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* Renewal of outdated/inappropriate rolling stock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:-

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

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:-

Tour de France – What about it starting in Southport?

Those who take an interest in cycling will know that the most famous cycle race on the planet is this year starting in Yorkshire!

A recent holiday in York brought this home to me because there were yellow painted cycles everywhere as temporary pieces of public artwork. A fine sight they made too all across historic York. Here are a couple of shots I took and there are more on my flickr page at:-



But it got me thinking that Southport is a ‘Cycle Town’ so how about a bid being put in to start a future Tour de France in Southport? It could even be a project that Sefton Council and the Liverpool City Region could take up so to include the likes of Liverpool too – so long as it is not hijacked by Liverpool of course!

Just a thought but why not promote Southport this way. If Sefton Council does not aim high it will never get off the ground.

Leahy: Britain undersells its regional cities

Sir Terry Leahy explains in the Telegraph why he believes that the UK’s regional cities are being undersold and remain hidden in London’s shadow. He says that if we are to rebalance the economy then we need to get better at articulating our strengths and demonstrating the unique opportunities of doing business in British cities. He adds that most of the UK’s regional cities are well equipped with talent and capital but what are the missing is the boldness and belief to unlock potential and capitalise on the growth opportunity.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2 (27th May)

– But Liverpool undermines itself

Well yes, but in Liverpool/Merseyside the big problem is appalling political leadership with Labour Council Leaders at war with each other as to whom is going to be the local top dog. I saw it first hand when I was Leader of Sefton Council – then it was all about trying to unseat the Labour Chairman of Merseytravel. Now it’s a damaging row about which Labour Council Leader/Elected Mayor is going to be top dog. It’s gone on for years on Merseyside and Labour’s factionalism has been to the obvious gain of Greater Manchester just down the East Lancs Road/M62.

With thanks to the LGiU

Thank you message from Manchester

In the light of yet more internal Liverpool City Region squabbling amongst our 6 Labour Council Leaders a voice from down the East Lancashire may be heard saying:-

Thanks for making a right old mess of things over there in the Liverpool City Region; we can’t tell you how much we appreciate it.

Your squabbles mean more investment for us as Governments of any colour continue to laugh and despair in equal measure at your inability to get along with each other and construct a common front to take your City Region forward.

We have benefited from your infighting over many years and now have a tram system second to none in England because the last Labour Government pulled the plug on funding for Merseytram as a consequence of your dysfunctional local government Merseyside family.

Please keep up the good work; we are relying on you to continue to muck things up for Merseyside, despite Mr Heseltine trying to help you, so that Greater Manchester gets the investment that Governments will not give you. We are counting on you remember and thanks once again.

Best wishes

The Leaders and residents of Greater Manchester.

Oh how I wish this this was a political joke but sadly Labour continues to take Liverpool City Region in differing directions all at the same time. If Labour’s Merseyside bosses really think that taking legal action against each other will benefit the Liverpool City Region then I don’t know which planet they are living on!

Liverpool/Merseyside Combined Authority – ‘you couldn’t make this up!’

The Liverpool Echo has the story.

Even I did not think things could get as bad as this despite my previous postings on the matter. The sad implication is that despite the disputes of past between Labour Leaders across Merseyside lessons have not been learned about why a united front to promote and back Greater Liverpool, or whatever you wish to call this sub-regional area, is vital. It’s as though because Greater Manchester is successful by being ‘united’ Merseyside refuses to united because it will look like we are copying the Mancs!

The 6 Labour Leaders should hang their heads in shame; they have not represented us they have shunted us into a siding.

As Cllr. Nigel Ashton said to me, ‘you couldn’t make this up’.