The city is far bigger than the map in area. All the Liverpool area shown on the map is now built on.
It is easy to see the great enhancement it makes to the city's underground. Approximately 80% of the Circle Line is already in place in the form of existing used lines and disused tunnels. It would create superb seamless connectivity all over the Liverpool region, especially when Liverpool John Lennon airport receives a station.
Expensive tram systems are not a priority, or immediate extension on the peripheries of Merseyrail. Focus should ideally be on cheaply extending the existing rapid-transit underground system in the city centre and disenfranchised inner-city districts. This will project the city forwards promoting economic and social growth. This Circle Line ideally should be the first phase.
Below: The coverage of the Circle Line
The Dingle Tunnel is half a mile long complete with an underground station. How much would it cost these days to bore that tunnel and build the station? £400 million? It is there for virtually free
There are two underground stations awaiting re-commission and one station can be accommodated in the Victoria/Waterloo Tunnel in a wide cutting at Byrom St. Other stations can be cut into tunnels and others left behind when cut & cover tunneling forming a Circle Line.
This new tunnel section would run from Dingle under parkland and through Lodge Lane regenerating two inner-city areas. Underground stations being introduced in London have been a great catalyst for regeneration.
Below: Economic cut & cover tunnelling can be built across parkland..
The benefits are obvious. The city centre could have an outer city centre underground Circle Line for a knock-down price, by constructing a section of tunnel, which would be mainly cut & cover over parkland to complete the circle. Only one of the long disused tunnels from Edge Hill to Waterloo Dock, the Victoria/ Waterloo Tunnel, is utilised.
Smaller light-rail trains, similar to used in London's Docklands, require shorter radius line curves than the current heavy-rail trains, entailing ease of connecting the Victoria/Waterloo Tunnel to the Northern Line and Northern Line to the Dingle Tunnel. Expensive to run and maintain Merseyrail large heavy-rail trains are due for renewal around 2013. Adopting light-rail carriages would greatly enhance the whole system and ease implementation of this Circle Line, as well as extending into Liverpool Waters and Wirral Waters.
The other disused tunnel from Edge Hill, the Wapping - one of the oldest rail tunnels in the world by Stephenson - is not a part of this Circle Line. It can be brought into commission later when funds allow. It crosses a currently used Northern Line tunnel and can be branched into the Northern Line tunnel giving great seamless connectivity from the Wirral Lines to the eastern lines of Prescot and St. Helens, which are to be electrified. Work started on this this branch in the 1970s, unfortunately the work was cancelled due to financial restraints.
It is easy to see the great enhancement a Circle Line makes to the city's underground. And approximately 80% of this Circle Line is already in place. It would create superb seamless connectivity all over the Liverpool region, especially when Liverpool John Lennon airport has a station built.
An extended underground Circle Line would give:
All the above points highlight extending the rapid-transit underground system to achieve city growth. Inner-city districts are a perennial drain on public funds. These inner-city districts have been bottomless pits for public money in failed social programmes. The private sector ignores them and only public money keeps them afloat.
It is easier and quicker to reach Liverpool's business quarter from many parts of the Wirral and Crosby than from say Lodge Lane, an inner-city district bordering the city centre. To travel to Old Hall Street from Lodge Lane a slow bus, stuck in traffic much of time, has to be taken. A bus can be taken from Lodge lane to Edge Hill station, then take the train to mainline Lime Street Station, then leave the station and into the underground Merseyrail station beneath and take the train for two stations. This is a lengthy and expensive undertaking with the disadvantage of using many tickets for the journey. Either way is slow and uncomfortable.
Public money needs to be spent to form a base on which inner-city districts will be self sufficient and not a drain on the taxpayer. Spend money wisely - rapid-transit Merseyrail underground transport. Experience in London has proven that a rapid-transit underground stations acts as a catalyst for regrowth.
