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.

Climate Change – Getting Real

Despite the political and media obsession with Brexit and whilst it may seem like the biggest major crisis, the reality is that climate change will kill off the human race if we don’t take very serious action very soon.

At a local level I get sick of cycling behind pollution from diesel powered vehicles many of which could be electric powered because they only do local trips. The circular buses which serve Maghull & Lydiate and connect the community to railway stations and shopping center are just one obvious example where change to electric power should have happened years ago. And what about the Post Office’s local delivery vans too where similar very local runs must be being made day in day out. I’m sure there will be other examples…..

Air pollution is killing us all by shortening lives and it’s linked to dementia too. It’s a scandal that communities up and down the land, often the poorest ones, are being subjected to pollution levels that are simply far too high. Governments have know this for years but little has been done apart from a lot of wringing of hands.

That our present Government has dismantled virtually all the green initiatives brought in by the Coalition is astonishing when we have declared a climate emergency as those green cutbacks are taking place.

Another example is the lack of progress with building regulations. Why aren’t all new buildings being constructed with solar panels/tiles; they’ve been around for years, there really is no excuse.

I could go on but you get my drift………..

Lydiate – Making the case for reconsidering the circular 31/31A bus route

I made a point of getting to the Merseytravel bus consultation event at Maghull Square Shopping Centre this morning.

When I arrived a chap was already talking to the staff and I quickly realised he was making the very same point I had come to make i.e. that the 31/31A Lydiate circular bus should serve the new Maghull North Station rather than the old Maghull Station.

Our reasons? Since the loss of the 311 bus Lydiate folks have limited options to get to Ormskirk by public transport. Secondly, Maghull North Station is nearer to Lydiate so the journey to get to Merseyrail would be shorter.

This issue has been raised with me as a Lydiate Parish Councillor a few times now, indeed I raised it myself when the original public consultation took place about the building of the new station a couple of years ago or more. However, for some odd reason this quite workable change keeps falling on deaf ears. I hope someone is listening this time.

Here’s a link back to a previous posting of my on this matter from August 2017:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/08/26/maghull-north-station-so-which-local-buses-will-serve-the-station-when-it-opens/

Maghull/Lydiate – Sefton Bus Review implications

Maghull Station buses back in the 1970’s

I’m told that as a result of the recent Bus Review by Merseytravel in Sefton, the following alterations are proposed from 1st September:

* New service 32A introduced to offer a peak hour service for South and West Maghull to Maghull Station and Westway/The Square.

* Service 32/33 hours extended to run of an evening and Sunday.

* Peak hour service 34/34A to be withdrawn due to low usage following the opening of Maghull North Station.

Anyone spotted any other local implications on Maghull/Lydiate from this review please let me know.

Here’s a link to the detail for changes across Sefton Borough from the Merseytravel website:-

www.merseytravel.gov.uk/about-us/Pages/Sefton-Bus-Network-Review-2019.aspx

Note:- Still no proposal to route a circular bus serving Lydiate to the new Maghull North Station via Maghull Square, a request I have heard on a number of occasions from Lydiate folk. There’s clearly a view out there that some Lydiate folk feel that a bus to the new station would be a much quicker link to Merseyrail. Would be interesting to hear why it has not been trialed…..

With thanks to Kevin Duggan for the lead to this posting

Lydiate – 310 bus stop on A59

Lydiate residents will most probably have seen the article in this weeks Aintree & Maghull Champion regarding requests for a bus shelter on the A59/Northway adjacent to the Kenyons Lane traffic lights.

I’ve also raised this with Merseytravel recently following a Lydiate resident asking for a shelter at this spot on the Lydiate & Neighbours FB Group in a thread that I posted about a bus shelter being removed in Moss Lane, Lydiate. The shelter being removed is one that served the old 311 route that provided a good service between Lydiate and Ormskirk.

Obviously the response as printed in the Champion is at best disappointing as there’s only one bus to Ormskirk from Lydiate these days i.e. the Arriva 310. What’s more it only skims the edge of Lydiate with just one stop on the A59/Northway.

I appreciate the difficulties of this A59 bus stop site but in reality, on such a busy road, you would expect not only a shelter but a bus lay-by too. However, I also appreciate it’s a cramped site and that Merseytravel have to prioritise their expenditure. Maybe a re-routing of the bus to travel through more of Lydiate would actually be the best solution. The most likely way to do this would be for the bus to cross Northway instead of turning onto the A59 so to serve the rest of Kenyons Lane, then Liverpool Road past the old windmill and back to the A59 at Robins Island. But this at face value simple change has its problems too as St Thomas’ School is on that short stretch of Kenyons Lane and I guess that at school coming and going times the bus would get caught up in traffic jams just like the 31/31A Lydiate circular bus does on Sandy Lane.

Arriva and Merseytravel can surely get their heads together here to try to find a way forward because this situation has come about mainly due to the former 311 bus being withdrawn by Arriva in August 2015. I covered the campaign to try to save that bus on this blog site – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/08/21/petition-to-try-to-save-the-311-liverpool-ormskirk-skem-bus/

Yes of course the 311 was a commercial service and the 310 is too so I realise that Merseytravel have no powers to make Arriva think again about the provision of buses between Lydiate and Ormskirk. However, there’s a Bus Alliance in operation across Merseyside which Merseytravel and Arriva are a part of so at the very least they should be around a table trying to sort issues like this out.

And lastly, for now anyway, the underlying issue here is the Deregulation of bus services outside of London that was brought in during the 1980’s. My own view is that we lost control of our bus services when that happened and it was bad legislation. I’m told that Merseytravel are slowly working towards re-regulation of buses but I fear that that bus is only just about creeping along.

Merseyside’s lost railway stations that MAY come back to life

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/disused-railway-stations-you-could-15949230

Well, this sounds all very positive BUT Merseytravel has a long history of big aspirational railway projects that are rarely advanced. I’ve blogged about them before as the railway press has often picked up on them as being really possible and even really likely to be progressed only for nothing much to happen at all. And the evidence for this rather downbeat assessment? – my 3 postings from 2014:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/06/11/merseytravelmerseyrail-20-years-of-big-local-railway-ambitions-many-of-which-have-hit-the-buffers-posting-3/

Notes:-

*The link above will take you to my 3rd 2014 posting about Merseytravel’s long-standing overplaying their hand and there are links within it to postings 1 and 2 in the series.

* Maghull North Station has of course now been built and it opened in June 2018

* The Halton Curve has happened but as I write there are no regular passenger trains are using it.

* Work on progressing a rail connection into Skelmersdale is being taken forward but there are no guarantees that the project will attract the huge funding required.

* New rolling stock for Merseyrail is to be delivered in 2020.

Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Northern trains meet.