used above

Click on the photos and newspaper article to enlarge them

* This photo of Tynemouth Station is amongst my Flickr photos at:-

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