Wirral Residents Urged to Participate in Rail Survey
|Author: Chris Howe||Published: 14th August 2012 09:10|
This article is being boosted back to the top of 'Latest' in order to alert residents to a petition that has now been created.
To sign the petition, go to: www.WrexhamBidstonAction.org.uk
Original article from 23.1.2012 follows:
As someone that has to, from time to time, travel to London and the West Midlands, I have had my share of rail journey experiences, most of which usually start at Hooton station despite the fact that I live in Neston.
Last week though I had a ticket booked from Liverpool Lime Street to Birmingham, so I thought I would try travelling to Liverpool from Neston. The journey out wasn't particularly bad or good, it took 43 minutes, the equivalent of driving to Hooton and then catching the train to Liverpool. However on the return journey I was surprised to find that between 18:56 and 20:56 there was no timetabled service heading to Neston from Bidston at all which, due to the time that I arrived back in Liverpool, meant I had to wait for an hour in Bidston. Quite why this is I have no idea, you would expect that with an hourly service provided through most of the day, a 19:56 service would have been included within the timetable
For me, this poor service highlights why the trains passing through Neston always look so empty and why Neston station itself doesn't appear to get much use, other than by the bored vandals who have been slowly destroying the shelters.
I think this is a shame as the line could be so useful to the residents of Heswall, Neston and Upton as it has connecting stations through to Liverpool and Chester. The Liverpool connection is not too bad, but with a 5 minute change for services to Liverpool from Bidston, it relies heavily on there being no problems further down the line, otherwise it involves a longer wait for the next train. The service back is even more reliant on a trouble- free service: if you miss the train departing from Bidston you have an hour's wait for the next one - unless you're unlucky enough to miss the 18:56 in which case you will have to wait for the 20:56 service!
Chester station is accessible if you are willing to change trains at Shotton. However there seem to be a lack of trains stopping at Shotton on the way to Chester which means the train arriving at Shotton from the direction of Bidston missed the only hourly train departing from Shotton on route to Chester. This means you have a 40 minute wait at Shotton, which makes for a total journey of at least an hour despite the services from Shotton to Chester only taking 11 minutes and from Neston to Shotton taking 10 minutes. With a not- too-impossible 10 minute connection time, the journey could easily be 30 minutes from Neston to Chester which would compete with the 40+ minute bus journey and puts it close to the same journey time by car.
It is for this reason that I wish to get feedback from residents who live close to Neston, Heswall and Upton stations. Even if you haven't used the line before or use it infrequently. My aim is to collect as much information as possible from real passengers who could imagine themselves taking advantage of the connections offered, if they were improved.
I will send the collated information and any recommendation to local MPs, Merseyrail, Arriva and any other travel groups who can help to try and give passengers the connections and journey times that would make the Wrexham - Bidston (Borderlands) line of real use the residents that it is supposed to serve.
It will take just a few minutes and will help me to gauge your opinion of this apparently unloved line.
I know electrification, with the subsequent direct services to Liverpool, is a long term aspiration of Merseyrail and the Welsh Government, but I simply cannot see this happening any time soon with the costs for such a scheme currently not offering good value for money.
It seems to be a Catch 22 situation, more people need to use the line in order for the Dft and Network Rail to justify investing in electrification or even just giving Arriva Train Wales more units to operate more frequent half hourly services. So Arriva TW and Merseyrail need to make the best of what they have available to make the line truly useful for passengers from the Wirral and, of course, Wales.
If you are on Facebook, you can also 'like' a page Chris has set up relating to this issue, here.