The electrification of the Liverpool-Manchester line will give overhead wire electrification to Wigan and St. Helens. At least St. Helens will merge into the electrified Merseyrail network. If the Circle Line is built, an electrified St Helens Merseyrail Line could enter Edge Hill and then drop down the Victoria/Waterloo Tunnel and continue around the Circle Line and back up to Edge Hill and out again back to St Helens. This gives direct access to Liverpool Waters, Moorfields (business sector), South Docks, Central (shopping), Sefton Park (Recreation) and all other stations along the route without changing. Trains run into Liverpool centre, loop around the main districts and then back out. One change for Wirral and one for Liverpool John Lennon airport. The Circle line makes this possible. Three inner-city districts would have Merseyrail stations, encouraging greatly needed investment and regeneration.
The same maybe possible with a south end city loop. Re-use the eastern section of the postponed Outer Loop Line trackbed from Halewood to Broad Green, constructing a branch into the line heading for Edge Hill at Broad Green, and a loop is formed - this was planned in the 1970s however abandoned. The loop would be, along the Northern Line to Hunts Cross, Gateacre, Childwall, Broad Green, Edge Hill and into the centre via the Victoria/Waterloo Tunnel and back again.
Below: South Parkway Station. The expensive
white elephant station for the airport, which embarrassingly is not at the airport.
Passengers need to take a bus to airport from the station.
The proposed outdated technology trams can only be another white elephant. Events in the city have passed the tram scheme by. In Manchester, Sheffield or Nottingham trams trundle through the city centre streets at an average speed of less than 10 mph, screeching as they negotiate tight city-centre corners. They are like a fish out of water, unless they are on truly dedicated and segregated track, which cannot be achieved on most city centre streets. The examples of the poor performance of tram schemes is there to see.
The cost of the tram Line 1 only and South Parkways Station is over £450 million, with £70 already spent on the tram design and consultancy fees. The cost of the total tram network is now envisaged to be around £1 billion by some experts, which emphasises the viability of such schemes. Then there is the proposed £80 million to lay a track and station into Skelmersdale, a town with high car ownership, on the outer periphery of Merseyrail, with Skelmersdale not even in Merseyside. That is an ultra conservative £550 million, for one tram line, a railway station and a rail link to a small town with a large car ownership. Would bringing this Circle Line into commission cost that? Most is in place, and the Circle Line gives so much bang-for-buck, especially as the eastern lines to Manchester, Wigan and St.Helens are being electrified by HM government.800 Compulsory Purchase Orders For One Tram Line
Over 800 Compulsory Purchase orders were issued on property to facilitate the building of Merseytram Line 1. These will be met with great opposition. Fighting the CPO's will be expensive for Merseytravel adding further to the wasted £70 million spent so far on constancy fees. The CPO's were not highlighted in the planning process,which may be perceived as underhanded planning by stealth to push through this tram scheme.Merseytravel have purchased a large car park at Gillmoss on the outskirts of the city to eventually be a tram park & ride car park. Gillmoss is a run down district with security problems with few people likely to park their cars there. Merseytravel will now manage a massive white elephant car park at Gillmoss and years and years of planning blight along the route of Line 1. Is this what they meant by regeneration?
Extending the Merseyrail metro entails few Compulsory Purchase Orders, if at all, as the trackbed and tunnels are still intact. Extending the network is relatively problem free.
Merseyrail rapid-transit is essential to ensure the success of Liverpool Waters and Wirral Waters. They require direct Underground rail access to: Liverpool city centre, to each complex and to Liverpool John Lennon airport. There are no firm proposals to run rapid-transit rail into the two complexes. The essential catalyst in the success of London's Docklands was the building of the Docklands Light Railway metro.Without the metro the scheme would not have succeeded.
Below: Wirral Waters
Below: Liverpool Waters
Victoria/Waterloo tunnel to the left - Wapping tunnel to the right. The dock complex in view is the site of Liverpool Waters.
There has been no formal plan to run rapid-transit rail into the Liverpool Waters complex. Peel, the developers were talking about reusing the Victoria/Waterloo Tunnel which emerges at West Waterloo Dock, to run a monorail to Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
The Victoria/Waterloo Tunnel runs from Edge Hill and emerges at West Waterloo Dock adjacent to the Merseyrail Northern Line. The Merseyrail Northern Line runs parallel to the River Mersey inland from the dock complex, however Sandhills station is too far from Liverpool Waters. It would be possible to branch from the Northern Line into the Liverpool Waters complex running at ground and elevated levels. However light rail carriages, similar to used in the London Docklands Light Railway, would almost certainly be necessary rather than the large Merseyrail heavy rail carriages - both types of carriage can use the same tracks. A station could be built at the Victoria/Waterloo Tunnel portal, giving access to the Northern Line. A more ambitious plan to create a Liverpool city centre Circle Line using disused tunnels and stations merging Liverpool Waters into the system would be of great benefit to the complex and the city as whole extending rapid-transit Merseyrail.
