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Old November 30th, 2012, 10:25 PM   #861
Martin S
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Originally Posted by Gareth View Post
Although I'd still ideally prefer a station a little further north, a station here could be a great boon for what is still a terribly dilapidated part of the city centre. The creation of this station should go hand in hand with the St James district on the whole. The wastelands should be replaced with some decent density appartment blocks, complete with neighbourhood services such as shops and leisure faclities. As for the land; the MTR Company in Hong Kong make a lot of money on building above their underground stations. So, there may be a booking hall on the ground floor, but offices and apartments on several floors above that. Of course, the economy of Hong Kong is a lot bigger than Liverpool and land is at more of a premium, but I still think such a strategy could help Merseytravel/Merseyrail somewhat. I believe they were thinking along these lines when Conway Park was planned but backed out of it. Of course, Birkenhead in 1998 is not the same as Downtown Liverpool in 2012, even if it is a particularly rundown part of it, so perhaps they should consider it.
Compared to building Conway Park, re-opening St James should be a piece of cake as the main construction work should be limited to building the platforms and a station entrance.

Conway Park involved the opening out of an existing trafficked tunnel and the creation of a large station box in which the platforms were constructed. The original idea was that the station should be roofed over and the land above sold for office development. Unfortunately, during the development process, the 1987 Kings Cross fire occurred and the Fennell report into that disaster recommended that all new underground stations be built to much more stringent standards which included the provision of mechanical smoke extract systems and passenger escape routes. Faced with this, the developers of Conway Park realised that the rental from any offices constructed above the station would never compensate for the cost of roofing in the station and the open trench idea was adopted.

For that reason, I doubt that they would want to roof in St James although it seems that quite a stretch of it would be built in the existing tunnel.
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Old November 30th, 2012, 10:32 PM   #862
Martin S
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Originally Posted by John Matrix 1985 View Post
http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/l...es/index.shtml

Some more info and images of the old station here
I had a look at that site yesterday afternoon. It shows the ground level station buildings in Parliament Street as they were around 1960 - many years after the closure.

Those buildings would have been demolished around the time that the road junction was remodelled as that involved a new section of bridge across the cutting.
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Old November 30th, 2012, 11:22 PM   #863
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It's interesting stuff that site Martin, I enjoyed looking at exchange station as well as I worked in Mercury Court up until a few years ago
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Why don't you get Bennett to do it? - sounds like something he'd get off on
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Old December 1st, 2012, 07:57 PM   #864
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I finally read the full Liverpool Post article about the reopening proposal today. Interesting that there was a proposal back in 1967 to have St James as the terminus for the Gateacre service with a 'fleet of buses' to take people there from the city centre.

I have never heard of that idea, which runs contrary to the Outer Rail Loop proposal that was being developed then. I suppose it must have been a fall back option to allow Central High Level to be closed and developed without constructing the Link Line.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 11:53 PM   #865
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I have never heard of that idea, which runs contrary to the Outer Rail Loop proposal that was being developed then. I suppose it must have been a fall back option to allow Central High Level to be closed and developed without constructing the Link Line.
Although I'm glad that never happened, it would be interesting to know how that part of town would have developed and whether it would be as dilapidated as it is today.

As for the land developement thing; I was not just think about the cutting itself. Even if that was a no-goer, the land on the north side of Parliament Street could be an opportunity, if they were to consider building an entrance there.

Last edited by Gareth; December 2nd, 2012 at 02:48 AM.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 02:13 AM   #866
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That Gateacre proposal does seem amateurish. I can't imagine people would want to get a bus to catch a train when they could do the whole journey by bus. What it does show is just how important the Gateacre service was seen back then - even though the route from Central is hardly direct. The station was meant to reopen as part of the Link Line scheme but money ran out and the line was only reopened as far as Garston and later, Hunts Cross.

