Transpennine Express and Northern Replacement Franchises Liverpool City Region Priorities

I came across the document below recently and it seems to be a reasonable attempt to define priorities for rail in and around the Liverpool City Region. Note that the Penny has thankfully dropped about the Southport Manchester services being of importance for improvement amongst our City Region leaders.

*****

Introduction

The Invitation to Tender for the new TransPennine Express franchise is due to be issued in December 2014 to the following three shortlisted bidders:
• First Trans Pennine Express Limited
• Keolis Go-Ahead Limited
• Stagecoach Trans Pennine Express Trains Limited.

The Invitation to Tender for the new Northern franchise is due to be issued in December 2014 to the following three shortlisted bidders:
• Abellio Northern Ltd
• Arriva Rail North Limited
• Govia Northern Limited

This note highlights the key issues for Liverpool City Region. Further details can be found in Merseytravel’s Consultation Response.

It is vital to ensure bidders fully understand the size and economic importance of the Liverpool City Region:
• Population of 1.5m people, expected to increase by 3.9% by 2030
• Growth of employment by 12.7% over the same period leading to more business travel and commuting into the LCR
• Major centre for tourism with 52.9m day visitors and 4.7m day visitors each year, with Liverpool the 5th most visited destination in the UK by overseas tourists
• Four universities in Liverpool with a total of over 40 000 students, and
• A region which regularly hosts major sporting events.

Current Service Provision

Trans Pennine Express

• Hourly Liverpool Lime Street – Manchester Victoria – Leeds – York – Newcastle
• Hourly Liverpool Lime Street – Warrington Central – Manchester Piccadilly – Leeds – York – Scarborough

Northern

• Hourly fast Liverpool Lime Street – St. Helens Central – Wigan North Western – Preston – Blackpool North
• Hourly fast Liverpool Lime Street – Newton-le-Willows – Manchester Piccadilly – Manchester Airport
• Half hourly stopping Liverpool Lime Street – St. Helens Central – Wigan North Western
• Hourly stopping Liverpool Lime Street – Earlestown – Manchester Victoria
• Hourly stopping Liverpool Lime Street – Earlestown – Warrington Bank Quay
• Half hourly semi-fast Liverpool Lime Street – Warrington Central – Manchester Oxford Road
• Hourly Southport – Wigan Wallgate – Bolton – Manchester Piccadilly – Manchester Airport
• Hourly Southport – Wigan Wallgate – Atherton – Manchester Victoria
• Hourly Kirkby – Wigan Wallgate – Atherton – Manchester Victoria
• Roughly hourly service Ormskirk – Preston

TPE priorities:

1. A fast service every 15 minutes between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria, deliverable with electrification and Northern Hub phase 2 in 2018.

2. Connecting the North’s core city regions: at least 2 trains per hour (tph) between each pair of Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle. Needs increase to 2tph Liverpool – Sheffield and 2tph Liverpool – Newcastle. Appropriate service timings and quality to encourage inter-regional business travel by rail.

3. Improve LCR long distance connectivity with a new Express services Liverpool – Glasgow and Liverpool – Edinburgh.

4. Improve provision for interurban commuting, in both directions, between Liverpool – Liverpool South Parkway – Warrington – Manchester, which has to be handled by TPE (and EMT).

5. Earlier first trains, later last trains and improved evening and Sunday TPE (and EMT) services.

6. Reduce overcrowding by increased provision of rolling stock, especially seating capacity and luggage space, to ensure all passengers can expect a seat outside commuter peak hours.

7. Improve connections between services at interchange stations, including clearly publicised provisions for appropriate connecting services to be held and sensitive alternative arrangements for all passengers where connections have been broken, regardless of tickets held.

8. We would not expect a major increase in fares. Current fare levels are high relative to wages in the north.

9. Work with Merseytravel to develop SMART ticketing and accept Merseytravel’s ticket range on trains including Concessionary tickets.

Northern priorities:

1. New or refurbished electric units giving a step change in capacity and quality.

2. Pacer fleet replaced by refurbished diesel units cascaded from electrified lines.

3. Improved regional services from Liverpool to the rest of the north including two trains an hour to Preston.

4. Improved quality of service provided between Southport and Manchester.

5. Ensure peak requirement for capacity into Lime Street is addressed.

6. Improve connections between services at interchange stations, including clearly publicised provisions for appropriate connecting services to be held and sensitive alternative arrangements for all passengers where connections have been broken, regardless of tickets held.

7. Merseyside currently has good station facilities and we would like them to be maintained and built upon.

8. Merseyside has well-used stations which are currently staffed from first to last trains. We would want to see this developed and the offer to passengers improved through more flexible use of staff, such as the Mtogo facility on Merseyrail.

9. We would not expect a major increase in fares. Current fare levels are high relative to wages in the North.

10. Work with Merseytravel to develop SMART ticketing.

11. Support Merseytravel’s development of the rail network:
– Newton-le-Willows upgrade;
– potential new station at Carr Mill;
– improved park and ride facilities;
– reinstatement of the Halton Curve.

Just how many Sefton businesses lost out when Knowsley Council sent our money back?

My posting of 6th October refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/10/06/liverpool-city-region-chucking-money-away-it-seems-so/

The Liverpool Echo said – UP TO £18m of funding meant to help local firms and workers was given back to the government by a Merseyside council after it went unspent.

The cash, which was to be spent across the region, was being handled by Knowsley council on behalf of the other authorities.

