Northern Rail – Their troubles just go on and on

Northern Rail Class 319 electric unit at Liverpool Lime Street Station

The Liverpool Echo has the story on it web page – see link below

For this to happen on such a busy day in Liverpool may well be surprising but in reality its not as Northern have been in a terrible mess for longer than many of us can remember. Is there any wonder some of their passengers call them Northern Fail?

Whatever the reason for today’s cancellations they fit a pattern that has become far too familiar and it really makes you wonder how on earth the Department of Transport tolerates it.

Liverpool’s Lime Street Station Closure brings Sunday trains to Ormskirk – Preston Line for 3 Sundays

Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Norther trains meet

Whilst as I wrote this posting the final confirmation was still yet to appear on Network Rail’s online timetables my reliable information is that on Sundays 1st, 8th & 22nd of October the Ormskirk – Preston railway line will see trains operating.

The plan, I am told, is to operate six round trips between Preston and Ormskirk to the timetable below, including calls at all stations (Burscough Junction, Rufford & Croston) in both directions.

It’s possible that this timetable may change slightly. I also understand that there will be a replacement bus service for the Merseyrail service between Ormskirk and Liverpool on October 15th, that’s why there’s looks to be no Sunday service on the Ormskirk – Preston Line.

Why on earth this positive move was not released to the public weeks ago beats me. The cause of this change is the blockading of trains at Liverpool’s Lime Street Station which is in effect being all but closed in this period for a major upgrade by Network Rail.

The Ormskirk – Preston line rarely has a Sunday service (yes I know it’s 2017 and this is ridiculous), in fact it only has a Sunday Service each year on the day of Ormskirk Motorfest. So this move not will only assist travellers trying to get to and from Liverpool from the north/Scotland on these Sundays but it will also help locals move around too, not least Ormskirk’s large student community.

If I get any further updates I will post again. Here’s what I understand to be the proposed timetable for these 3 Sundays, but please check before travelling:-

Click on the draft timetable to enlarge it please and do check with TrainLine or another on-line timetable provider for up to date information prior to travelling.

My thanks to Alan for the lead to this posting.

Liverpool to Euston in 7 Minutes by Train! Well not really but….

Liverpool Lime Street Station at night.

The Liverpool Echo has the story and more importantly the high speed video on its web site – see link above.

Maybe its because I love trains but the video is quite mesmerizing.

A Virgin Trains Pendolino train at Liverpool Lime Street Station.

Northern Rail & Warrington Central Station

What a cold and unwelcoming place Warrington Central Station is late at night. All but shut down but still open for the last couple of trains of the day when Jen and I got there last Thursday.

The platforms are high up so the wind rushes through them and it was cold, cold enough for the waiting room on the Liverpool bound platform to have been locked up! And I assume the Manchester bound waiting room was similarly locked. Then the lights went out on our platform but luckily the lights from the other one did not. After a few minutes I saw a chap appear in a room across the tracks to flick a switch and we were once again well lit. Not the most welcoming of stations especially in a major town, in fact it seemed more like a rural station that was hardly used in terms of its facilities at night.

The locked waiting Room

The locked waiting Room

Then the train came and it was like a shift back in time. The 150 diesel unit was modern on the outside in terms of its paint scheme but inside it really did look like it was in its original condition as built for BR. Not uncomfortable, far from it, but tired and seemingly unloved. It certainly brought home to me the recently raised concerns about the age and unrefurbished nature of many of the diesel units that are daily put into use by the Norther Rail franchise.

Inside the 152 diesel unit, which was in fact pack with folks on their way back to Liverpool and stations along the route.

Inside the 152 diesel unit, which was in fact packed with folks on their way back to Liverpool and stations along the route.

Readers will recall Southport MP John Pugh recently raising rolling stock concerns in the relation to the Southport – Wigan – Manchester line. John is of course right otherwise Northern Rail will become akin to a preserved railway!

Oh and by the way, no tickets could be bought at Warrington Central, none were sold or checked on the train and no ticket checks were made at Liverpool Lime Street. I wonder if this is always a ‘free to travel’ train.