So is Skem’ to get linked to Merseyrail? It’s still a wait and see

The old Skelmersdale Station – now long gone in the name of 1960’s progress!

The Liverpool Echo has the latest in what is clearly going to be a very long saga with at present an uncertain outcome – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/skelmersdale-could-finally-merseyrail-station-17549470

Ormskirk – Preston Line – Turn it over to Merseyrail

Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Norther trains meet.

As the painful (for passengers) demise of Northern Rail has all but been announced by Government is it not time to take the opportunity to take one of the UK’s most poorly operated lines out of the Northern Franchise and hand it to a rail operator which regularly tops the league table for reliability and performance – Merseyrail.

Let’s look at the advantages of doing that:-

* Gaining reliable trains on a line which has suffered so much from unreliable trains in recent years
* Being able to travel from Liverpool to Preston without having to change trains in Ormskirk
* Get the frequency of trains up from just 1 per hour north of Ormskirk (when they actually run) and bring in much needed Sunday services too

Disadvantages:-

* Er I can’t think of any
* Er I can’t think of any
* Er I can’t think of any

Ormskirk Station – The train in the foreground is Preston bound (when it’s not being replaced by a bus). The one behind it is Liverpool bound.

Let’s stop mucking about and do the most sensible and logical thing to bring back the Liverpool – Preston rail corridor as one whole operation rather than having Ormskirk as the muddle in the middle. Everyone would win from such a move

Liverpool – 1957 – A brouchure from when the City’s last tramcar ran

This 40 page illustrated booklet was printed by Tinlings of Liverpool a well known printing company of the day.

I was lucky recently to pick up a copy of ‘The First Sixty Years’ booklet which describes itself as ‘A pictorial record of the Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport undertaking issued on the occasion of the last tramcar running in Liverpool on the 14th September 1957’

It’s a fascinating read and is well illustrated with photos of the trams, buses and indeed the people who worked for the Corporation’s Passenger Transport Department up until that date. Now, of course, passenger transportation in Liverpool is a Merseyside County-wide/City Region operation run by Merseytravel.

Liverpool’s last tram as depicted on a postcard *

I was interested to see the illustration below from the booklet of a tramcar that ran from Aintree to Aigburth until the 1930’s:-

What’s really good news is that two former Liverpool Corporation trams are alive and very well. One is easily accessed at Wirral Transport Museum in Birkenhead (it’s known as a ‘Baby Grand’) and the other (Liverpool Streamline Tram 869) is at the National Tramway Museum in Crich, Derbyshire. Both are in working order having been fully restored and the one at Wirral Transport Museum (Taylor Street Birkenhead) is regularly out on the track to and from Woodside Ferry Terminal on Museum open days.

‘Baby Grand’ Tramcar 245 at Woodside Ferry Terminal.

Liverpool Tram 869 at Crich Tramway Village, Derbyshire.

* The tramcar was bought by the Seashore Trolley Museum of Kennebunkport, Maine, U.S. and shipped via Boston, Massachusetts in 1958. As of 2017, it was at the back of a shed at the Museum, and in poor condition. – source Wikipedia

Maghull – Book sharing scheme at the new(ish) Maghull North Station

The new mini library at Maghull North Station

Local resident Frank Sharp has launched a book sharing scheme at the new Maghull North Railway Station akin to the one that is run by the Station Volunteers at the original Maghull Station.

Maghull Station Library run by the Station Volunteers

Organisers hope it will encourage a sense of community and ownership of the new station. Frank thanks Merseytravel’s senior rail project manager Darren Hazlewood and Merseyrail’s Sally Ralston, for allowing the installation of a bookcase and books which have been freely donated by the local community.

The initiative follows on with similar initiatives at other railway stations (not just in Maghull) and the international Little Free Library organisation, which aims to increase book access and forge community connections.

Says Frank “The idea is simply to encourage the community to emulate other railway stations and organisations by taking a book or leaving one – anything you’ve read and would like others to enjoy. The more people use it, the more fun it will be, and the more it circulates. Hopefully, it will also encourage a sense of community and ownership around the new station, akin to the brilliant award winning work undertaken by volunteers at Maghull’s older station.”

Editor – It all sounds great to me so I’ll now share the books and magazines I donate to the old Maghull Station across the Town’s two stations. I hope others will join in too. Please try to remember to add a book when you take one, or soon afterwards, otherwise the system does not really work.

Maghull – North Station fence and cycle path

Maghull North Station as it was nearing completion in 2018

I’ve blogged about Maghull new 2nd railway station many times, often with a little frustration about the design details which have been left hanging well after the station opened.

Now don’t get me wrong (a Jim Sharpe’ism – Jim is a journalist on our local Champion newspaper) having campaigned for the station to be built I’m happy that it has been, but for the life of me some of the issues with it should not still be issues now, well over a year since it was opened.

The good news is that a significant length of the old decaying wooden fence left over from the former Moss Side Hospital site has now been removed along the site’s School Lane boundary. I think that fellow environmental campaigner Frank Sharp (no relation to Jim) will have had a hand in this via his chivying of Merseytravel etc.

Now about that cycle/footpath which opened recently and connects the new station with both School Lane and Park Lane. It’s very welcome but at the School Lane end there’s still no dropped kerb for cyclists to access it and the new station via the level access. I lose count of the number of times I’ve pointed this out to Sefton Council and Merseytravel. This photo illustrates:-

whilst at the Park Lane end it does have a dropped kerb:-

At neither end does the path have any pedestrian barriers though and I would have thought that barriers erected in a chicane-type arrangement would make things safer in respect of children running out onto the road.

Small things of detail in many ways, and yes I’m sure there are much bigger matters to think about, but never the less you’d think such straight forward and cheap to fix issues would be all a part of the station building and it’s wider access environment planning.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Merseytravel – Their over 60’s travel card and the new(ish) Liverpool (LS) to Chester train

Those of us over a certain age and who live within Merseyside/Liverpool City Region have a card which gives us free bus, train and ferry travel within Merseyside and in some cases beyond it.

For example we can go to Chester by train (via Merseyrail) from anywhere within Merseyside for nothing but there are two direct train services from Liverpool to Chester. There’s the long standing one via Merseyrail along the Wirral Line but in very recent times a 2nd route has been added from Lime Street Station to Chester. And you may by now have guessed what my query is…..

How come Merseyside residents over 60 can go via one route to Chester from Liverpool for free but this facility is not available on the new alternative route? And why am I asking this question? Because someone asked it of me and off the top of my head I did not have an answer.

Thinking about it, I can’t see what the problem is; surely it’s just another route to the same destination? Whether Merseytravel (the public body responsible for passenger transport on Merseyside) pay a subsidy for over 60’s travel to Merseyrail or to Transport for Wales (who operate the Lime Street – Chester train) for each journey the end result is pretty much the same is it not? It’s still the case that only eligible Merseyside/Liverpool City Region residents can have an over 60’s travel card, all it does is offer them another route to get to Chester, indeed it may well be a far more convenient route for some card holders.

So what am I missing here? Answers on a post card………..