Ormskirk and its traffic jams

I’ve blogged before about why Ormskirk needs and east-west by-pass for its own sake and indeed to enable better access to Southport. My November 2013 posting on this matter is an example – here it is via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/11/21/ormskirk-traffic-congestion-solved-by-the-new-switch-island-thornton-link-road/

Having been stuck in one of Ormskirk’s traffic jams a few days ago my thoughts turned to the East Lancashire town of Colne where a motorway just pours out into it and the ever gridlocked Harrogate over the Pennines in Yorkshire. Together with Ormskirk, they all seem to suffer from the same problem – traffic being funnelled right through a busy town as opposed to each having a bypass of some sort.

My mind then, being in a mischievous mood, stated to think about a new town entry sign for Ormskirk and its twin northern towns. How does this look?

Well yes, just a bit of fun on one level but also a nudge to Lancashire County Council on another. Oh, and by the way, it would also help a lot if trains were run from Ormskirk to Southport via reconnecting the Burscough south curve.

Cycle Routes – They are generally poor

The BBC has the article on its website – see link below

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46179270

As a cyclist, I find this article interesting and to the point. I’ve commented before along the similar lines by highlighting local cycle route inadequacies which I have encountered.

Often segregated cycle routes do not have logical ends and are in effect bits and pieces between destinations. The route from Switch Island to Ormskirk along the busy A59 is an example. From Switch Island to the Maghull boundary there’s a brand new cycle path but it stops well short of Liverpool Road South. Yes, I know that Sefton Council intends to address this but really it should have been done in tandem with Highways England doing the first stretch.

But then moving north through Maghull & Lydiate a safe cycle route has yet to be sorted out. It’s either the busy dual carriageway or pavement for cyclists.

A59 Cycle path becomes narrow pavement at Robins Island.

Then at Robins Island, a cycle path appears again, on both sides of the A59. Generally, it is in good condition but parts of it are not – patches of grass, poorly completed surface repairs & tree roots make the later stages of these cycle lanes poor. But then as you climb into Aughton the cycle route peters out altogether just like through Maghull & Lydiate. This makes the last mile or so into Ormskirk a cycling challenge.

This was the state of the Cheshire Lines Path through Great Altcar Civil Parish in the winter of 2017 – it’s not got any better.

I could illustrate other problem routes where cycling facilities in Sefton and West Lancashire are inadequate but will settle for just one. The Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail. This former railway track is in very poor condition through West Lancs because since it was created there has not been the regular maintenance that is clearly required. Some of the route is now really only suitable for mountain bikes and a once wide path where cyclists could pass each other is presently very narrow in places.

There is much to do to make our cycling routes safe, logical and well maintained.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

What happens if you throw water on a chip pan fire!

Not many of us use the old fashioned chip pans anymore probably because we are all pretty well aware of how dangerous they can be for starting house fires. As dangerous as this!:-

Sheila and I saw this demonstration by Lancashire Fire Brigade in Ormskirk about the dangers of using a chip pan. The photo above shows what happens if just a cup full of water is thrown into a chip pan fire. Below is the before photo with just the oil in the pan on fire:-

A sobering experience indeed and just imagine if that fire was within the confines of a kitchen! If you still have a old fashioned chip pan please ditch it.

The second photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

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

Ormskirk – From Wordsworth to the workhouse – Local history posting

Coat of Arms of Ormskirk’s 1779 Town Hall

www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/history/wordsworth-workhouse-nostalgia-looks-educational-14141153

The Southport Visiter has a fascinating local history article on its web site with regard to Ormskirk – You can access it via the link above

The 1779 Ormskirk Town Hall

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Kirkby – Another end of the line for Merseyrail (at present)

The Merseyrail half of Kirkby Station looking towards Liverpool.

I have posted previously about the bizarre severing of the Liverpool – Preston railway line at Ormskirk which leaves a great 15 minute service from Ormskirk to Liverpool and a far from impressive irregular service from Ormskirk to Preston.

My posting about the Liverpool – Preston Line is available via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/05/01/ormskirk-end-of-the-line-well-end-of-two-lines-actually/

But there’s another of these bizarre serverings on the Merseyrail network at Kirkby where the Liverpool – Wigan Line is in effect chopped in two. In some ways this is actually more bizarre than the severing at Ormskirk because there’s another Merseyside community which Merseyrail does not reach just up the line at Rainford, part of St Helens Borough. If a severing had to take place surely Rainford would have been the obvious place would it not? BTW I am not arguing for such split tracks, indeed they make no sense to me at all.

Kirkby (like Ormskirk) is a single line, single platform station where the two separate train services meet end on and like Ormskirk the service on to Wigan and beyond is far less frequent and the Merseyrail one into Liverpool.

Also like on the Ormskirk Line there is is always talk of the Merseyrail system being extended, in the case of the Kirkby Line onto Skelmersdale. To achieve this a brand new spur line needs to be built into the 1960’s ‘New Town’ of Skem as the planners of the day ripped up and built on the railway line that ran through the old town of Skem from Ormskirk to St Helens. It will also mean a new station as well so the bill will be huge if the project ever gets the go ahead.

Looking at this optimistically the proposals are reasonably sound as Merseyrail would then run directly into Skem with a separate diesel service from Skem to Wigan from the new station. If the project was in the south it would have have had money chucked at it at least a decade ago but with recent back-tracking by Government over rail electrification schemes across a huge swathe of Northern England, whilst Cross-Rail 2 in London starts to get the thumbs up from Ministers, optimism about rail investment in the North of any sort is in very short supply. So for the foreseeable future Merseyrail will continue to stop at Kirkby.

The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

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

Liverpool’s Lime Street Station Closure brings Sunday trains to Ormskirk – Preston Line for 3 Sundays

Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Norther trains meet

Whilst as I wrote this posting the final confirmation was still yet to appear on Network Rail’s online timetables my reliable information is that on Sundays 1st, 8th & 22nd of October the Ormskirk – Preston railway line will see trains operating.

The plan, I am told, is to operate six round trips between Preston and Ormskirk to the timetable below, including calls at all stations (Burscough Junction, Rufford & Croston) in both directions.

It’s possible that this timetable may change slightly. I also understand that there will be a replacement bus service for the Merseyrail service between Ormskirk and Liverpool on October 15th, that’s why there’s looks to be no Sunday service on the Ormskirk – Preston Line.

Why on earth this positive move was not released to the public weeks ago beats me. The cause of this change is the blockading of trains at Liverpool’s Lime Street Station which is in effect being all but closed in this period for a major upgrade by Network Rail.

The Ormskirk – Preston line rarely has a Sunday service (yes I know it’s 2017 and this is ridiculous), in fact it only has a Sunday Service each year on the day of Ormskirk Motorfest. So this move not will only assist travellers trying to get to and from Liverpool from the north/Scotland on these Sundays but it will also help locals move around too, not least Ormskirk’s large student community.

If I get any further updates I will post again. Here’s what I understand to be the proposed timetable for these 3 Sundays, but please check before travelling:-

Click on the draft timetable to enlarge it please and do check with TrainLine or another on-line timetable provider for up to date information prior to travelling.

My thanks to Alan for the lead to this posting.