Hard to say what impact the station being reopened would have on the area. Certainly, some of the derelict land in that area would be more attractive to developers. I suppose the station was originally constructed at that location because it is at the confluence of several routes and, therefore, has a potentially large customer base. Can't see that it would be a major transport node for Chinatown or the ACC but hopefully I'm wrong.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 09:51 AM   #867
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Virgin Rail gets west coast mainline for two more years

2 more years of Branson

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2...coast-mainline
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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:13 PM   #868
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Headbolt Lane and Skelmersdale

http://moderngov.merseytravel.uk.net...ail%20Link.pdf

Options up for study
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Old December 13th, 2012, 10:16 PM   #869
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Great, I suppose, but also - well this is a no-brainer anyway and has been for years. There have been brief windows for capital funding on rail, quite recently, but this hasn't been ready. Why was there no political impetus to fund this earlier? It's the balkanised politics of our city region, where decisions require an agony of negotiations and joint funding with other authorities. Greater Liverpool's local transport requires negotiations with officials in Cardiff, Preston and other places. It just shocks me that West Lancs can't be incorporated properly into the city region and Merseytravel.

Over and over again we find a simple truth: the whole city region ends up poorer because

a) some stupid people in Liverpool want to pretend they live in a tiny scouse village and refuse to accept the reality of the real city region that is bigger than their fantasy scouse village; and

b) some suburban politicians and the third rate local officials who serve them are able to hide the real impact of their "we're shire county people, us" fantasy on the living standards of their constituents.

Both mind-sets are to blame. And in this case it's not just the people of Skem who lose out, its everyone in the Liverpool region who lose out. This kind of thing happens over and over again. When will people learn?
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Old December 13th, 2012, 10:33 PM   #870
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Good that the study now has funding. There is an advantage to the whole Merseyrail network in that one of its shortest branches will be extended and, therefore, attract more passengers. There may even be a case for extending electrification all the way to Wigan Wallgate - something that was proposed at the time that the Kirkby branch was electrified back in 1977. In fact, the elimination of a small pocket of diesel working would result in cost savings.

I remember speaking to a town planner who had been involved in preparing a plan for the development of Skelmersdale. He said that Merseytravel knew exactly how to reconnect the town into the rail network (the former station was closed in 1956). He also revealed that, back when the town was being planned, it was a deliberate policy to have it remote from the rail network as the planners believed that allowing easy access for the townspeople to their friends and relatives in Liverpool would stop them from improving their lives.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 10:49 PM   #871
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I remember speaking to a town planner who had been involved in preparing a plan for the development of Skelmersdale. He said that Merseytravel knew exactly how to reconnect the town into the rail network (the former station was closed in 1956). He also revealed that, back when the town was being planned, it was a deliberate policy to have it remote from the rail network as the planners believed that allowing easy access for the townspeople to their friends and relatives in Liverpool would stop them from improving their lives.
Extremely interesting, and sadly not shocking.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 02:04 AM   #872
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I would say that the belief in that car as the future and rail as old hat probably had at least as much to do with it.

As for the extension, I do think properly into Skelmersdale would be ideal. A parkway station to the south would do little to reduce the dependency of the car, as one would still need access to a car, even though their would-be journey to Liverpool in it would be a lot shorter.

I'm not sure what would happen to the eastern part of the line. Perhaps this could be electrified too eventually, having both a Skem and Wigan branch of Merseyrail via Kirkby.

Last edited by Gareth; December 14th, 2012 at 06:53 PM.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 01:51 PM   #873
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Skem

The concept of Skem as a "new town" transforming a large village, preceded the concept of Merseyrail. The Liverpool to Ormskirk line was a fast electric service even before Merseyrail came about. The track at Skem was lifted in 1964 "after" the concept of Skem was born which was 1961. The Ormskirk line was scheduled for closure by Beeching. In Ormskirk and Skem the future looked rail-less.

Merseyrail emanates from the 1965 MALTS report. The seed of Merseyrail was from the Liverpool Labour corporation at the time who reversed the Beeching axe on the Southport and Ormskirk and the Gateacre lines. It was viewed in political circles in Liverpool that the closure of the well used, fast, electric, Southport and Ormskirk lines was political rather than economic, in order to reduce the importance of Liverpool by Whitehall. Matters were also somewhat up in the air in that Skem was in Lancashire and proposals for two metropolitan authorities centred on Liverpool and Manchester were in motion. It looked like the overspill of Liverpool, Skem, may be in bed with Liverpool. As it tuned out Whitehall whittled Merseyside down to a small area compared to Greater Manchester, insisting that the word Liverpool was not in the title. It was natural that Ormskirk and Skem were in with Liverpool, they left them out. All was very fluid in many respects in those days.

