Liverpool – The trouble getting there early on a Sunday morning

We live in a 7 day a week society/economy these days and I often wonder if there is not more traffic on our roads on a Sunday than any other day.

But this is not really a posting about the rights and wrongs about Sunday trading. I’m an atheist so the religious angles are not an issue for me but I am also a trade unionist and I really do fear the exploitation of workers and a breakdown of family life. However, I will leave those aspects to one side for now.

No, the reason for this posting is associated with the ability of those who do not drive to be able to access a city like Liverpool from its northern suburbs early on a Sunday morning.

Let’s look at Merseyrail and Maghull to start with. The first train out of Maghull on a Sunday morning is at 8.30am. And if you live north of Ormskirk the Ormskirk – Preston line does not run at all on a Sunday!

Then what about say Lydiate and Arriva buses? Well their first 300 bus on a Sunday to Liverpool is at 08.25am.

But are there any other bus options? Well there’s the No.30/30A bus which starts from Ashworth Hospital. The first bus (30A) on a Sunday runs at 7.22am from Ashworth using Dodds Lane, Moss Lane, Hall Lane, Liverpool Road South. Note it does not serve the north west of Maghull or Lydiate at all. The next bus is a number 30 which starts at 7.43am and covers a similar route although it does call in at Maghull Railway Station at 7.51am some 39 minutes before the first train out of Maghull to Liverpool.

If you need to be in work early on a Sunday and do not have a car or more likely are in a low paid job and can’t afford to run one what are your options if you live in the north west part of Maghull or any part of Lydiate other than a high cost taxi?

PS. I penned this posting before Merseytravel’s Sefton Bus Review proposals were made public just yesterday but I don’t think they change this situation much sadly:-

My last but one posting prior to this one was about the impact of the Sefton Bus Review on the Lydiate and Maghull area.

Northern Rail – Hardly covering themselves in glory on Ormskirk Motor Festival Day

Northern the new franchisee running trains all over the north of England (outside of areas like Merseyside which has its own Merseyrail) agreed to do something quite positive recently and then in the words of one rail traveller ballsed it all up on the day.

Ormskirk Station - The train in the foreground is Preston bound.

Ormskirk Station – The train in the foreground is Preston bound.

The good move was to agree to run trains on the Ormskirk – Preston line on the Sunday of Ormskirk Motor Festival a couple of weeks ago. Normally no trains run on this line on a Sunday, although goodness knows why not when Ormskirk is such a big university town, but that’s another story.

So having agreed to run 5 trains each way and publicity having been put in place by both Northern themselves and volunteer group OPSTA (Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers Assn) two disasters befell the well laid plans.

Firstly, the 2nd train from Preston to Ormskirk and return did not run because Northern took the driver off it to replace a driver shortage elsewhere. Now you would think they had drivers on call for such eventualities, would you not? However, they were a driver short for whatever reason and seemingly could not find another one!

But it gets better or sadly worse! Northern tried to plug the gap by putting on a rail replacement bus but how on earth were travellers supposed to know about it? The fact is that the majority did not.

But don’t splutter yet as another disaster befell Northern when the train unit that had been stood a Preston for a couple of hours then would not start, well at least one motor in the trailing carriage would not start. The solution more delays as the last carriage was left behind after being uncoupled.

Despite this carry on reports are that a lot of people either did use the train or tried to do so and were in effect caused to give up on it. I hope Northern don’t get cold feet when such welcome initiatives are being considered for the future but I also hope they get themselves better organised!