Liverpool Airport’s missing rail link

Departure board at Southport Station from back when you could get to Manchester Airport from our local seaside resort by train as well as from Liverpool.

A recent article on the Liverpool Echo website regarding the lack of a rail link to Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, by Liam Thorpe, got me thinking again about this odd missing link in our local transport infrastructure. Here’s a link to the Echo article:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/after-anfield-new-rail-link-16614708

My angle on this goes back to the failed Merseytram project of some years back. At the time I was leader of Sefton Council so was involved in all the comings and goings as the project slid towards its demise when the last Labour Government in effect pulled the plug on funding Merseytram.

I raise Merseytram again now because I am utterly convinced that if the first line had been planned to go to the airport the local political wrangling which killed off the project would not have happened. If readers recall the first line was going to be built to Kirkby according to plans put forward Merseytravel yet most folk scratched their heads at this and said the first line needed to go to the airport. Well no tram/light railway lines were constructed on Merseyside at all and a lot of political fingers got burnt in the process of going nowhere.

So I’m not surprised that Liverpool Echo readers are saying to the paper what they were saying to the politicians some years back ‘build some form of rail/tram connection to John Lennon Airport’ and I agree with them now as I did in the Merseytram era.

Below is the only thing I have to remember Merseytram – a promotional bookmark:-

This promotional Merseytram bookmark is about all that Liverpool City Region has to show for its big tram ideas.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport staff to strike over pay

News that Liverpool John Lennon Airport staff are to go on strike if their demand for a 3.6% pay rise is not met is on the BBC web site – See link below:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-45208696

Extract from the article ‘Firefighters, bird control staff, engineers and drivers at Liverpool John Lennon Airport are to go on strike because of a pay dispute.’

Liverpool – Speke Airport – Now John Lennon Airport

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/13-photos-showing-how-liverpool-14148610

An interesting look at the history behind Liverpool’s airport here by the Liverpool Echo – see link above to access their article

Liverpool Airport – So why is it so poorly connected to the rail network?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/commons-watchdog-led-mersey-mp-10952180

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Now hang on a minute the reason Liverpool Airport is so badly connected to the rail network is far closer to home than any failings of any recent Government of any colour.

This promotional Merseytram bookmark is about all that Liverpool City Region has to show for its big tram ideas.

This promotional Merseytram bookmark is about all that Liverpool City Region has to show for its big tram ideas.

You see starting when Blair was our supremo he, in effect, set up transport planning so that it came from a local authority level upwards. Each local authority had a plan (LTP) and so did Merseytravel the public transport authority for Merseyside.

It was via such planning that Liverpool and Merseyside got into that terrible transport muddle called Merseytram. I won’t go into all the in’s and out’s of it but one part (a big part) of the Merseytravel plan was to start up a network of trams such as operate in many cities these days. As we all know it went horribly wrong and the last Labour Government pulled the plug on the project in terms of them paying for it.

My point here is not simply to bash what the Government did, even though it was of a colour that I oppose. My point is that the Merseytravel Plan went wrong because the first tram line was not to Liverpool Airport, where most folk would expected it to go. No, it was directed towards Kirkby which already had (and still has) a heavy rail 15 minute frequency Merseyrail service.

Whatever the reasons, good or bad, were for selecting Kirkby as the first destination it was a sadly decisive moment. In hind sight it was that early but fatal mistake that killed off Merseytram because there was no unanimity of purpose across Merseyside.

So what I am trying to say is Liverpool Airport not being connected by train or tram is effectively a fault that Merseytravel has to hold its hand up for. It’s poor planning gave the Government an excuse to back out of Merseytram because it realised that Merseyside was bickering (again).

The first Merseytram line should have been to Liverpool Airport, if it had been I believe Merseytram would have a reality.

Liverpool Airport – Parking fines – What!

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-serviceman-fined-90-stopping-10918441

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Would I be right in assuming that Liverpool Airport has a serious problem with the way it treats its customers? Surely putting folk through such hassle is counterproductive and it drives people away from using John Lennon Airport?

As an aside and for reasons only known to the press it seems we need to be told in the article such as this that the unfortunate chap involved in the incident is a serviceman and a dad. What on earth has that got to do with the matter at hand? Does being a dad and/or serviceman make the way he was treated worse? If he had been a milkman with no children would that have made for a less interesting article?

Liverpool Airport – Is this really a good investment for cash-strapped Liverpool City Council?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/liverpool-council-investment-would-support-10319471

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

We all want Liverpool Airport to do well but the reality is that it has been a money looser for many years. So when we hear that Liverpool City Council, which say it does not have a Penny to bless itself with, is about to put money into the potentially continuing black hole it makes you wonder.

What’s more it’s not so long ago (just 6 months actually) that KPMG the auditors for John Lennon Airport said, for want of better words, that it was then a struggling concern. See the link below from my colleague Andrew Makinson on Twitter:-

twitter.com/Andrewmakinson/status/657545069759700992?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=fb&utm_campaign=Andrewmakinson&utm_content=657545069759700992

Spending large amounts of money on speculative investments and paying Joe Anderson’s legal fees whilst moaning that the City Council is all but broke indicates, at best, a confused lack of clear priority setting for the spending of the City Council’s scarce resources in my view.