Access to the Port of Liverpool – Some good news at last to boost rail freight

Class 66 Diesel Locos at Seaforth Container Terminal

From a Merseytravel briefing

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Peel Ports partners with DB Cargo for first rail freight service

Peel Ports has partnered with the freight company, DB Cargo UK to provide a new rail service for containers via the Port of Liverpool for the first time. The new service provides shipping lines, forwarders, tank operators and cargo-owners with a seamless route, between the quayside at Liverpool and Scotland. The first service is due to start on 8th May, with goods loaded in Liverpool and transferred to Mossend terminal in Glasgow, before onward delivery to destinations across Scotland. The returning service to Liverpool will carry Scottish goods for export, with a large portion destined for America. Visit the Peel Ports website for more information.

www.peelports.com/news/2018/peel-ports-partners-with-db-cargo-for-first-rail-freight-service

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Although this is clearly a step in the right direction in terms of getting freight to and from the Port of Liverpool it will in reality only scratch the surface with the vast majority of containers being taken to and from the port via road haulage along the now beyond capacity A5036 Dunnings Bridge Road to Switch Island.

Rimrose Valley Country Park

So the move is not going to stop Highways England’s proposal to construct a new road right through Rimrose Valley Country Park. Sadly the fight against that road must continue.

Switch Island – Too complex and the junction with Brooms Cross Road does not work

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-42946503

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

During my time as a Sefton Councillor I was involved in pretty much all the activities which eventually led to the building of Brooms Cross Road.

It all started with us marching through Thornton to try to get the new road project back on the agenda of Sefton Council. It had previously fallen off that agenda with the demise of what was then called the ‘Blue Route’. That former project would have seen a great deal of tree loss through Ince Woods and it fell pretty much for that reason. Here’s a couple of photos of us marching back around the turn of the century:-

Cllr. Geoff Howe and a young me on this shot marching with Thornton residents. My placard says ‘83% of Thornton residents want a relief road’.

Thornton residents marching to get the new road built.

The campaign gathered momentum and we managed to get all-party support for the new road (without damaging the woods) on the then balanced Sefton Council where no one party had a majority. Then I went, as Sefton Leader, to try to gain support from regional governmental bodies which existed at the time but are now defunct. We got that support.

I’ve read recently that some folks think that Sefton Council was asked to make a financial contribution to the project late on. In fact Sefton was always putting money into the project, indeed it was the promoter of the new road knowing full well it was going to have to put money in the pot.

The junction of the road with Switch Island has of course been the big issue especially as so many accidents have occurred there since the new road has been open and connected to an already complex junction.

Photo taken during the construction of Brooms Cross Road This is the Switch Island end of the yet to be completed road

I recall being shown a computer programme by the Highways Agency (now called Highways England) which predicted traffic flows and how they would change with the new road in place. I must admit to being sceptical at the time but the professional engineers said they had taken account of all the issues and that the plan would fly. It didn’t.

With the benefit of hindsight and the experience of watching what goes on at Switch Island my view is that the junction is simply too complex. What I mean by this is that new or irregular drivers encountering it have a bewildering array of signs and road markings to take on board. Unsurprisingly, they get things wrong and then have to swing across lanes, often without the due care required. Add into this the small minority of irresponsible regular users who expect to be able to fly through the junction at high speed (often running red lights) then you have a heady brew and accidents are always going to be on the cards.

The new lane indicator lights are innovative but how much they will actually help is yet to be seen. What I can’t get my head around is why speed/red light cameras were not been installed a long time ago. Surely dropping the vehicle approach speeds and taking the manic red light running out via such cameras would dramatically reduce the accidents, would it not?

Does Switch Island need fly-overs? Well yes it does and it has needed them for a long time now. Surely A5036/Dunningsbridge Rd docks trucks should be able to access the M58 without having to negotiate the island/junction and the same with traffic coming off the M57 wanting to travel down Brooms Cross Road.

And a final thought, beware of those promising to sort out Switch Island because with increased traffic it may only get worse, especially if no speed/red light cameras are installed.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Rail tunnels under Liverpool – A more environmentally sustainable solutuion to the Port of Liverpool access difficulties

Liverpool 2’s massive new container cranes

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/stunning-pictures-reveal-secret-tunnels-14081033

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

With all the objections to the Highways England ‘let’s build a new road through the Rimrose Valley Country Park’ preferred solution to try to solve the expanding Port of Liverpool’s access difficulties these old tunnels under the City may well be a far better and more environmentally sustainable solution.

For goodness sake expanding the rail access to the Port is the solution and the tunnels are already there. What’s more the present rail link to the Port is underused.

With thanks to Mike Penn for the lead to this posting

Rimrose Valley Country Park to have dual carriageway road built through it!

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/news/important-statement-road-to-be-built-through-rimrose-valley/

Truly horrifying news for the environment – see link above to the Rimrose Valley Friends web site which has the story as it looks today.

Idyllic view of Rimrose Valley Country Park

Time for Sefton Council to come out from behind its sofa and fight this plan. For too long Sefton has acted as though it was all but disinterested in the matter. Apart from jumping on a band wagon to suggest the new road be put in a tunnel as an alternative to wrecking the Rimrose Valley Country Park, what else has Sefton done?

And here’s a petition to sign if you would be so kind:-

www.change.org/p/secretary-of-state-for-transport-stop-the-dual-carriageway-through-rimrose-valley?utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_signer_receipt&utm_campaign=triggered&j=124054&sfmc_sub=37791448&l=32_HTML&u=24084311&mid=7233052&jb=231344

Rimrose Valley Friends – An Update on their campaigning

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/news/huge-thanks-to-our-leaflet-volunteers-15000-homes-covered/

Always happy to give publicity to Rimrose Valley Friends and their campaigns – have a look at the link above which takes you to their web site.

Port of Liverpool – The two road only options on the table

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/port-traffic-route-headache-option-12556835

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

This is a matter which I have been blogging about for a long time now and I still feel angry about it.

A classic cart before the horse situation if ever I saw one. The new Liverpool 2 River Berth catering for massive Post Panamax container ships is planned, constructed and completed before any serious thought is given as to how the increased freight is going to get to and from it. You really could not make this up as a planning absurdity but that’s pretty much what has happened.

Liverpool 2's massive new container cranes

Liverpool 2’s massive new container cranes

The A5036 route that links the Port of Liverpool at Seaforth with the motorway network at Switch Island is presently the only/major corridor for freight moving to and from the Port. It’s congested, at busy times the capacity is insufficient to cope with the traffic wanting to use it and there are already big concerns about air pollution from the diesel powered HGV’s that thunder up and down it. What’s more the A5036 is hemmed in by residential areas along significant parts of it.

As I have said before there are two options on the table from Highways England, either increase the capacity of the A5036 or build a new road right down the middle of Rimrose Valley Country Park! As if either option is credible and the plans seem to pit residents who live around the A5036 against residents who live either side of the Rimrose Valley.

And what has Sefton Council been doing? And where’s on earth is Network Rail? Between the two of them the best you can say is hiding behind the sofa!

Why has making new rail connections with the port seemingly been forgotten? Where’s the community leadership from Sefton Council?

This is indeed a dogs breakfast of a mess and the people left to pick up the pieces (and the air pollution) are the residents living in Netherton, Litherland, Crosby and Seaforth.

The present consultation on a road only solution needs to be brought to an end and only reconsidered when every possible rail freight possibility has been put in place.