My previous posting of 3rd June reported on the potential for some trains running into and out of Liverpool to Scarborough being disability unfriendly from July this year – the link below refers:-
Thankfully The RAILWAY Magazine reports in its July edition that the plan, which would clearly have made life more difficult for those with disabilities has been dropped.
I am a regular reader of the The RAILWAY Magazine and unsurprisingly its January 2017 edition gives prominence to the £460m contract awarded to Swiss manufacturer Stadler to build the next generation of trains for the Merseyrail electrified network.
All this we already know but one aspect of the Railway Magazine article jumped out at me. Maybe it has been said before and possibly I just missed it but I thought this quote was quite telling ‘The new trains will be able to run under driver-only operation (DOO); following a fatal platform accident in 2011, the Office of Road and Rail has been working closely with Merseyrail to achieve the aim of DOO at some future point.’
Firstly, it seems to me that the ‘decision’ to go with driver-only operation was probably taken, if not by formal resolution by public transport body Merseytravel, quite some time ago. Remember this:- But a spokeswoman for the travel body said it could not reveal whether bidders to run the service were proposing driver-only trains or not, citing commercial confidentiality laws. That quote is from the Liverpool Echo dated 28th July 2016.
Secondly, this is the first time I have seen a direct connection made with the 2011 accident and driver-only operation. Is the implication now that the powers that be are saying that if DOO had been in operation back then the accident may have/would have been avoided? Or is it simply a smokescreen being thrown up to try to justify DOO?
This whole procurement process does not exactly fill me with a huge amount of confidence. And can there be any wonder that rail union RMT is feeling like they have been shunted into the sidings whilst things have been progressed elsewhere?
The May edition of The Railway Magazine has a 6 page article entitled Pier Pleasure all about the pier railways of the UK of which we are told there used to be more than a dozen.
Few are left now but here in Sunny Southport we still have one and there is a short write up about the history of our local pier railway together with a photo of the Silver Belle diesel powered train which ran on the pier up until the 1970’s.
The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:- www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/15748367594/in/photolist-pZCv2d-nB5wK3-njPo5G-qWy4zN