As Skem was still emerging as a town as Merseyrail was finally fixed as a firm project not a proposal, and the Ormskirk line was saved from Beeching's axe, provision could have been in place to reinstate the 3 miles of track to Ormskirk, which was the most convenient point to latch onto the existing electric network. A station could also have been built at Westhead between Skem and Ormskirk. The more direct route to Liverpool from Skem was the line south to Walton via Rainford Junction and Kirkby which was not electrified. This would need a new curve at Rainford. The line from Walton to Kirby was electrified in 1978. Skem has suffered because of this "oversight" ever since. Fast transport to the neighbouring big city is essential. One concern was that if there was a fast rail link Skem would be a sleeper town of Liverpool which happened in towns in the south relating to London. The aim was to make Skem an independent town in its own right.

It was also true the car was viewed as the future and rail was not wanted. Fifty years of neglect gave us trains that were slow and trains and stations were scruffy and dirty. Rail had a bad image. Only when the new Inter-city trains came about did people generally have faith in the future of rail. But the Ormskirk to Liverpool trains were very good and smart and clean enough although the stations were old and scruffy.

The trackbed from Skem to Ormskirk is largely intact. Irresponsibly a part of the bed was built over at Westhead. Moving the trackbed north a matter of metres would solve it. The trackbed from Skem to Rainford junction, which is on the diesel Kirkby to Wigan Wallgate line is largely intact.

Skem can be latched onto Merseyrail via two old trackbed routes: the 3 mile route to the west to Ormskirk or the line south west to Rainford Junction and onto Kirkby which is about 4 to 5 miles. The most direct and quickest route to Liverpool would be via Rainford Junction and Kirkby.

Rainford Junction is on the diesel Kirkby to Wigan Wallgate line run by Northern Rail. This means track from Rainford Junction south west to Kirkby will need to be electrified and brought into Merseyrail. This entails a curve being built around the south west of Rainford across fields by-passing the large village. The existing station would need to be inconveniently moved out of town to the south west in fields for Rainford Junction to be served by Merseyrail. Or better, a longer curve built to the north west of Rainford Junction taking in the existing station. Merseyrail's aspiration of having a station at Headbolt Lane in Kirkby would then be realized. Merseyrail stated five years ago they had secured funding to extend Merseyrail to Headbolt Lane and build a station, but so far nothing has happened. If funds are awaiting for a part of the line, then the route to Liverpool via Rainford Junction may not be as expensive as it first looks.

Merseyrail have made it clear they have aspirations of bringing Wigan Wallgate onto Merseyrail in the distant future. Manchester also have aspirations of extending the Metrolink tram to Wigan Wallgate. This would all tie in nicely to satisfy the both transport executives and give Skem, the second largest town in the north west without a rail link, a rail link and a direct route to Liverpool. Manchester may cry over Merseyrail running into Greater Manchester at Wigan. Manchester may want a direct service from Skem to Wigan for easy change to the Metrolink link for their city. In the future the three mile section of rail from Skem to Ormskirk could be reinstated and Ormskirk have easier access to Skem, Wigan and Manchester. This route to Wigan would need two new curves at Rainford junction peeling trains off to either Liverpool or Wigan. This is by far the most expensive and best solution. Many points are satisfied. In the short term the line from Skem to Kirkby via Rainford Junction would satisfy the immediate need of a fast, direct rail link to Liverpool from Skem. In the medium term extending Merseyrail and Manchester's Metrolink to Wigan Wallgate is made easier.

The third rail and overhead wired trains to be acquired from Thameslink will be ideal as electrifying via wires is cheaper than third rail. It may be probable that the single track sections would be made twin track again if the uptake is good. Merseytravel have also to make the decision of whether funding the more expensive electrification to Rainford, or Wigan Wallgate, is worth it, when the stations in Liverpool may bring in more economic growth, such as recommissioning St.James' station near the city centre and expanding overcrowded Central into four platforms. Merseytravel appear to be more concerned at extending the Merseyrail network at the peripheries rather than improve its core in Liverpool and Birkenhead.

Skem has a car culture with a town built around the car, and initially any station would not be well used. What is going for the project to make it a reality is that the Association of Train Operating Companies, called for funding for the reopening of the line from Ormskirk to Skelmersdale as part a scheme to open 33 stations on 14 lines closed in the Beeching axe.