A disused tunnel exists from Sandhills, on the Northern Line, to Wellington Dock very near to the proposed Liverpool Waters. This raises prospects to reuse the tunnel to give access to the complex.
Liverpool Waters to be a success requires a rapid-transit rail system to link to all of Merseyside and directly to:
Rapid-transit rail was considered
essential for the success of London's
Docklands. Without it Docklands would have been still-born. The same
would apply to this project.
This proposed skyscraper complex needs a Merseyrail rapid-transit station to promote the project and connect the complex directly to:
Birkenhead Dock Branch Line Ideal for Wirral Waters
Merseyrail Birkenhead Central station is located in a cutting with a tunnel either end of the station. Running south the tunnel opens up to Green Lane Merseyrail station. The next station south is Rock Ferry. At Rock Ferry the Birkenhead Dock Branch Line, which is disused since 1993 and still has lines intact, branches off running north towards Birkenhead Docks. It emerges at the eastern end of the docks at Egerton and Morpeth Docks, exactly where the Wirral Waters complex is proposed. The dock branch line runs through a deep cutting and through the Haymarket tunnel, directly through the centre of Birkenhead.
There was official rumblings of using EU money to re-instate a freight line to Birkenhead Docks. The docks can be accessed via the Birkenhead Dock Branch Line at the eastern end or via Bidston at the western end of the docks.
The Wirral Waters proposal will use the eastern docks of Vittoria Dock and East Float. The western dock, the West Float will still be commercial shipping. It makes sense to access the docks via Bidston in the west for freight rail traffic and not via the Birkenhead Dock Branch Line to the east, coming in from the south. The Birkenhead Dock Branch line is ideal for passenger use and should be reserved for this purpose.
Viewing the Birkenhead Dock Branch Line initially it would appear impractical as it runs south from the docks to Rock Ferry and only accessed via the south. However, the tunnel directly south of Birkenhead Central station running around the gas holders can be branched into and curved into the Birkenhead Dock Branch Line. This would be a very short section of new tunnel. Or raised up and onto the now demolished Mollington Street train maintenance depot. Light-rail trains can be used to reduce the arc of the U line. Merseyrail trains from Liverpool would run through Hamilton Square, Birkenhead Central and then do a U-turn and turn north onto the Birkenhead Dock Branch Line and onto Wirral Waters. A station could be built in the cutting at a suitable point if need be.
In the picture above, the green is Birkenhead Central station. The yellow line is the existing Merseyrail Wirral Line to Chester and Ellesmere Port. The red is a new line running along the Birkenhead Dock Branch cutting to Wirral Waters from Birkenhead Central station and from Chester in the south. This gives essential rapid-transit access to Liverpool city centre and Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
Birkenhead Dock Branch Line Cutting Ideal for Tunnel Conversion
The Birkenhead Dock Branch Line cuts right through Birkenhead centre. Such a deep cutting is a hindrance through a town centre. Precast concrete arches can be used to cover the line creating a 4 track wide tunnel. Provision for a station could be created in the tunnel for future use. The whole cutting can be backfilled using the now massive trench as a lucrative landfill site. The resulting land may be sold off and developments built upon. Then Birkenhead is rid of a deep ugly gorge through its centre, and the profit from Landfill and land creation set against the cost of re-instating the line.
The existing heavy rail rolling stock can be replaced gradually with light-rail rolling stock, similar to used on the London Docklands Light Railway. Light-rail cars would give more cars to a train, however in off-peak times only one or a small number of these shorter, lighter, more economical to run cars need be used.
Higher Frequency Services Attract Passengers
As light-rail trains are smaller and cheaper, more trains may be purchased increasing the frequency of services. Higher frequencies especially in off-peak hours makes a network more attractive with higher passenger usage. The Dockland Light-Rail trains are driverless reducing the running costs enabling a higher frequency service. Frequencies of 5 minutes would give the network passenger appealing.
