Southport’s almost forgotten railways and a Town forgotten by Sefton Council.

As well as Southport’s excellent rail service to Liverpool and the (let’s be charitable) it’s less than excellent service to Wigan and Manchester, the Town has two other railways that carry the public around.

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The obvious one is the Pier Tram but a lack of ambition and forward planning by Sefton Council, in particular, means that what could be a useful east – west passenger carrying line still simply shuttles up and down the Pier.

End of the line or the end of Sefton Council's ambition?

End of the line or the end of Sefton Council’s ambition?

The aim of the Town’s Lib Dem councillors is to extend the line to either Southport Railway Station or even to the Central 12 retail park but is anyone in power listening? It seems not as our request for the plan/project to be be included in Sefton’s Local Plan for the Borough has been dismissed. A lack of ambition for the Town can be the only sad conclusion from Bootle based/biased Sefton Council.

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The other line is the Lakeside Railway that has long been a summer-time tourist attraction. Sadly it is looking rather down at heel these days but maybe that is because it is not running past enough places that trippers want to visit? A line around the whole Marine Lake with stations at appropriate places may well be more in keeping with what Southport’s present day tourists require? Just an idea.

What all this tells me is that with Sefton Council now withdrawing behind it’s Bootle barricade Southport is unlikely to prosper if it’s future is left to Bootle Town Hall or even worse Liverpool Town Hall, should a Metro Mayor be imposed on Merseyside.

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England’s Classic seaside resort sadly seems to need to find a way forward despite Sefton Council with its lack of ambition for the Town.

STOP PRESS – Since I penned this posting Sefton Council has also decided to build houses on the Kew Park and Ride car park site instead of looking to the future and using the site for parking cars using a new railway station on the Southport, Wigan, Manchester line. I despair!

The photos above are amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Meols Cop Station – Southport – Wigan/Manchester Line

I said not long ago that I would post about this station, so here goes. By the way a previous posting of mine from 29th July 2013 is worth referring back to:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/07/29/meols-cop-station-vandalism-destroys-the-work-of-volunteers/

Meols Cop is the first station reached when a Southport – Wigan/Manchester train leaves Southport’s Chapel Street Station indeed it is well within Southport.

A visit there immediately draws attention to the challenges of this station. Firstly, it has no car park or seemingly any land close by that could become a car park. This is a major disadvantage as it is used by folk who live in Southport but who often work in Manchester. It’s second major problem is that whilst the station is firmly within Merseyside it is not a Merseytravel run station. There is no ticket office, it does not have station staff and the facilities are no more than a couple of shelters.

The fact that Merseytravel have not adopted it and brought it up to the usual standard of a station across Merseyside is a long standing bone of contention with Southport folk.

The good news is that the Station has an active volunteer group which I made mention of in my posting of July 2013 and what a great job they do.

It was time for me to go have a proper look at Meols Cop and here are some photo’s I took on my visit.

Taken from the Station platform looking towards Southport.

Taken from the Station platform looking towards Southport.

Sadly Meols Cops is not a disabled friendly Station. The steps down to the platform.

Sadly Meols Cops is not a disabled friendly Station. The steps down to the platform.

How many stations can you find with a lawn? It looks great.

How many stations can you find with a lawn? It looks great.

The photo above is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Planted out by volunteers

Planted out by volunteers

What Southport really needs is a station that provides extensive free car parking for commuters on this line. It is achievable by building a new station right by the Kew Park and Ride site on the edge of Southport. This is a challenge for the future but for now let’s thank the Meols Cop Volunteers for the work they do in helping to keep Merseytravel’s forgotten station going and looking good.

PS. David Sumner (mentioned in my previous posting) is no longer a Sefton Councillor having decided to retire at the last local elections following years of dedicated service to the Southport (Norwood Ward) community. Happy retirement David and keep up the good work at Meols Cop.