Well according to their Chairperson, Liam Robinson, they are.
I reported on OPSTA’s (Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers assn) public meeting a few days ago which was actually held in the community room of Southport Fire Station of all places. That posting was about the utterly appalling train service, or indeed the complete lack of a train service last week, on the Ormskirk Preston Line and here’s a link back to that posting:-
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not blaming Liam Robinson in any way for Northern’s terrible performance but he listened to stories of Northern’s Failures at the meeting (he was our guest speaker) and because he has an influence on Rail North those sad stories were heard and you never know……….
I quite like Liam’s handling of transport issues on Merseyside and I feel he has been a positive influence on what to me seemed to be struggling public sector organisation before he took the chair of it. Yes, I know we live it terribly tribal party political times and I’m expected to hate anyone who is not a Lib Dem; well I don’t think in traditional British political tribal terms………
Stadler Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s
Cllr. Robinson presented his vision of how bus services could be improved in the Liverpool City Region (beyond the present Bus Alliance with Arriva and Stagecoach) and he talked in very enthusiastic terms about the Class 777 Stadler trains that Merseytravel have ordered for the Merseyrail network. Without being prompted he also made reference to the potential to extend Merseyrail Northern Line beyond Ormskirk to Burscough and even Preston although he was clear that he was not promising that it would happen. To be honest passengers on that line would welcome it being run using the Titfield Thunderbolt of Ealing Comedy fame as surely no one could run it as badly as Northern have been doing.
The other rail thing that he touched on and which is vital to expanding the Merseyrail system is the lack of capacity at Liverpool Central Station. If that issue is not seriously addressed in the near future there’s every possibility, in my view, that Merseyrail will be stuck with a bottle-neck which will impede the running of our local railway.
So yes I was pleased to sit and listen to Liam at the meeting and readers who have a liking for tribal politics will have to be disappointed with me.
Merseyrail Class 508 EMU at Maghull Station
The Liverpool Echo has the story on its website – see link below
Well, I’m certainly no fan of Andy Burnham, who has always struck me as popularist who jumps from policy to policy depending on which way the political wind is blowing, but has his latest pronouncement as Mayor of Greater Manchester hit the right note in terms of trying to reduce congestion on our roads?
A Manchester Metrolink Tram
Here’s a link to Transport for Greater Manchester’s website with details of their low fare scheme:-
Would I be right that Mersey Metro Mayor was caught on the hop by the Echo in effect challenging him to come up with a similar deal for Merseyside? The fact that a spokesperson from Merseytravel responded for the Mayor makes he think so.
My own view is that public transport needs to be cheap, reliable, convenient and of high quality and frequency if we are to get folk to leave their environmentally challenging cars at home.
Well I actually came face to face with a mock-up of one of the new trains at Birkenhead’s Pacific Road Building as the first actual train is not due to be delivered until 2019. Here are my photos:-
The two Merseytravel reps with the mock-up were really informative and helpful on the day I went to have a look, which was in fact the last day the unit was on display in Birkenhead.
It is now being set up at Liverpool’s Lime Street Station for a further period of display to the public – 5-18 November, Mon-Sun 7.00 to 18.30
My only worry is that there may still, like with the present 507/508 rolling stock, be insufficient space for cycles.
On an amusing aside I got into conversation with a fellow railway enthusiast about the new trains and they suggested to me that the seats were a little hard. Well firm, I’ll give you that but, but not uncomfortable in my view. The same conversation went on to compare them with seats on some Cumfybus buses which despite the name of the bus company are a little on the firm side:-)))
The first photo is also on my Flickr page at:-
I guess that any new building and construction will have its snagging issues but Maghull’s new North station certainly has had what some folk would suggest is more than its fair share.
* No level access off School Lane for pedestrians, cycles and those with disability until 3 months after the station was opened and still no dropped kerb off School Lane for cyclists.
* A rather strong smell which I’m told is now being attended to.
* Lifts not working to platforms for first couple of weeks after station opening.
* Still a non-functioning public toilet
* No pedestrian/cycle path from Park Lane yet
* Appalling noise from testing of PA system
* Why only one small open shelter on the busy Liverpool bound platform?
Another issue raised by some locals is the old 6ft wooden boarded fence which has mostly been taken away but for part that fronts the station onto School Lane. Yes it presently has artwork on large banners affixed to it that was produced by local school children but obviously those banners will have a limited life. What happens to the old fence then? It will be no positive advert for Merseyrail that’s for sure when the banners are gone.
And of course there’s some head scratching going on about why the bus stops are a fair step or fifty away from the station:-
Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted that it’s been built as I campaigned for it over many years but I really do wonder about the detail of the project management. And you may wonder why I’ve not mentioned the size of the car park which is clearly a problem too i.e. it seems to be far too small. Well yes it is but that’s really a consequence of the lack of adequate car parking at the 3 stations north of Maghull North, indeed Aughton Park has none at all! Also the pricing structure of tickets can encourage folk to drive to Maghull’s 2 stations to pick up a Liverpool bound train. Trouble is this in turn means that whilst Maghull has a vast car park and Maghull North has a reasonably sized one there’s no room on a normal work day in either for Maghull, Lydiate and Melling resident’s cars unless they get there very early. This unfortunate conundrum, which will inevitably lead to more and more commuter’s cars being parked on the Poppy Fields Estate, needs to be addressed by Merseytravel & Lancashire County Council.
Click on any of the photos to enlarge them.
Well we’ve waited for 3 months but finally level access to Maghull’s new North Station has been provided off School Lane and it was open yesterday:-
Still no dropped kerb for cyclists though, so they can access the path, so time to put some pressure on Sefton Council to get that work done. And surely the bill should be paid by Merseytravel, should it not? This is the offending kerb:-
More news when I get it.