The choice the study has to make is whether to get onto Merseyrail, Skem goes via Rainford junction or via the more roundabout route to Liverpool via Ormskirk. If they did make a recommendation and if it is even given funds to go ahead, I fear the cheaper indirect Ormskirk route will be chosen. I also fear it will not improve the town as the more direct route to Liverpool via Rainford Junction would which in time may give easy access to Wigan and onwards to Manchester. It is going to take modern, fast, clean and efficient services that get people into Liverpool quickly to get people in Skem out of their cars.

Duh!

Last edited by Duh!; December 16th, 2012 at 04:04 AM. Reason: typos
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Old December 14th, 2012, 01:59 PM   #874
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Cheap and easy to do. Duh!
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Old December 14th, 2012, 10:26 PM   #875
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Thanks Duh! for an extremely informative and interesting posting.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 04:16 AM   #876
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Best username ever!
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Old December 15th, 2012, 10:11 PM   #877
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I have been trying to see what type of train service that you could have if a Skelmersdale service were to be introduced.

It seems from the report posted by Mwmbwls that the town would be served from the Kirkby branch rather than the Ormskirk branch and that makes sense as it is the shortest route, adds to the traffic on a branch with spare capacity and allows a new station to be built at Headbolt Lane - a long running Merseytravel aspiration.

The simplest solution seems to be the extension to Upholland which would involve an extension of electrification from Kirkby and, to permit a four-hourly service, some extension of double-tracking. Presumably then the existing Kirkby to Wigan service (the remnant of the old Lancashire and Yorkshire service from Exchange) would be cut-back to Upholland.

Whilst this might be the simplest and cheapest, I doubt if it would have the greatest benefit:cost ratio as getting from Upholland to Skelmersdale would involve a car or bus journey and so not that much of a step change from a car or bus link to Ormskirk - particularly considering that Skelmersdale has a very low level of car ownership.

There would also be the fact that the cut-back Wigan service would be an uneconomic pocket of diesel working.

The other solutions for providing a service from Kirkby to Skelmersdale would be a new branch from Rainford Junction. The options considered include a terminus to the south of the M58 and at White Moss (hard to understand that one as White Moss Farm is just south of the M58 as well) and a continuation across the M58 to a new station in the town centre.

Clearly that last option would be the most effective one to meet the aspiration of giving Skelmersdale a rail service. I guess it is likely to be very expensive given the need to cross the M58 motorway but the benefit would be the greatest. The main problem seems to be what to do with the Wigan diesel service.

The obvious solution seems to be to provide a delta (two-way) junction at Rainford. That would allow the diesel service to interchange with the electric at the new Skelmersdale town centre station. That would add to journey time from Liverpool to Wigan but should be offset by the fact that Skelmersdale would have a direct route to Wigan.

If the decision were taken to electrify all the way to Wigan, then a turnback at Skelmersdale would be a minimal inconvenience for Liverpool to Wigan services.

The alternative would be to have a similar service to that which Chester and Ellesmere Port now have with separate services to Skelmersdale and Wigan from Liverpool. Whilst that would eliminate a Skelmersdale turnback, it would mean a less frequent service from Liverpool to both Wigan and Skelmersdale and prevent a direct service from Skelmersdale to Wigan.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 11:27 PM   #878
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I've always like the 'delta' idea. Perhaps it would only need a two tracks, one each for Merseyrail and Northern Rail. I'm not sure exactly where the junction would be though. Perhaps at the old junction just west of Rainford Station, where the line from St Helens through to Ormskirk used to be. It does appear the cutting's still there though I'm not sure in what condition and if parts have been built on. It's also a very westerly approach. Another option could be halfway between Rainford and Upholland, for a more central approach to get the line right into the middle of Skem, though this would require its own cutting.

The good thing about the delta plan is that it gives Skem the best of both worlds in terms of eastward and westward connections. It also ensures that the Northern Rail service remains viable and will have a logical western terminus. What we don't need is a parliamentary diesel island, like Ellesmere Port - Helsby, which is probably another logical candidate for Merseyrail extension.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 11:28 PM   #879
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Oh, he's back.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 01:31 PM   #880
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I hope some of the proposals in that study do get implemented.

I live on the outskirts of Kirkby close to the railway line, but nowhere near actual Kirkby station. It would be nice to have the ability to use Merseyrail to get into Liverpool City Centre without having to get a bus or walk to the other side of town.
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