A great advantage is that smaller light-rail cars can negotiate tighter curves than longer heavy rail train cars. This has flexible advantages constructing tighter curves when extending Merseyrail, especially in the renovated dock areas, such as Liverpool Waters and Wirral Waters.
Low impact light-rail or medium-rail trains would be more acceptable to people living adjacent to disused lines and trackbeds if recommissioned. Planning would be much easier using less imposing, easy on the eye, quieter, light or medium-rail trains.
As Merseyrail's rolling stock is due for renewal in 2013, replacing the existing heavy-rail trains with light-rail must be a priority.
Light-rail trains are far more flexible and cheaper than the existing Merseyrail heavy-rail trains. Most of Lopndon's Docklands Light Railway is elevated, similar to the old Liverpool Overhead Railway. The elevated structures are cheap to construct having long spans across water, ideal for renovated Liverpool and Wirral's dock areas. The trains can be anything from one to 6 cars long.
A rapid-transit Merseyrail extension to Liverpool John Lennon airport can be constructed easily and cheaply across fields with only one bridge constructed across the London line and main Widnes road. Fast and direct access gives the airport far more appeal boosting image and promoting growth in the economy. Swift transport from the city centre, Liverpool Waters and Wirral Waters will raise the city's profile. Direct trains from Warrington and Manchester could be run into the airport further boosting the local economy. A new Merseyrail station could be constructed at Hale village and the Speke Housing estate, giving greater value for money and bringing two districts onto the metro network. Halewood station would be brought onto Merseyrail metro, again giving another district direct metro network access.
A new Merseyrail station can be built at Hale and Halewood station brought onto Merseyrail. Merseyrail using the London line would mean dual-pickup, overhead wire and 3rd rail trains. Using the more preferable Manchester line branching at Halewood station, would entail electrification for the very short section from Hunts Cross station to the branch and into the airport. This line to the airport is all across fields and cheaply constructed. A park & ride car park could be constructed near the line to cater for the two football stadia of Everton FC and Liverpool FC. The rail line could service the proposed freight terminal at the airport, adding further value.
Merseyside could have a highly comprehensive underground/metro system, that could be extended even further using disused trackbed and stations - a full region-wide metro system. The potential for city regeneration and expansion is enormous. This is where focus and resources should be directed, not expensive to build trams scheme and large out of the way stations. The tram scheme has been overtaken by events in the city's growth and rail electrification announcements by Network Rail. Priority is clearly Liverpool city centre and the inner-city districts. Schemes such as bringing Skelmersdale onto Merseyrail, although essential in the medium term, is not an immediate priority. The over £80 million estimated to construct this Skelmersdale line is better used in the city centre and inner-city and bring back into commission the disused city centre tunnels. This investment brings greater social benefits to the city of Liverpool and encourages investment.
Other cities would drool at having what Liverpool has waiting to be re-commissioned in rail infrastructure. Liverpool ignores it and goes off in inappropriate directions.
Does Merseytravel know what disused infrastructure is here waiting for re-use? Does Merseytravel know how to effectively connect this disused infrastructure onto Merseyrail? It appears not after putting forward an expensive tram project, and amazingly is still actively pursuing the project. It is about time Merseytravel were shaken up and and given meaningful priorities to focus on.
Strategically located stations on the outer parts of the Merseyrail system can form local transport hubs. Hybrid/electric tram-like bendy-buses can operate from the rapid-transit Merseyrail stations and serve the local districts. There is no need to run expensive to implement trams from the centre to the districts not served by Merseyrail. Buses only need to operate from the nearest outer suburb Merseyrail stations. The transport system can be integrated to compliment the various transport modes with seamless computer ticketing.
Comprehensive Rapid-Transit Rail Infrastructure
Below: If all the disused rail lines and tunnels are recommissioned this how extensive Merseyrail metro will be. Few areas of Liverpool will not be served.
The Merseyside region has an amazing level of disused rail infrastructure, much of it mothballed, that can be easily and cheaply recommissioned. This will create a highly comprehensive metro network if all this infrastructure is made a part of Merseyrail.
Below: The current Merseyrail map clearly shows the very low usage of the rail infrastructure available, contrasting sharply with the above comprehensive map.
