Merseyrail train rides with Chester

I have a four legged friend called Chester, he’s a Chocolate Labrador and it seems that, like me, he enjoys riding trains.

Chester waiting for his train at Rice Lane Station

He and I have escaped from Roy Connell, his owner, a couple of times now and spent some time riding on Merseyrail. We have travelled from Ainsdale to Maghull and more recently had a run out on the Kirkby line. It turns out that prior to my taking Chester on a train he’d never been on one! Fancy that 10 years old and never been on a train, that’ll never do.

Chester especially likes being made a fuss of and on both our train rides other passengers have obliged. I’ve also spoken to him about the Merseyrail Class 507/508 EMU’s and the fact that they are soon to be replaced by Class 777’s but he’s clearly not a fully fledged railway enthusiast just yet and is more keen to have treats and a fuss made of him.

Merseyrail – Some detail on those new trains now the first one is on test at Kirkdale

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

The Railway Gazette has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.railwaygazette.com/uk/merseyrail-class-777-arrives-in-liverpool/55686.article

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

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

Merseyrail – How to couple two 507/508 Units – A question I’m always being asked:-)

A Merseyrail train passes the former Maghull Signal Box @1990. The last track plan from the box is now on display as part of the Frank Hornby Trust’s exhibition area within Meadows Leisure Center – Copyright Noted HSG

For all of you out there who have pondered on how to join/couple two Class 507/508 Merseyrail EMU’s here’s an instructional video which will answer your queries:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOY3lFO8XMg

A Merseyrail train at Bootle Oriel Road Station

Of course you will, having digested this useful information, have to start to ponder all over again soon as Merseyrail is updating its fleet to Stadler 777 EMU’s in the near future.

Merseyrail – The new Stadler 777 trains

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

* The first Class 777 unit is expected to arrive on Merseyside in the Autumn of this year.

* The seventh unit delivered, I am told, will not now have battery capability and the battery trial has been suspended due to an identified technical issue. Battery capable units are being looked upon by OPSTA and others to enable the extension of the Ormskirk line (for example) to Burscough and possibly even Preston as this option will be much cheaper than having to install electrification along the present Ormskirk – Preston Line. It is to be hoped that the technical issue will be solved.

* There seems to be some truth in the rumour that a number of the present Class 507 EMU’s may be retained. This is, I understand, a contingency plan should the movement of platform signals not be achieved in time. This would be an interim measure.

A new Stadler Merseyrail train artist impression

Merseytravel – Are they delivering?

Well according to their Chairperson, Liam Robinson, they are.

I reported on OPSTA’s (Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers assn) public meeting a few days ago which was actually held in the community room of Southport Fire Station of all places. That posting was about the utterly appalling train service, or indeed the complete lack of a train service last week, on the Ormskirk Preston Line and here’s a link back to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/11/23/northern-trains-could-the-ormskirk-preston-line-be-the-most-poorly-performing-in-the-uk/

Now don’t get me wrong I’m not blaming Liam Robinson in any way for Northern’s terrible performance but he listened to stories of Northern’s Failures at the meeting (he was our guest speaker) and because he has an influence on Rail North those sad stories were heard and you never know……….

I quite like Liam’s handling of transport issues on Merseyside and I feel he has been a positive influence on what to me seemed to be struggling public sector organisation before he took the chair of it. Yes, I know we live it terribly tribal party political times and I’m expected to hate anyone who is not a Lib Dem; well I don’t think in traditional British political tribal terms………

Stadler Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s

Cllr. Robinson presented his vision of how bus services could be improved in the Liverpool City Region (beyond the present Bus Alliance with Arriva and Stagecoach) and he talked in very enthusiastic terms about the Class 777 Stadler trains that Merseytravel have ordered for the Merseyrail network. Without being prompted he also made reference to the potential to extend Merseyrail Northern Line beyond Ormskirk to Burscough and even Preston although he was clear that he was not promising that it would happen. To be honest passengers on that line would welcome it being run using the Titfield Thunderbolt of Ealing Comedy fame as surely no one could run it as badly as Northern have been doing.

The other rail thing that he touched on and which is vital to expanding the Merseyrail system is the lack of capacity at Liverpool Central Station. If that issue is not seriously addressed in the near future there’s every possibility, in my view, that Merseyrail will be stuck with a bottle-neck which will impede the running of our local railway.

So yes I was pleased to sit and listen to Liam at the meeting and readers who have a liking for tribal politics will have to be disappointed with me.