Lydiate (and everywhere else) – The quest for speed and how it impacts on our lives

Southport Road, Lydiate

This is a matter I have oft thought about and not necessarily in the way you might think.

Yes, we all see the mad drivers blasting through our communities at a rate of knots neither aware or caring about the potential consequences of their actions. Indeed, in my own community of Lydiate there are growing concerns from Joe and Jane Public about irresponsible speeding along Southport Road and Moss Lane and I’m quite sure others can add to these two roads.

To his credit local Labour Parish Councillor Neil Spencer is trying to get the powers that be (Sefton Council and Merseyside Police) to address this problem and I’m with him all the way. I’ve previously tried to get Moss Lane’s speeding addressed and the rural part of it was reduced to 40mph a few years back. And my Parish Council colleague Edie Pope campaigned for the speed restriction to be reduced to 40mph along the section of Southport Road where it becomes Mairscough Lane because it’s a notorious accident black spot near the junction with Church Lane. But, and its a big but, bringing in lower speed restrictions does not stop the mad drivers who want to blast along at 50, 60 or even 70mph as they don’t really care. So good luck to Neil, let’s have another go at trying to make Lydiate’s roads safer.

Edie Pope outside her Southport Road farm shop. The notorious accident black spot is in the background.

But to me this speeding problem is probably far more deeply seated in our way of life than we may realise. Everything has to be quick, immediate and now. Our working lives are all about doing things faster to save costs and boost productivity. We leave too shorter time to get from one place to another, probably because we are either too optimistic about how long a journey will take or because everything we do is at 90mph so to speak. In turn all this causes much stress an anxiety so should we really be surprised if it produces more and more racing car drivers on our streets? Just a thought……..

Edie Pope’s scarecrow traffic cop from 2019, which was meant to make drivers think about their speed.

Merseyrail Tour raising funds for Alder Hey

Merseyrail Class 508 EMU at Maghull Station

I’ve been informed that there’s a rail tour coming up on the Merseyrail network on Sunday 26th January 2020. The tour will be raising funds for Merseyrail’s charity of the year, Alder Hey Children’s charity.

The tour can be booked from the Branch Line Society (BLS) website www.branchline.uk/current-fixtures.php and is charged at £25.08 per person. This is a relatively cheap price as in previous years the BLS tour on the MR network has been charged at a higher price.

The tour involves coverage of all lines of the MR network including the stock interchange line (transfer between the Northern and Wirral line, not usually used for passenger service), Sandhills reverse sidings, arrival/departure from platform 2 at Hunts Cross and use of a number of less used platforms on the Wirral line. Full details of the tour are provided in the link above.

Depending on the progress with the introduction of the new fleet this time next year, this could be the last rail tour operated by the Class 507/508’s.

The previous tour on Merseyrail (The Branch Line Society’s Bootle Brush hauled by Class 47’s) in December 2019 prompted a number of people comment on the lack of notice of such tours taking place so here’s some notice of the up and coming one.

My thanks to Craig for the lead to this posting

A Merseyrail electric Class 507 EMU at Bootle New Strand Station.

News on those new Merseyrail trains

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

Rail Color News has an article about the soon to be delivered first new train for the Merseyrail network – see link below:-

railcolornews.com/2020/01/06/uk-merseyrail-no-003-including-detrainment-door/

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

Bootle building I started work in suffers bomb hoax

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

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/council-office-evacuated-after-man-17534301

This Echo story hit home to me as I started work as a fresh faced lad of 17 in Magdalen House in September 1975. In those days the building housed Inland Revenue staff. I worked there for 3 years if memory serves.

And my second encounter with the very same building came about quite a few years later when I would go to it as a Sefton Councillor. It had passed from the Inland Revenue to the Health and Safety Executive but when the H&SE moved to a brand new building nearby Sefton Council took Magdalen House on. They did this because the adjacent Balliol House was in a poor state of repair and their staff needed to be moved out. Balliol House was subsequently demolished.

Memories……..

Ormskirk – Preston Line – Turn it over to Merseyrail

Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Norther trains meet.

As the painful (for passengers) demise of Northern Rail has all but been announced by Government is it not time to take the opportunity to take one of the UK’s most poorly operated lines out of the Northern Franchise and hand it to a rail operator which regularly tops the league table for reliability and performance – Merseyrail.

Let’s look at the advantages of doing that:-

* Gaining reliable trains on a line which has suffered so much from unreliable trains in recent years
* Being able to travel from Liverpool to Preston without having to change trains in Ormskirk
* Get the frequency of trains up from just 1 per hour north of Ormskirk (when they actually run) and bring in much needed Sunday services too

Disadvantages:-

* Er I can’t think of any
* Er I can’t think of any
* Er I can’t think of any

Ormskirk Station – The train in the foreground is Preston bound (when it’s not being replaced by a bus). The one behind it is Liverpool bound.

Let’s stop mucking about and do the most sensible and logical thing to bring back the Liverpool – Preston rail corridor as one whole operation rather than having Ormskirk as the muddle in the middle. Everyone would win from such a move

Lydiate – A postcard of ‘The Runnies’

I recently purchased the postcard scanned above, published by Judges of Hastings, and am guessing the photo was taken in the 1990’s but I could be well be wrong. Can anyone date it from the type of signs it had back then? Clearly the postcard is pre the new bridge and traffic light/barriers

It’s interesting that the postcard was published for the Lancashire Federation of Women’s Institutes and the photo was taken by a Mrs A McFarlane of Lathom WI.

Just for comparison here’s the shot replicated in Jan 2020:-

Click on the photos to enlarge them