Merseyrail is a hybrid metro/commuter urban rail network. To be a full metro network additional stations are required in Liverpool's city centre and inner-city districts. Merseyrail has the potential to be the most comprehensive "metro" network, underground/overground, in the UK. If all the disused lines, trackbed, stations and tunnels are brought back into use and seamlessly merged, Merseyrail will cover more than London's Underground in percentage terms of its served population.Liverpool Bizarrely Selects a Tram Scheme over Rapid-Transit
Manchester wanted an underground rapid-transit rail system, dismissing the idea on cost. Unfortunately the city reverted to a second rate transport system, trams. Liverpool has a rapid-transit underground/overground system, the largest and most used outside of London, with an abundance of disused underground rail infrastructure awaiting re-use to creating a fully comprehensive metro network. Yet the city bizarrely proposes a tram system.
Paris Uses Trams As An In-fill To The Metro
Paris is implementing trams in a small way to fill in some gaps in the transport system. Paris is not abandoning its Metro network to accommodate the trams. In effect that is what Liverpool is doing in implementing Merseytram. The city of Liverpool is abandoning the comprehensiveness of its own metro.Merseytram Back-Burnered By Government
The tram system was back-burnered by the government. After protests from Liverpool City Council and Merseytravel, the government stated that if funds can be obtained from the Department for Transport it can go aheadStephen Wolstenholme of the Department for Transport in Westminster, stated in October 2008, "the agenda for the period to 2014 should focus on meeting demand growth on the existing network". The passage, "focus on meeting demand growth on the existing network". Merseyrail is the existing network. Merseytram is a proposed network.
This is clear Merseytravel have to focus on the existing rail infrastructure and use it. Which they should have done 10 years ago.
Merseyrail is Risk-Averse
The poor performance of trams in the UK, prompted the Department for Transport to commission a study into dealing with 'Optimism Bias in Transport Planning'. What are the alternatives for Liverpool to be risk-averse. The answer is to improve and extend Merseyrail metro.
Merseytravel have bought a site at Gillmoss in Liverpool as a park & ride site for the tram scheme in order to keep open planning permission. with a time limit before cancellation. The Credit Crunch drastically reducing government funding for public works projects, may mean the tram proposal may never be built.
Ten Years Wasted Holding The City Back
If Merseytravel had the vision to extend Merseyrail in the city centre, and present a case for the inner-city districts with whole region connectivity, we may have seen the construction of Merseyrail extensions. This lack of focus has meant the city and region suffered. Ten years have been wasted.
World-Class Cities Have Metros
Look around the world, top class cities have rapid-transit underground rail networks as the prime means of transport. Trams when used are to fill transport gaps.Below: The highly comprehensive Liverpool rail lines, covering most of the city. The dotted lines are tunnels.
City Expansion Renders Tram Proposal Redundant
The Merseyside region has been in the process of regeneration for a number of years. Since the tram network was conceived, Liverpool has progressed enormously. Events have overtaken the tram network before it has even been built, rendering the project a most certain expensive white elephant unable to cope with future growth.
Two Large Docklands Developments
Two large construction projects, similar to London's Docklands, Liverpool Waters and Wirral Waters, have been proposed and are in the planning process. The tram network does not take these projects into account.
For London's Docklands to be successfully a new, mainly elevated, metro network was built, the Docklands Light Railway. It services a regenerated district, giving rapid-transit connections to the rest of London and the airports. It has over 30 stations, about half the number of Merseyrail. This rapid-transit metro was viewed as essential for the success of the project attracting investors to Docklands. The metro ensured the success of the London Docklands transforming the redundant docks into a world financial centre. To ensure the success of Liverpool Waters and Wirral Waters, a similar network, or an extension to Merseyrail, would be needed.
Rapid Growth At John Lennon Airport
The airport has seen rapid growth in recent years. The increasing volume of passengers require a direct in-terminal rail station, with Merseyrail access. Rapid-transit from the city centre to the airport, especially the business quarter is essential. Having rail access at the station from Manchester, Warrington, Chester and North Wales would give the airport a far wider appeal promoting airport and city growth.
