A few days after I published (see link below) on this very blog site issues of concern about the plodding nature of the process to identify and consult upon options to get traffic to and from this ever busier port the Champion newspaper carried the article below:-
It seems that the plodding nature of this process is set to continue as there is not going to be any public consultation for another 18 to 24 months. Makes you wonder what on earth the Highways Agency, Network Rail and Sefton Council have been doing about this matter for the past 2 or 3 years does it not.
I don’t know about you but I suspect it suits some folk to keep kicking this issue into the long grass – yes I am talking about the Bootle Labour Party here! But doing that simply means it will come back harder when the crunch really does hit. Labour have never wanted this aired in public as they fear what the folks who live around the A5036 and Rimrose valley Country Park will do to them!
I have been saying for a long time now that Sefton Council needs to be leading the debate and pushing for as much freight as possible to go by rail and in doing so get the mothballed Aintree – Bootle line opened up again. Apart from stopping development on this old trackbed in their draft Local Plan it looks like very little is actually being done by Sefton to lead the debate so the Highways Agency are doing their own thing.
I wonder if blaming the Highways Agency for an ‘unacceptable solution’ when it may be too late to change things is the tactic of Labour run Sefton Council?
Maybe a job for the press here to smoke the real story out.
Getting there slowly both in terms of the access project and the congestion.
The present Seaforth Docks and hinterland
The Liverpool Echo has the story of the construction – see link above.
BUT, what is happening with regard to how goods are going to get to and from the port when the new river berth has been constructed and is in use? The Echo article makes reference to transhipment down the Manchester Ship Canal but that is not where all the addition freight is going to go.
Sefton Council, The Highways Agency, Network Rail and Liverpool City Council have been ‘looking into this’ for years yet we know precious little about the proposed solutions that are actually going to be proposed. Yes there’s been a lot of talk and speculation but real hard facts on which residents living near to the port and along the A5036 corridor to Switch Island can be fully consulted upon is hard to find indeed.
Is the old Aintree – Bootle freight railway line, which has been mothballed for years, going to be opened up again?
Do the Council really want to drive a new road down the Rimrose Valley Country Park?
What are the noise and air pollution consequences going to be of hundreds of additional diesel powered lorries thundering through Seaforth, Litherland and Netherton?
Is it not about time all this was debated in the open so that we all know what’s going on?
The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above.
It is interesting to see that Dunningsbridge Road is now officially classified as a ‘delay road’ something that regular users of it will not need to be told.
BUT with Seaforth Docks set to expand with a new river berth taking Post Panamax size ships the situation can only get worse!
Supposedly, in non-smoke filled rooms, Sefton Council, the Highways Agency, Network Rail etc. are beavering away at solutions but little is known of these deliberations. It’s about time the powers that be put their proposed solutions before us don’t you think?
The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above – but the quote from that article below does not really take us any further forward.
‘Funding has been secured to upgrade the A5036 Princess Way – through Seaforth and Litherland – which links Liverpool’s ports to the motorway network.
This upgrade was announced last summer as part of the Liverpool Local Growth Deal.’
This has been a subject that Sefton Council, in particular, has not been at all keen to talk about. Indeed, getting behind this story to gain some detail over recent months has been like pulling teeth.
So now the cat is completely out of the bag can we please be told how this upgrade of the A5036 is to proposed to be achieved and the environmental and community impacts of such proposals? It is no use doing deals behind closed doors just to impose an already agreed solution on South and East Sefton’s communities
The Guardian has the story.
It is precisely this sort of concern that I have about the management of transport access to the enlarged Seaforth Docks in Bootle. My postings of 24th April and 2nd May provide more background to this issue.
I don’t think anyone wants to stop the economic benefits of the expansion of the docks in Bootle but if the transport corridor (A5036 – Dunnings Bridge Road, Church Road, Princess Way) from Switch Island to the docks is going to become a sea of lorries churning out diesel fums and particulates then some serious thinking needs doing now. The consequences on the health of those living close to congested transport corridors has to be solved before the lorries start thundering through the southern part of Sefton.
Rail transport is, of course, part of the solution but not via diesel powered locomotives pulling heavy container trains up the steep inclines from the docks without the particulates they emit being safely managed. Electrification of the rail route would be the sensible way forward.
Over the past 20 years or so Merseytravel, see my previous posts, have oft spoken about reopening this branch which runs from Aintree Station on the Liverpool – Ormskirk Line to join the Liverpool – Southport Line just north of Bootle New Strand Station.
It was once a passenger and goods line which was 3rd rail electrified and there were stations at Ford and Linacre Road. Indeed, it served a wider purpose as at the Aintree end it originally went through to Fazakerley to join the Liverpool – Kirkby Line and there was an additional station called Aintree Racecourse. At the western end it served Gladstone Dock and connected with Seaforth Sands Station of the Liverpool Overhead Railway. This final connection enabled Overhead Railway trains to reach Aintree for the Grand National meeting.
The line originally opened in August 1866 with Ford & Linacre Road stations opening in 1906 and closing in April 1951
Below are a couple of recent photos of the line as it is now. Both were taken from the Hawthorne Road over-bridge looking west and east respectively.
The link below may be of interest to readers:-
But the reason I raise this matter now is that if there is to be a significant new rail connection with the enlarged docks at Seaforth (see my posting of 25th April 2014) then this mothballed railway is potentially a part of the solution.
The photos above are amongst my Flickr shots at:-