Merseyrail – This is why the Ormskirk Line has been shut

Oh the frustrations of being a rail traveller these days and Merseyrail is not even run by the dreaded Northern Fail:-)

The Merseyrail’s Northern Line up to Ormskirk has been closed for the past few days and will be for a few more. The reason? The platform/track height is being adjusted so that the new Stadler Class 777 trains (due in 2020) can stop at every station on the Merseyrail network and provide level access i.e. no steps down onto the platforms.

This upgrade work is frustrating whilst it’s being done but it should be a real step forward, rather than down, for those with disabilities.

Here’s a few shots of work taking place at Town Green Station today:-

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Lydiate – Wrong person identified over pavement parking

I covered a story that first saw the light of day in the Liverpool Echo recently about the problems that parking vehicles on pavements causes for those with disabilities etc. The matter was also covered in the Aintree & Maghull Champion. Here’s a link my blog on the matter:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/09/01/lydiate-maghull-pavement-parking-and-people-with-disabilities-dont-mix/

Since all this publicity and the fact that the person who originally raised the issue was said to live in Lydiate folks have seemingly jumped to the wrong conclusion i.e. they have assumed it was raised by former Lydiate Parish Councillor Tony Fenton who’s a well know local wheelchair user – IT WAS NOT. And before anyone asks who then?, I have absolutely no idea.

Lydiate/Maghull – Pavement parking and people with disabilities don’t mix

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

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/disabled-man-shames-pavement-parkers-15096662

Often vehicle drivers can be very selfish as they don’t think about or in some cases even care about the consequences of where and how they park cars and vans. But sometimes it will be unthinking and the motorist will be horrified when they realise they have made the life of someone with a disability even worse.

But how anyone can abuse a person with a disability who has had to point out that a vehicle is ether blocking their driveway or stopping them getting along a pavement is beyond belief to me. And anyway, why on earth would any driver block any driveway (other than their own); surely that can only be done as a deliberate act can’t it?

The same day that the Echo article was pointed out to me I had walked along Liverpool Road North in Maghull and noticed two problems where vehicles and other obstacles had been placed on the pavement. Firstly I saw 2 ‘A’ type-boards and a car across the very wide pavement opposite the Coach and Horses Pub – I could negotiate them but what would a wheelchair user or blind person do? And then just a bit further down the same road I came across a very narrow section of pavement where a couple of cars had been parked on it. It would have been a very right squeeze for a wheelchair user but oddly the road is very wide at this point so for the life of me I could not even work out why the drivers had felt the need to bump up the pavement.

A know three active local people with disabilities, one in a wheelchair and two who are partially sighted and they must come up against things placed on the pavement each and every day. All I and indeed they ask for is a little thought for those who are less fortunate; please keep pavements clear of obstacles whether they be cars, ‘A’ boards or anything else.

With thanks to Keith Page for the lead to this posting

PS. It’s also worth noting that people with prams and pushchairs will also encounter difficulties with items abandoned on pavements.

Maghull North Station – Still not disability and cycle accessible without a long detour

This is the only pedestrian/cycle access off School Lane without a long detour to the entrance to the new Poppy Fields estate.

As a level/accessible entrance/exit to the new Maghull North Station has still not been created off School Lane, despite the station being open for a couple of months now, I thought it was time to put some pressure on Merseytravel. My previous posting on this matter from 23rd July is accessible below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/07/23/maghull-its-new-north-station-an-accessible-interchange/

With the help of Merseytravel Committee member Cllr. John Dodd I got a response from Merseytravel which firmly puts the ball in the court of Persimmon the builder/developer of the adjacent Poppy Fields housing development. This is what Merseytravel have said:-

‘the accessible path linking School Lane adjacent to the bus stops to the station is contained on Persimmon Homes land (outside the railway and station footprint).

The issue has been recognised earlier and contact has been made with Persimmon to reinstate the path as soon as is possible in light of the issues this causes for passengers and residents. We were informed that they would do this, but there has been a passage of time since during which this work has not been done.

We have continued to apply pressure to them to reinstate this path but would welcome any support from Sefton and local Councillors to encourage Persimmon to complete this work.’

This is the access point which Merseytravel are referring to:-

So the spotlight is now shining on Persimmon Homes to get a wriggle on and complete the required work so that there is a level/accessible entrance to the new station off School Lane. Come on Persimmon surely this is a minor task in the great scheme of your housing development works at Poppy Fields. Surely we all want to see life made a little easier for those who can’t manage steps and indeed for cyclists arriving at the new station from the Maghull direction.

Cllr. Edie Pope and I would welcome any pressure that others can put on Persimmon. Their e-mail address is:- feedback@persimmonhomes.com

Maghull – Its new North Station – An accessible interchange?

As I have been looking at the layout of the new Maghull North Station two things in particular jump out at me which don’t seem at all right.

Firstly, the vast majority of those approaching the station by foot, on a cycle, pushing a pram, using a disability buggy etc. will do so coming from the direction of Maghull Square yet the access to the new station from this direction is at present via a short flight of steps:-

There’s no alternative to these steps, there’s no dropped kerb and hard standing to School Lane so how are people with disabilities and those arriving on a bike supposed to access the station? The alternative presently is a very long detour along School Lane and then back again via the new Poppy Fields housing estate road.

Could it be that a level/accessible access is still to be provided? I’m wondering if this may be the case because of uncompleted works some 20 or 30 yards away from the steps? See what I mean?:-

Secondly, the bus stops for the new station, on School Lane, are not exactly close to it:-

In the summer maybe the walk to the bus stops is a pleasant one but in winter? Why has it not been possible to create an bus/rail interchange like you see at many stations where both are located right next to each other? This whole area has been designed from scratch so I’m scratching my head about this, I really am.

The new station is great (I use it, indeed I campaigned for it to be built over many, many years) but clearly there are teething troubles which need addressing.

With thanks to the Aintree & Maghull Champion newspaper for making this their lead story in their edition of 1st August 2018