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?

If Northern can’t run trains then West Coast can!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tfD44iwqs4&t=34s

The video is on You Tube – see link above

So as the Northern Trains franchise fails in a shambolic way just look what is happening on the Lakes Line (Oxenholme to Windermere) where locals have taken things into their own hands and embarrassed the railway industry and Department for Transport wholesale.

Reminds me a bit of the Ealing Comedy Titfield Thunderbolt film

Northern Trains – It just gets worse! –

Ormskirk Station – The train in the foreground is Preston bound. The one behind it is Liverpool bound.

Northern has stated unequivocally there will be no Sunday services during June and July on the Ormskirk – Preston Line! It has been only a couple of weeks since we were told that Sunday running trains (unusual for this particular line) would be put on to help combat the closure of Liverpool Lime Street Station! My previous posting refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/05/27/summer-sunday-service-schedule-preston-ormskirk-line/

The Weekday (Monday-Fridays) trains on the same line are often being replaced by buses presently. An Optimistic scenario is that trains may be back all day from Monday 18th or that it might be a staged return to trains. However, the Route Director is saying the emergency timetable for Ormskirk – Preston will remain in place until end of July unless they complete driver training sooner. Saturdays: it appears to be trains running all day.

And the business leaders of Northern still have jobs it seems, whatever next.

With thanks to OPSTA for the lead to this posting although the opinions expressed are my own.

Northern and Grayling – An utter shambles – Heads need to roll!

If you thought our appalling train services run by Northern could not get any worse well you’re wrong because they are doing as failing becomes utter shambles!

This is Ormskirk Station with a train from Preston just arriving

Locally, the recently announced opening of the Ormskirk – Preston Line on a Sunday throughout the summer, due to the closure of Liverpool Lime Street, has been turned on its head as Northern have now said there will not be any trains running this Sunday – 10th June. What’s more those in the know seem to think that the promised Sunday service could well be a non-runner for more Sundays than just this coming one. Check before you travel on any Northern train as none of their services can be relied upon these days.

A little further afield South Lakes MP Tim Farron got an assurance earlier this week from Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in Parliament that he would not support an extension of the two weeks worth of cancelled trains on the Lakes Line to Windermere only for a few days later it to be announced that the cancellations were being extended!!!

It really is time for heads to roll in the railway industry for this utter shambles and Grayling should resign in shame himself for overseeing this mess and chaos. Northern Powerhouse Rail my foot it’s Northern Poorhouse Rail at the very best. We are being treated like second class citizens up north.

And as for the outgoing head of Network Rail getting a CBE! – see link below:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44423311

Summer Sunday Service Schedule Preston – Ormskirk Line!!!

Ormskirk Station – The train in the foreground is Preston bound. The one behind it is Liverpool bound.

Well it’s because of railway engineering work and the part closure of Liverpool Lime Street Station throughout the summer but hey at least it’s a service on the Ormskirk – Preston Line on a Sunday.

Of course the caveat must be, are Northern capable of delivering the service based on their inability to deliver a regular service on many of their lines at presently?

The service will operate every Sunday from June 3rd up to and including July 29th.

You will find full times for journeys up to July 8th through online travel enquiries at Northern, National Rail etc. There will be 6 services each way similar to last October, see below.

Please check before you travel.

OPSTA (Ormskirk Preston and Southport Travellers Association) will be conducting passenger counts and possibly a survey or two.

Sunday Preston departures

1042

1213

1412

1534

1711

1834

Sunday Ormskirk departures

1135

1251

1452

1635

1752

1935

What will it take for Government to realise that folks want to travel by train on a Sunday all the time, year in year out? They don’t close Motorways on a Sunday!

Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Northern trains meet

Mobility Scooters and Northern’s aged train fleet sadly don’t mix

Mind the gap – It is often the height difference between a train door and station platform which causes difficulties for those with a disability.

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/disabled-pregnant-woman-not-allowed-13953682

The Liverpool Echo has the story on it s web site – see link above

How long has the Disabled Discrimination Act (DDA) been in place? Well it came into effect in 2005 and was then added to/superseded by the Equities Act of 2010 yet still people with disabilities are left at a disadvantage.

Frankly it is not good enough in my book.

The photo is amongst my flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/