But since then all has gone quiet. Why? Which businesses applied for money and did not get any? How many of them were Sefton based businesses? Were Sefton based businesses even offered the opportunity to bid for the money?

I think it is about time someone came clean over this fiasco because on a very rough and ready calculation there are 6 local authority areas in the Liverpool City Region, which could mean that Sefton’s share of the Government money that was sent back could have been as high as £3m!

Liverpool City Region – Chucking Money away? It seems so!

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/councillors-anger-18m-unspent-funding-7883509

This Liverpool Echo (see link above) story needs teasing out more but at face value Knowsley Council are in the dock for managing City Region money poorly and having to send it back. Knowsley blame Government but it is clear that Liverpool Council think Knowsley are the real problem!

Some Liverpool City Region leaders blame this farce on the dysfunctional way the city region authority is operating. Of course they are still smarting over not being able to come up with either a name for the joint authority or agree who should chair its meetings! No wonder things continue to be dysfunctional.

And how much did Sefton potentially lose out on from this investment stream?

But watch out Liverpool Labour want a ‘Metro-Mayor’ on the back of this i.e. a Mayor to run all of the City Region. No thanks Joe (Joe Anderson – Present elected Mayor of Liverpool) we don’t want you or anyone else running Sefton from Liverpool Town Hall.

Motion – Sefton Council meeting 24th July – Liverpool City Region Draft Long Term Rail Strategy

A Southport bound Class 156 DMU at Burscough Bridge Station on the Southport - Wigan - Manchester Line.

A Southport bound Class 156 DMU at Burscough Bridge Station on the Southport – Wigan – Manchester Line.

I am moving the motion below at the meeting of Sefton Council tonight and am hoping it will get all-party support.

*****

That the Council welcomes publication of the Draft City Region Long Term Rail Strategy but is concerned that the Southport – Wigan – Manchester line, which supports commuter travel for Sefton residents living in the north of the Borough who work in Manchester and the tourist trade/economy in Formby/Southport/North Sefton, is omitted from the report.

The Council calls upon the City Region Cabinet Combined Authority to include this line and the development and promotion of it in the final draft.

All options to upgrade this line need to be fully considered within the strategy and should include:-

* Renewal of outdated/inappropriate rolling stock

* Increased passenger/train capacity

* A potential new park & ride station at Kew

* Electrification

* Adoption of Meols Cop Station by Merseytravel

* Connectivity with the Ormskirk – Preston line.

The benefits that could flow from including this line within the final City Region Long Term Rail Strategy will support the north of the Borough and help sustain Sefton’s tourist economy. It will also ensure that the north of the Liverpool City Region is well connected to West Lancashire, Preston and Manchester City Region by rail.

*****

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

Transport investments in Liverpool City Region but Southport still not shining on Merseytravel radar

From Southport – Online NewsContact us with your news. Mob/Txt 07530 315 478 southport@qnews.co.uk

Merseytravel welcomes funding for schemes to improve rail and road links

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt. Hon George Osborne MP, has been in Liverpool to announce a package of measures to support the city’s science and transport infrastructure.

He has announced:

A £10.4 million upgrade to the Halton Curve rail line to improve connectivity between Liverpool, Cheshire, Warrington and North Wales.

£5.6 million to improve access and road safety around Knowsley Industrial Park.

£4m of improvements to A5300 Knowsley Expressway to maximise the benefits of the New Mersey crossing and access to Liverpool Airport.

A £14.4m upgrade of the car parking and public transport connections on the Newton-le-Willows rail interchange link to Parkside.

Said Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel:

“We warmly welcome the announcement. The funding for four of the City Region’s top priority infrastructure schemes supports our Growth Deal and the push to get the Liverpool City Region properly plugged into the northern powerhouse.

“Better connectivity across the city region and beyond not only boosts our economic potential, but pulls northern cities and towns closer together, helping rebalance the whole UK economy.

“As a City Region we’re focusing on those projects that will bring real economic and social benefit. The Halton Curve will improve rail links between the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire and North Wales unlocking job and leisure opportunities. Improvements to Newton le Willows station will boost the benefits of electrification that will see journeys from Liverpool to Manchester in as little as 30 minutes. It will also support the development of Parkside.

“Both of these schemes are firmly within our long term rail strategy which is focused on developing the network to support and grow the Liverpool City Region economy over the next 30 years. They and the two other schemes announced – Access Improvements to Knowsley Industrial Park and the A5300 Knowsley Expressway, also support the City Region’s objective of creating a freight and logistics hub.

“We look forward to hearing that the City Region has been successful in securing funding for more of its Growth Deal bids in the formal announcement next week.”

A train at Southport Station bound for Manchester

A train at Southport Station bound for Manchester

Interesting indeed and the Coalition Government’s investment in Merseyside is not to be sniffed at but the obvious missing project here is the long-desired improvement in the rail link from Southport to Wigan and Manchester. Southport is within the Liverpool City Region and its economy depends on good transport links, which it has to the south of seaside Town. However, the transport links to the east and north of Southport are poor as I have posted about on this site before. The rail link to Preston was lost in the Beeching era and the present railway line to the east offers a poor quality of service. I will return to this issue soon but the big issue here is that we need the City Region and Merseytravel to join the battle to upgrade the line and for them to put a compelling case to Government for the funding.

The photo above is amongst my Flickr shots (you will need to scroll down quite a way) at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/