Sefton Bus Network – Merseytravel’s Maghull consultation event

I attended Merseytravel’s consultation event in Maghull yesterday held in their rather fetching and unmissable tent at Central Square.


I raised concerns about the lack of a bus to Ormskirk from Lydiate since the 311 was withdrawn. I also asked for a 231 circular bus to meet the last train from Liverpool each night rather than the service ceasing with the last but one train.

I do hope that these issues can be addressed as part of the review of bus routes across Sefton Borough.

Merseyrail or is that Miseryrail? – Liverpool to Maghull in an hour

A Merseyrail electric unit

A Merseyrail electric unit

Yesterday’s Merseyrail problems were covered by the Liverpool Echo – see link above

Jen and I found ourselves in the middle of the later crisis when we attempted to get the 21:10 Ormskirk train home to Maghull from Liverpool Central. The journey took an hour and most of it was via a rail replacement bus service as we could only get as far as Sandhills by train.

The first we knew of the problem was a white board which seemed to have been hastily written on Central Station’s concourse. The hand writing was akin to mine so not easy to read. Jen’s heart sank and she said welcome to my world because her experiences of Merseyrail are invariably poor.

Down to the platforms we went where the platform announcements were, like all railway station announcements, indecipherable. But there was a group of Merseytravel/Merseyrail staff down there although they only seemed to respond to people asking them what was going on rather than volunteering information.

We were put on a Sandhills bound train but, before it set off, the laughing of the group of platform staff sufficiently irked a passenger who got up and shouted through the open door at them ‘I’m glad you find it funny’. With that we set off for Sandhills. Strangely though the destination sign in the carriage we were in said we were going to Liverpool Central? The IT system must have been confused?

At Sandhills there was no one on the platform, that I saw, to tell us what happened next so we followed the crowd onto the street where an Arriva bus for Kirkby was sat with few folks on it. However, there were a lot of us wanting to get to stations along the Ormskirk line. Then a bus arrived and we all piled on but again the staff present only answered questions and did not volunteer any information otherwise.

We got to Kirkdale Station where no one got off. We went to Walton Station twice! Once to drop a chap off and then we drove past it again on the other side of the road to make sure he was safe and well and to give him a wave. Well that may not have been the official reason for going past it twice but it provided a little entertainment.

We did not seem to stop at Orrell Park but did have a lovely trip around the park and ride car park at Aintree Station when there was a bus stop right outside it on the A59 which we had sailed past!

We dropped of some folk at Old Roan and set off for Maghull. We got there just as the local 231 Maghull/Lydiate circular bus was pulling out! A bus some on our bus wanted to get on. The circular bus driver must surely have worked that out so why did it take off? Indeed, having picked up our car at Maghull Station we then drove to Jen’s house only to catch up with the Cumfybus 231 circular. It was sat at a bus stop in Liverpool Road North with no one on it and stayed there for a while. We assumed it was running early so had to sit there until its advertised departure time?

Liverpool to Maghull took us an hour instead of 20 minutes by rail. Of course break-downs happen and it seems the track had given out around Walton which had to be repaired. But I now know why the words ‘rail replacement buses’ are about as frustrating as ‘an unexpected item in the bagging area’ because it was hardly well organised/communicated. To me it was more like work it out for yourself, which fortunately we did.

Lydiate & Maghull – Last gasp attempt to save the 311 bus route


My press release to the Champion newspaper – sent 23rd August

I have been working with Lydiate resident Pat Breckell of Southport Road, Lydiate who has collected a 340 signature petition against Arriva Buses plan to withdraw the 311 bus at the end of August.

Pat says “A lot of older people have to attend Ormskirk Hospital and they like to go to Ormskirk Market. My husband attends the hospital regularly and if the bus is withdrawn he will have to get the 231 circular bus to Maghull Station and then a train to Ormskirk as well as the Wigan bus out of Ormskirk to the hospital.

But if the bus has to go why not try to keep it running on Ormskirk’s Market days (Thursdays and Saturdays)?

My petition had over 300 signatures on it but I could have collected more had I had more time. I am well into my 70’s and used this bus to do my courting as my husband comes from Ormskirk.

Lydiate seems to be the poor relation as we have lost 2 Post Offices, butchers, green grocers and hardware store. We have no doctors or a bank in Lydiate. Yes such facilities are in Maghull but they are not in Lydiate and if you have walking difficulties, like myself, we have to get a bus to access them.”

Added Cllr. Tony Robertson “I have been happy to assist Pat and I ensured that her petition was sent off to Arriva. She is right to point out what Lydiate has lost over the years be it bus services or other facilities. I campaigned long and hard to try to stop Lydiate’s Post Offices being lost.

I hope Arriva will take note of this eleventh hour plea from Lydiate and Maghull residents and reconsider its decision to axe this long-standing bus route to our nearest market town.”


Cllr. Tony Robertson
Lydiate Parrish Councillor

PS. Sadly the Champion newspaper decided not to use this in their 26th August edition although they did print a letter that Pat Breckell had written to them previously. However it did make the 2nd September edition.