Maghull – Foot and cycle path to Park Lane from new station

I’ve raised this issue a few times recently as back when the Poppy Fields housing estate site was down to be a new prison there was, along with the new Maghull North Station, an access path to be constructed right through to Park Lane. The path was brought into the the design of the site so to provide easier access to the new station for residents in the Park Lane area.

Here’s part of the access path looking towards Park Lane from Maghull North Station car park. Like Goldcrest Road it was constructed as part of the initial works for the prison that was cancelled.

My concern and indeed that of others has been that whilst the new station has been completed there’s no sign of the path being completed and opened up. This led me to chase up Merseytravel and Sefton Council and I now have what looks like some good news. This statement is from Sefton Council Highways Dept:-

I can confirm that I have persuaded Persimmon Homes to incorporate this footpath within their formal s38 Highways Act 1980 submission for the roads and footpath to be put forward to the Council for formal adoption. They will in turn become highways maintainable at public expense.

My thanks to Sefton Highways for chasing this matter through and gaining a good end result. It will just be a question of time now before the footpath/cycle path is completed and opened up for public use. That timescale is presently unknown and is down, I understand, to the phasing of the house builder’s works on the Poppy Fields site.

Hope that helps? Oh and BTW Sefton Highways have also agreed to take up the issue of the requested dropped kerb (for cyclists) onto School Lane where the recently opened level access to the new station reaches the pavement.

Rimrose Valley – New road protests against Highway’s England’s Plans

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

The BBC has the latest story regarding the protests against the proposed new road on its web site – see link below:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-45698331

Footpath and cycle path through the lovely Rimrose Valley County Park

Separately I’m hearing, via informed railway sources, that the lack of progress with regard to improved rail freight facilities/rail connections to the Port of Liverpool may be putting Network Rail in the spotlight. It seems clear to me that the less containers that go by train to and from the Port then the more will have to go via road.

Class 66 Diesel Locos at Seaforth Container Terminal

I also understand that the biomass trains from the Port to Drax Power Station need to travel by a more direct rail route to feed the ongoing demand. Having said that it’s debatable, to me, how long these wood pellet trains will run as the environmental benefits of the fuel are at best dubious.

Happy to correct anything in this posting if my sources are not correct.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – At last, level access to Maghull North Station

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.

Maghull – It’s new North Railway Station will have level access soon – Only 3 months after it opened!

Well the pressure finally brought about some action and work is proceeding – This is how things looked earlier today:-

But who will provide the dropped kerb to enable cyclists to access the station off School Lane? Oh no, let’s hope it not another case of here we go again; let’s guess the likely responses:-

It was not considered as part of the new station build project
or
It’s Merseytravel’s/Merseyrail’s/Sefton Council’s/Persimmon’s/Network Rail’s responsibility
or
Sefton Council will provide a dropped kerb if someone else pays for it
or
There’s no money and its not going to happen
or
Common sense will prevail and someone in authority will get it done ASAP

Take your pick but don’t hold your breath because I’m beginning to think that too many things about this new station project were not thought about/planned for.

PS. I’m still awaiting some firm information about the proposed foot/cycle path through to the station from Park Lane i.e. is it going to happen and if so when?

Ormskirk – Preston Trains an update on a line that’s struggled to deliver decent service levels for a very long time now

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.

Along with many railway routes across the Northern Rail franchise the Ormskirk – Preston Line has suffered some very poor levels of performance for a long time now. Indeed, whilst you may be forgiven for thinking the melt-down that is Northern Rail started when the May 2018 was brought in the reality is that the rot set in well before that on this line. Cancellations and the dreaded rail replacement buses have been the norm for much longer than that sadly.

OPSTA*, the local volunteer rail campaign group, have been trying to hold Northern Rail’s feet to the fire so to speak in an attempt to push them to address all the many problems that have beset the line and here is the latest from them:-

They have been pressing Northern on why the service has been so abysmal in recent weeks and what steps they are taking to improve.

In response Northern stated that in the last 4 weeks the majority of cancellations were down to infrastructure failure** with 40% attributable to unavailability of traincrew or a train unit. Northern has claimed actions are being taken to bring about an improved service.

From Monday (17th) a new traincrew roster/link comes into effect and this has been designed to optimise performance and minimise all traincrew related cancellations for all Lancashire routes. We will of course be monitoring closely as ever.

OPSTA are looking for response and feedback on other matters raised with Northern but one thing seems clear, the final bus replacement service (11.26 Preston departure) may not be reverted to train before December.

OPSTA will continue to pursue the issues and concerns over replacement bus services, last minute cancellations and lack of revenue protection/ticket selling.

With thanks to Alan for the lead to this posting

* Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers Association is a rail campaign group made up of volunteers who are dedicated to improved train services on the Ormskirk – Preston and Southport – Wigan – Manchester lines operated by Northern Rail

** for ‘infrastructure failure’ read Network Rail as they are responsible for the track, signaling etc. on which the trains run. The response would seem to indicate that Northern feel that the majority of problems are out of their control.

Does the West of Lancashire Community Rail partnership serve a useful purpose?

I’ve been reading in RAIL magazine (issue 855 – June 20th – July 3rd) all about how CRP (Community Rail Partnerships) can deliver social benefits and many other things. And then I thought about the two lines covered by the West of Lancashire CRP and wondered what on earth does it do?

I found a link to it’s web site and you can see it here

www.communityraillancashire.co.uk/lines/west-of-lancashire/

It’s profile is low and frankly these two lines have many issues with cancelled trains, overcrowded trains (Southport Wigan Line), lack of Sunday services (Ormskirk – Preston Line) etc. etc. So how effective is the CRP at addressing these issues? Based on the fact that pretty much all the social media input and campaigning on the issues/problems raised above seems to emanate from SRTF (Southport Rail Transport Forum) and OPSTA (Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers Assn) I really do wonder what the CRP actually does and how it engages with the communities it serves?

Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Norther trains meet

Anyway, only the Ormskirk Preston Line is actually designated as a CRP line as defined by Government so the Southport – Wigan Line through West Lancs Borough can only be some form of informal CRP I guess.

I hear that Lancashire County Council are at best lukewarm over the potential to reopen the old station at Midge Hall on the Ormskirk – Preston Line despite the district council for the area being keen to press on with the reopening associated with major house building going on not so far away from the old station. Is this not the kind of project the CRP should be up and running with to develop the line?

And just what has the CRP done to address the lack of Sunday trains on the Ormskirk – Preston Line? This has been a local transport issue needing to be resolved for a long time now, particularly with the huge number of students in and around Ormskirk at Edge Hill University.

Departure board at Southport Station.

Then we look at the loss of virtually all the trains on the Southport – Wigan – Manchester Line into Manchester Piccadilly Station, the vast majority of which now terminate at Manchester Victoria to the inconvenience of many Southport and West Lancs rail users. Just how has the CRP tried to influence this pressing issue?

Also, the Southport line was until recent times on the list to be electrified all be that some vague number of years down the line – no pun intended. The line has old trains which are run in an overcrowded way and with unreliability being the unfortunate watchword. And this well predates the May 2018 timetable meltdown by many years.

What I’m getting at here is that from my perspective the CRP is hardly high profile on any of these issues and the voluntary sector in the form of SRTF and OPSTA have seemingly had to take the lead in battling with our failed railway industry.

So I can I ask again what purpose does the West of Lancashire CRP serve?