Passenger figures for Liverpool and Manchester airportsIn ten years the ratio of passengers handled at the airport has risen from near 1 to 8 to 1 to 3 in comparison to Manchester Airport.
Two Large Stadia Are To Be Built
By coincidence, the two major football clubs in the city, Everton FC and Liverpool FC are simultaneously planning new stadia. Liverpool FC have a planned stadium at Stanley Park, adjacent to the freight only Canada Dock Branch Line, which can accommodate Merseyrail passenger trains serving the districts it runs through and the new stadium. Everton FC have not finalised a site for their stadium, however the City Council sensibly are suggesting sites next to Merseyrail metro lines.
Rapid-transit metro is an essential precursor for such large stadia, reducing impact on the surrounding residents and road traffic congestion. 30,000 to 40,000 fans per hour can be shifted using the Merseyrail metro rapid-transit network with connections to all Merseyside and mainline stations. A tram system could never hope to shift the volume of people that a rapid-transit metro network can, being wholly unsuitable for such a task. A tram network could never move passengers at essential rapid speeds having a relatively poor throughput.
Rapid-transit Line For Everton FC & Liverpool FC
Major Points Need Rapid-Transit To Ensure Economic Growth
The transport priority in Liverpool and Merseyside is rapid-transit connections between:
Electrification Renders Much of Tram Network Redundant
The announced electrification on the Liverpool to Manchester line, Liverpool to Wigan line and the Canada Dock Branch Line in 2009 entails that St. Helens and maybe Wigan will be on the Merseyrail electric network, City Line. This renders much of the tram routes that were to serve the east of the city and beyond, largely redundant.
Disused Underground Rail Tunnels
Below: Disused Dingle underground station.
Liverpool has nearly 5 miles of disused rail tunnel under its centre and inner-city. Yet the city still attempts to rekindle a canceled poorly thought out tram scheme.
Liverpool has two below ground stations awaiting re-commissioning. Dingle and St James' at Parliament Street, and provision for another two in underground tunnel cuttings, Byrom Street and the Cavendish Cutting.
1.26 miles: 2.03 km
That is 11 underground stations used or easily re-commissioned, which would be 14 if two essential stations are cut into the tunnels at the University and the Royal Hospital, and around 5 miles of underground tunnel awaiting our use.
Stephen Wolstenholme of the Department for Transport in Westminster, regarding the re-use of the tunnels, stated on 8th October 2008, "No such discussions with Merseytravel have taken place". He went on, "The Government’s current policy is that the shape of the rail network may need to change in the longer term, but the agenda for the period to 2014 should focus on meeting demand growth on the existing network. The Department’s plans were set out in the rail White Paper published in July 2007."
The passage, "focus on meeting demand growth on the existing network". Merseyrail is the existing network. Merseytram is a proposed network. As the city of Liverpool is expanding with firm plans to increase the population density of the city centre and inner-city districts, using the near 4 miles of tunnels under these districts to expand the metro to serve these district is imperative.
Merseytravel's have not focused on what is important to project the city forwards in transport. They have wasted ten years focusing on trams of which the basic technology and performance is outdated. Focusing on Liverpool South Parkway station was also misplaced. Merseytravel should have been primarily focusing on extending Merseyrail to create a more comprehensive metro network and recommissioning the disused tunnels under the city. Merseytravel need informing or reminding of what the city has in infrastructure, and how to use what is ready and waiting under the streets. They appear unable to focus on what is essential to project the city forwards.
The easy route is invariably taken in Merseyrail extensions, by small extensions on the extreme peripherals of the network. Extensions to: Skelmersdale, Burscough Curve and the Halton Curve are all in focus. Although these are very nice to have on the network, the city centre and inner-city districts needs full focus as this is where the need clearly is.
Great social benefits would be gained by extending Merseyrail metro in the city centre. Full value can be given by using existing disused rail infrastructure. Further focus should be on discouraging cars from entering the city centre and removing The Strand road along the docks, which is the only section implemented of the discredited 1960's Shankland plan inner motorway. The Strand, a part of the Dock Road, is more an urban motorway where it runs from the Pier Head to Parliament Street. These roads act as barriers between the docks and the city, and are no longer needed to serve goods to and from the docks.
