Southport – Crescent Road level crossing

A 507/508 EMU Merseyrail unit at Crescent Road level crossing – Birkdale, Southport.

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link below

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/driver-forced-emergency-stop-train-15147261

Quote from the article – ‘A Merseyrail driver was forced to carry out an emergency stop on a train in a terrifying near miss when three people stood in the path of the oncoming train.

The driver of Merseyrail’s Hunts Cross to Southport service reported the “harrowing” incident shortly after 4.30pm on August 31.

As the service was passing through Birkdale, three people appeared from behind a passing train going in the other direction on the opposite track.’

Wow how stupid can people be?!

With thanks to the Liverpool Echo for using my photo in this article.

Southport – A grand day out at the cricket

1st Division County Championship Cricket returned to Southport & Birkdale’s ground yesterday. It was the first day of a four day game Lancashire V Worcestershire.

The weather, so important to a cricket match, held too although it was a little chilly for the first hour of play. There was a big crowd too packed into the compact ground which is right next to the Liverpool – Southport railway line.

Worcestershire batted first and they were all out for 222 with Lancs seemingly in difficulties at 96 for 5 at the close of play. The batsman of the day was undoubtedly Brett D’Oliveria grandson of the world famous cricketer Basil D’Oliveria. Here’s a photo of Brett batting with a link to Worcestershire CCC’s page about him and his famous grandad:-

www.wccc.co.uk/players/brett-doliveira/

A lovely relaxing day at the cricket and for £10 it’s good value when you consider the prices of going to see any professional sport these days. Well done to the Birkdale Club for putting on another excellent game, here’s to next year.

The lead photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

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

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them

Southport – The bucket list

Sunset as seen from the end of Southport Pier

The Liverpool Echo has come up with a bucket list for Southport and it’s on the newspaper’s web site – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/things-southport-before-you-die-14353042

Come to Sunny Southport and do the Echo bucket list!

Southport – An open top bus tour

Well it was an open top bus tour and it was on a vintage Southport Corporation bus, but the tour was actually around St. Helens rather than Sunny Southport.

A visit to an open day at the North West Museum of Road Transport (see previous posting) in St. Helens on 6th May brought about my open top bus tour. It was great that they had got out a vintage Southport Corporation bus to do honours, not least because the sun was cracking the flags in St. Helens just as it was in Sunny Southport that day.

The colour scheme of the former Southport Corporation (red and cream) was just made to make their buses stand out. So sad that our local seaside Town has lost all its colourful buses.

City Regions and their Metro Mayors – Middle aged white men! Big diversity issues here but the concept of City Regions is flawed too

ciltuk.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/Focus/Mayors.pdf?utm_source=http%3a%2f%2fciltemail.org.uk%2fcilt2011lz%2f&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Focus+_+May+_+2018&utm_term=How+have+the+metro+mayors+changed+British+politics%3f+%7c+May%27s+Focus+is+out+now!&utm_content=22855&gator_td=iT217sLHzHCoAXs18511elTuBZj1y%2bUBNsQ2o7DKf48Ic4IydWBQNaS7%2fFOG2l2wyKQc4JXZU1IwHtb%2bpWgqMLq5FmgGg%2b0arS69lo9I6mhxB3EwtEt8pRb3rC8KyWS2Hs0%2bO4QDHRDiyF8uROrzpNskgsTlxZ1gq3d5tjGKKoeO55z6Y6P5Szll43dbyFFILza%2fFcHZo3LJ9DDTp8PbDQ%3d%3d

The article is on the web site of Logistic and Transport Focus and is available via the link above

So many white middle aged men, yet most of them will be representing very ethnically diverse regions of England – regions where around 50% of the population will also be women I might add. A diversity disaster is my first thought.

I have always opposed the concept of City Regions and elected Mayors for a number of reasons. I don’t support the idea of concentrating power in the hands of one person, whomever that person may be, as it is a poor form of representation which does not deliver good democracy. Secondly, the devolved powers (certainly as far as the Liverpool City Region/Merseyside are concerned) are 2nd or even 3rd rate. But probably more than anything else I see power and resources being pulled into the heart of a City Region often at the expense of its surrounding towns and communities.

I can’t comment of the other City Regions as I’m not well enough informed but looking at my own Liverpool City Region I see two obvious examples of a pull to the centre and a disregard of an important issue to an outlying town.

The pull to the centre is the removal of around 3,000 civil servants from a deprived area into Liverpool City Centre. The losing community here is Bootle where a mini-Whitehall had been established over many years starting in the 1960’s. Yes some civil servants will be left in Bootle but why on earth take 3,000 of them out to place them in a crowded city centre where property is more expensive and the parking charges faced by poorly paid civil servants are high. Surely a lose lose situation especially when you take away the spending power of 3,000 workers from the Bootle retail economy. What did the Liverpool City Regional do about this? Well whatever it was it was ineffective because decisions made in the real Whitehall could not be overturned? Or was it that despite the huffing the puffing by the powers that be locally it actually suited some to concentrate jobs in Liverpool City Centre?

My second example is of an outlying Liverpool City Region Town effectively being left all but unsupported, by any meaningful regional intervention, over an important transport link. The link is the railway line and service from Southport to Wigan, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport which is about to suffer from a poorer service due to decisions being made by Network Rail, Northern Rail and the railway industry generally. The problem has been known about for a long time so it has not been a quick decision that has been difficult to address in a short timescale. Yet the main campaigners against the move to downgrade Southport’s rail service to Manchester have been two voluntary organisations – OPSTA (Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers Assn) and Southport Rail Transport Forum. Where exactly has the Liverpool City Region and its Transport Committee Merseytravel been during this process and what have they done to defend the loss of an important rail link to Manchester Airport and a much reduced service to Manchester Piccadilly? But looking back further to when the Liverpool City Region produced its first Long Term Rail Strategy the Southport – Wigan – Manchester Line did not even get a mention! That had to challenged and it was (successfully to some degree) but the 2nd iteration of this plan, published only last October, clearly makes the line little more than less than important to the City Region.

So my view remains that the concept of City Regions and City Region Mayors is badly flawed and that it can work to the disadvantage of towns surrounding a big city area. That neglect can manifest itself by things being drawn towards the centre or by issues in outlying towns being all but ignored. Look at it like this City Regions, as they are presently set up, are a bit like the overheated economy of the South East – a magnet for money to the City with crumbs from the city’s table finding its way to the outlying areas. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that as a rule of thumb any investment in an outlying City Region area will only happen if it is also to the advantage of the main hub.

Oh and just in case you’ve forgotten the other big issue – the City Region Mayors are all middle aged white men, just think on that.

Note – Both of the examples I have focused on above are within Sefton Borough

Southport’s crime and policing problems as seen by BBC Panorama

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/panorama-investigates-southport-burglaries-traders-14577470

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its web site – see link above

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting