Maghull Station – The Interchange area still does not work at all well at busy times

I am returning to a matter that has bugged me for a long time i.e. how the Interchange area at Maghull Station (one of the busiest on the Merseyrail Network) does not work at all well at rush hour times.

This is Maghull Town Councillor Wyn Maher - The problematic Interchange area is behind her and the Station building.

The problem is still that the circular buses serving the Maghull and Lydiate communities drive into the Interchange, drop off their passengers and then move to the other side of the Interchange to park up whilst awaiting their next job. I am told that the schedules of the bus company mean that the drivers have to have a rest period and that it has been decided (by whom I do not know) to have it at Maghull Station. The trouble is that this waiting time is spent parked in the very area where people are meant to be picked up and dropped off! In turn this means that car drivers tend to stop where the bus stops are.

Roy Connell, Richard Clein and Cllr. Bruce Hubbard by the bus stops in the Interchange area

Now I know that some of us car drivers can be selfish but in this case having watched the goings on, especially in the evening rush hour, the problem is created by where the buses lay over. As you can imagine, when the buses want to go back to the bus stops in the Interchange to pick up their passengers they can’t access them because of parked cars!

You could not make this up! The Interchange is designed in a sensible way, accepting the restrictions of the geography of the area, and then those who manage it i.e. Merseytravel and the bus company set out to use it in a different way to which it was designed. I have taken this up more times than I have had hot diners but no one seems willing to sort the situation out.

For my own part when I am picking my daughter up from the Station I park where I am supposed to park, much to the disgruntlement of some bus drivers who see the pick up and drop off point as being their rest area! I have been blocked in by a bus before now so it is no surprise that other car drivers think what the hell if they park their buses in the pick up area I will park my car in the bus stops.

So for once the much attacked car driver is the innocent party in this game of musical vehicles in Maghull Station car park/Interchange.

Now here is an interesting economic perspective

I am indebted to Nigel Ashton of Southport for drawing my attention to this fascinating piece of work.

A friend of Nigel’s is a Dr Mark Pack of London, who has done some interesting research on how the Coalition Government’s spending plans compare with Labour’s.

Mark writes: “I’ve been looking through some of the detailed figures on how the government’s plans for cutting public spending compare to what Labour was planning. There’s no doubt the cuts involve many very hard choices for people trying to deliver good quality public services, but two figures have surprised me.

One is that by 2015 the public sector is still set to employ 200,000 more people than it did in 1997.

The other is that outside of welfare and benefit changes, the government is actually planning to be spending £2 billion per year more on public services than Labour was. You wouldn’t guess from Labour’s apparent opposition to each and every cut that outside welfare and benefit changes, Labour was actually planning to spend even less!”

Merseyrail trains

Trains fascinate me so I was interested to receive this piece of information from a regular correspondent of mine on transport matters. He says that

‘Merseyrail have stated they are not due to receive any new trains until 2017 at the latest. The lease on the existing units expires in 2015 and Merseyrail’s operators are seeking a two-year extension. This is due to the fact they don’t want to disrupt deliveries to London Transport, hence the extension request. By the time 2017 comes, some of the trains will be 40 years old. At least (hopefully) the new trains will have air-conditioning.
If I were a cynical person, I might think Merseyrail have been lent on by Merseytravel, who probably ‘over-engineered’ the refurbishment of the 507 & 508 units and feel they should get the maximum benefit of the money they spent doing so.’
This got me thinking about the previous generation of electric train units that operated on the Merseyrail 3rd rail electrified system until the mid 1970’s. They were designated 502 and 503 units. I know that one unit remains and last I heard a group of rail enthusiasts had it up at Tebay up in Cumbria with a view to refurbishing it. I found a photo of it and a sorry state it was in when this was taken. It is in the livery of the LMS



+29% V 0% – Under Labour it would have been a +29% increase in the hated Council tax!

The really big message about the Sefton Council budget for 2011/12 is that there will not be an increase in the hated Council tax. That was a very clear objective of Liberal Democrats in these hard economic times when family budgets are stretched.

However, if Labour’s  voting throughout the budget process had been in the majority Sefton’s Council tax rise would have been an eye watering 29%! My colleague Iain Brodie-Brown has covered this in detail so check out his blog via my link to Birkdale Focus – Sefton MBC in my Useful Links.

Museums – We have some great ones on Merseyside

Today I was at Liverpool’s World Museum for a meeting about tourism and the potential to bring more visitors Sefton and Merseyside. All good stuff and worth spending time over to try to get it right. Phil Redmond deserves credit for his efforts to this end and I will continue to play my part in the work.

I have been a regular visitor to Liverpool’s museums for many years and outside of London they are clearly some of the best in the UK and indeed Europe. I took the photo below of the Atrium of the World Museum today.

Merseytravel – An interesting Rex Makin article in the Echo

It has taken that well known local legal guru Rex Makin, in his Liverpool Echo column of 4th March, to place before us a matter that has been kept quiet for too long.  

Rex tells us that that in the very recent past Labour needed the Tories to form a coalition with them on Merseytravel. That particular coalition was to keep the Lib Dems out when they had the largest number of councillors on the Transport Authority.

So for all Labour’s taunts about not working with the Tories here is an example of them doing just that. Of course they also ran Sefton Council in coalition with the Tories for 2 months in 2008 but that is also conveniently no longer mentioned in polite company!