Merseytravel have lost the plot. The South Parkway Station white elephant, a tram scheme which will not serve the future needs of the city and phaffing about on the network peripherals proves this point.
The Canada Dock Branch is a line running from Edge Hill Junction in the east of the city in a long curve to Canada Dock in the north of the city. This line is sometimes known as the Bootle Branch Line, as it was extended to the Seaforth Container Terminal via Bootle. The line is currently a busy freight-only diesel line. The line has been earmarked to be electrified.Below: Canada Dock Branch in the North End of the City
Line To Be Electrified
On 23rd July 2009, it was announced that the Liverpool to Manchester Line, Liverpool to Wigan Line were to be electrified along with the Canada Dock Branch Line, using overhead wires. This entails this line can be easily meshed into the existing Merseyrail metro network using dual-pickup overhead wire and 3rd rail trains. This line is scheduled to be electrified by 2013.
The line could be reopened to passengers quite simply using diesel passenger trains in the interim to serve Liverpool FC's new stadium near to Cherry Lane if necessary, allowing the possibility of pre-electrification reopening of stations along its length: Bootle Oriel Road, Kirkdale, Spellow, Walton & Anfield, Breck Road, Tuebrook, Stanley, Edge Lane. The line from Edge Lane would continue through to the used Edge Hill station and terminate at main line Lime Street Station. A total of nine stations brought onto Merseyrail serving many disconnected districts. If so, it would most probably be a simple point to point line, Bootle Oriel Road to Lime Street Station.
The line passes under Kirkdale and Bankhall stations in a tunnel and through a cutting. An interchange station could be placed in the cutting at Kirkdale. This would provide a connection to the electrified Merseyrail Northern Line at Kirkdale.
Line Can Form a North End Loop Line
The use of this line, one of the city centre tunnels and the Northern Line would give a large Loop Line. The 1.26 mile long Wapping Tunnel is awaiting re-used, so a saving of approximately £0.5 billion overall in tunnel boring costs before starting. Either of the Victoria/Waterloo or Wapping tunnels can form the north end loop, using the Canada Dock Branch Line, however the Wapping tunnel is a superior option as the loop then runs right into Liverpool city centre via Liverpool Central Station.
The line could be branched into the Northern Line at Kirkdale ideally using light-rail overhead wire and 3rd rail dual-pickup trains, giving full direct access to Liverpool city centre and the south of the city to South Parkway. The reuse of the Canada Dock tunnel at Bankhall with a curve south after the tunnel would branch into the Northern Line - smaller light-rail trains require only short radius line curves.
Using main line Lime Street Station is not ideal for a metro/commuter train, as valuable long haul platforms are used. Platform space will be required for the proposed trans-Pennine routes from Liverpool. At Lime Street Station it is a compromise with urban lines as there is no direct platform transfer to Lime Street low level station beneath the main line station above, with passengers having to leave the main line station and the enter the underground station beneath..
If the 1970's scheme to branch into the Wapping Tunnel from Liverpool Central Station went ahead, the Canada Dock Branch line would have direct access to the city centre and the Wirral if need be, via Edge Hill. The great advantage of the full loop would via Edge Hill and Kirkdale is that it gives great flexibility of logical line creation and train routing. The reuse of the Wapping Tunnel gives great benefits in giving direct access to the Liverpool Arena at Kings Dock.
In July 2007 it was suggested that Liverpool FC could partially fund the building of a station on this line to provide a direct rail link to their proposed new Stanley Park Stadium. If trains capable of use beyond the electrified network are selected as replacements, "then the case for bringing the Canada Dock Branch into passenger service operation will be examined". There is now suggestions to introduce passenger services on this line in the Local Transport Plan for Merseyside. In 2009 it was announced the line is to be electrified which entails no diesel passenger trains need to used.
The Canada Dock Branch line has many merits for passengers reuse if Liverpool FC build their new Stanley Park Stadium in Anfield. A new large throughput station was suggested for the new stadium. City planners are reported to be cold on any stadium expansion over 60,000, with a high throughput station as a precursor. Liverpool FC are suggesting an eventual 71,000 seater stadium. Football fans could change at Edge Hill or Lime Street Station for the Manchester and London lines. Or change at Lime Street Station or Kirkdale station for Merseyrail connections. All seamless on Merseyrail. However there are no easy sites to locate a high throughput multi-platform station adjacent to the proposed stadium. Expensive compulsory purchases of property would be needed.
