Liverpool – A map for its future rail connections across the region?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/how-liverpools-rail-system-could-8979832

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Anyone would think that I am a railway enthusiast because today two people have sent me a link to the above Liverpool Echo article. So thanks Keith Page and Andrew Brown you have me banged to rights it seems.

A Merseyrail electric unit at Bootle New Strand Station

A Merseyrail electric unit at Bootle New Strand Station

Seriously, this forward thinking by Kayla Bibby is worthy of significant consideration as Merseyside’s rail network desperately needs to grow so that it encompasses the whole of the travel to work area for Liverpool. Not only that but major towns like Southport need far better rail connectivity especially with Preston but also with Ormskirk.

This promotional Merseytram bookmark is about all that Liverpool City Region has to show for its big tram ideas.

This promotional Merseytram bookmark is about all that Liverpool City Region has to show for its big tram ideas.

Merseytravel went off the rails a few years ago when it got pulled into the tram mania that has been sweeping city after city in the UK. Don’t get me wrong I think trams are a great idea but on Merseyside we already had a good heavy rail network which could reasonably easily be expanded. To wander off dreaming about trams was an unnecessary waste of a few years and a huge amount of public money; no wonder the last Labour Government said no to Merseytram.

Let’s see what from Kayla Bibby’s map can reasonably be achieved and then get the ball rolling or the train on the tracks.

Map of railways Southport-Ormskirk-Preston

Just look what we have lost.

rsz_north_eastern_railway_tiled_map

Above is a photo of a part of one of the famous North Eastern Railway tiled maps which now is preserved at the National Railway Museum in York. This part of the map covers the Sefton/West Lancs area and Preston.

The most obvious rail loss is the line from Southport to Preston. You could not imagine it being closed now if it had survived the Beeching era. Just think how it could be helping the Southport economy by bringing visitors to the Town and how it would assist in getting students between Southport and Preston. And this gets me back on my soap box about the inadequate nature of the both the Sefton and West Lancashire Local Plans as neither have majored on fixing the appalling east/west travel difficulties that are holding the Southport economy back.

But also look at the line leaving Ormskirk and running to Rainford Junction. This line also served Skelmersdale, a Town now desperate to to reconnected to the UK rail network and with some plans to try to achieve it.