Councillor calls for action over Birkdale’s railway barriers

14th January 2019

A call has come from local Lib Dem councillor Simon Shaw for progress to be made in 2019 on the long-standing issue of Birkdale’s railway crossing barriers being down for extended periods.

Local motorists and bus users have long complained that the barriers, particularly at Birkdale Station and Aughton Road, are frequently down for 6 to 8 minutes in each 15 minute cycle. This leads to lengthy queues of motorists and causes delays for local bus services.

“Many Birkdale residents complain that the barriers are ‘always down’ and certainly there are periods when they spend more time down rather than up,” says Cllr Shaw.

According to the Birkdale Ward councillor, local bus services have suffered in the recent past due to the length of time that the crossing barriers stay down.

“For example Arriva used to operate a bus service along Upper Aughton Road and Everton Road until around four years ago. One of the main reasons they withdrew it was the difficulty of operating a reliable service when they could be stuck at the Upper Aughton Road level crossing for seven or eight minutes.”

Now Cllr Shaw says that a solution could be in sight with the new rolling stock due for introduction on the Northern Line within the next two years.

“As well as carrying a lot more passengers, the new trains will also be faster” he says.

“What this means is that there is more time, either at Hunts Cross or at Southport, before the train heads back. It seems clear to me that this gives an opportunity for the timetable to be tweaked in a way that means less waiting for motorists and buses at Birkdale’s level crossings.”

“I’ve already had talks last autumn with Arriva’s Southport manager about the difficulties his drivers face. More recently I had discussions with a senior manager at Merseytravel to discuss how improvements could be achieved.”

“What I was told was that Merseyrail and Merseytravel would turn their attention later in 2019 to the new timetables. So I will be pressing them at that time to seize the opportunity given by the faster trains to make life better for Birkdale residents and bus users.”