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.

Liverpool Central High Level Station Remembered

Fronting onto Bold Street – the last part of the original Liverpool Central overground station still standing.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xUhxQ37Tqk

Photos of the former station are on You Tube – see link above.

Note – There’s a small issue on the video that requires explanation. Liverpool’s Exchange Station was not directly closed as part of the Beeching cuts, it went as part of the building of the Loop and Link underground section of the Merseyrail system, being replaced by Moorfields underground station near by. It did, however, lose it’s direct services to Scotland and the north which were transferred to Lime Street Station as a consequence of the Beeching cuts.

Liverpool Central Station voted 6th most popular station in UK

A decorated emergency exit door at Liverpool Central Station.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44023411

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

I suppose my first thought was, what’s to like about it, it’s an underground station with little architectural merit.

As a separate posting I will blog about Liverpool’s overground Central Station which really did look quite splendid. Here’s a taster of the last bit of it that’s still standing:-

Fronting onto Bold Street – the last part of the original Liverpool Central overground station still standing.

Liverpool’s lost iconic buildings

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpools-magnificent-seven-buildings-shouldnt-14150689

The Liverpool Echo has the story and some great photos of the lost buildings on its web site – see link above

A fascinating look at some of Liverpool’s lost buildings. I particularly like the look of the former Cotton Exchange building – what a loss that was!

The last part of Liverpool Central overground station is still standing

Liverpool has sadly lost two major overground railway stations i.e. Central and Exchange but like with the facade of Exchange a part of Central survives and it’s a Cafe Nero at present.

Fronting onto Bold Street - the last part of the original Liverpool Central overground station still standing.

Fronting onto Bold Street – the last part of the original Liverpool Central overground station still standing.

Wikipedia says of the old overground station:-

The original station, which was a large, above-ground terminal station, opened on 2 March 1874, at the end of the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) line to Manchester Central. It replaced Brunswick station as the CLC’s Liverpool terminus, becoming the headquarters of the committee. The three-storey building fronted Ranelagh Street in the city centre, with a 65 feet (20 m) high, arched iron and glass train shed behind.

There were 6 platforms within the station, offering journeys to Manchester Central (in 45 minutes, making the route the quickest and most direct between Liverpool and Manchester), London St. Pancras, Hull, Harwich, Stockport Tiviot Dale, Southport Lord Street and an alternative London route to that of the Midland Railway, terminating at London Marylebone.

Until the nationalisation of Britain’s railways, the station was always busy, but as with many other stations in the UK, it was closed under the Beeching Axe, as the routes served could be taken from nearby Liverpool Lime Street. In 1966, most services on the CLC route were diverted to Liverpool Lime Street via the Hunts Cross chord, leaving only a dozen urban commuter trains per day to and from Gateacre. These final services were withdrawn on 17 April 1972 with a promise to reinstate the Gateacre route when the Merseyrail network was completed in 1978.

The High Level station was demolished in 1973, having served a short time as a car park, although some former station buildings remained while work was in progress on rebuilding the underground station in the mid-1970s.

Here’s a much older photo that I found after much trawling as there seem to be few shots of the former Parcels Office out there. The stonework on the right hand side is the give away as it is the same stonework as the side wall of Cafe Nero. Of course the entrance is now the Bold Street access to the modern underground Central Station.

Picture credit Martin Jenkins/Online Transport Archive.

Picture credit Martin Jenkins/Online Transport Archive.

Merseyrail back in 1977

I recently picked up an old publicity map of Merseyside’s local railway network published in 1977 at a time when it was being substantially redeveloped as an underground railway within Liverpool City Centre.

Merseyrail Network

Click on the map to enlarge it

You can see from the main map that the electrified services only reached Rock Ferry back then on one of the Wirral Lines (in Green). Extensions were subsequently constructed to both Chester and Ellsemere Port in later years. An additional station also appeared along this line at Bromborough Rake and a further one at Overpool on the Ellsemere Port extension. Conway Park Station is an addition to the Network too. Upton-By-Chester Station has since been replaced by Bache Station about half a mile away from it.

The Northern Line line (in Blue) now terminates in Liverpool’s southern suburbs at Hunts Cross. This extension from Liverpool Central Station (which was an overground station until the 1970’s but is now underground) along the tracks of the former Cheshire Lines Committee was yet to be completed at the time the map was drawn. Also, this southern end of the Northern Line gained a new station at Brunswick (first stop out of Liverpool) whilst Garston Station has since been replaced by Liverpool South Parkway.

Of course the former Liverpool Exchange Station was lost as a consequence of this 1970’s redesign of Merseyside’s railway network and it was replaced by Moorfields Station which is close to it but underground.

The presently named Rice Lane Station on the Liverpool – Kirkby Northern Line (in Blue) was called Preston Road Back then.

Merseyrail map

The next significant addition to the Merseyrail Network of electrified lines will be the soon to be constructed Maghull Station on the Northern Line to Ormskirk. It’s name clearly identifies its location i.e. north of the present Maghull Station which is beyond its capacity at rush hours.

Just a bit of recent Merseyside railway history, please feel free to comment particularly if I have got anything wrong.