The English Football Association have applied for the 2018 and 2020 World Cup. The City of Liverpool is running for host city. The City Council, Everton FC and Liverpool FC are working together on the proposal. The City Council have repeatedly attempted to have the two clubs build a shared world-class stadium. If the city council get their way, and so far Everton FC and Liverpool FC have not laid a brick of their proposed stadia, such a stadium would most certainly entail the re-use of the Canada Dock Branch for passenger traffic with a dedicated large throughput station if Stanley Park is chosen as the location.
Electrification and re-opened passenger stations merged into the Merseyrail metro network will ensure the line can cope with the proposed 73,000 capacity of the Stanley Park Stadium.
It was suggested that Everton FC assess a site on the line at Green Lane/Prescot Road. Having two club's on the line with high throughput rapid-transit rail stations would clearly make this line viable.
The announcement in July 2009 that the Canada Dock Branch Line will be electrified using overhead wires, will increase the likelihood of Merseyrail metro trains running on the line.
The mothballed eastern section of the Outer Loop Line has bridges still intact awaiting reuse.
The North Liverpool Extension Line from Hunts Cross to Kirkdale via the Kirkdale to Rice Lane tunnel is largely intact awaiting revival. A section also extends to Aintree, crossing the Kirkby and Ormskirk Northern Line branches. A cheaper branch taking trains back to the city centre can be built into the Kirkby Line east of Rice Lane station. The North Liverpool Extension Line.line adds many disconnected districts to rapid-transit Merseyrail.
If a football stadium is built at Walton Hall Park or Long Lane, an adjacent Merseyrail station can give a high throughput to move fans in and out very quickly. 30,000 to 40,000 fans per hour can be moved in and out of the stadium, reducing nuisance value to local residents, reducing road traffic jams and hence pollution. Car parking problems are alleviated.
Recommissioning this line covers much of what trams were to cover shifting people fast with connections all over Merseyside. It is cheap to implement using existing mothballed rail infrastructure as most is actually in place. This gives a big bang-for-buck.
Everton FC and Liverpool FC Would Make Outer Loop Viable
If Liverpool FC and Everton FC both relocate to the many suitable locations on the Outer Loop Line the line would clearly be viable. A projected 4 million passenger trips per year for football traffic alone is achievable. The rapid-transit along the line would attract Investment with economic growth virtually guaranteed. The line would serve:
There are potential stadia sites on the line at: Long Lane, Walton Hall Park. Any park & ride stations can serve both football clubs and the wider city.
Having most fans travel to the stadia via rapid-transit rail massively reduces the nuisance value to local residents. This is a great bonus in obtaining planning permission for stadia, which attract lengthy inquiries.The example of Arsenal FC in London in their new Emirates stadium which is surrounded by six rapid-transit rail stations must spur both football clubs and the city council to action. The Emirates is running at over 97% attendances since opening in 2006.
Below: The full Outer Loop Line, is in red and green dotted lines. The red is the old North Liverpool Extension Line. It forms a full city circle line when connected onto the Northern Line in the green dots. The advantage of a loop to a raidial line is that If there are any interuptions on the Loop trains can still operate maintining the service.
The map above:
Atlanta Directs Developments To Transport Arteries
The Atlanta BeltLine is reusing an old rail line to link communities. Atlanta in the USA is undertaking the BeltLine project. The project provides a network of public parks, multi-use trails and rapid-transit metro along a historic 22 mile railway corridor circling the city centre, connecting many districts directly to each other. Public spaces are planned along the BeltLine, with pedestrian-friendly rail transit, trails, green-space and abutting development in one transport corridor.
Strangely Liverpool has not made a concerted effort to direct developments to the rapid-transit Merseyrail stations. Most cities with rapid-transit rail tend to build along the transport arteries maximising the potential. Liverpool could adopt a similar approach to Atlanta using the Outer Loop Line, although retaining 100% the rapid-transit side of the Outer Loop. The North Liverpool Extension Line, the eastern section of the Outer Loop runs through many communities that currently are disconnected from each other. These communities would be linked with rapid-transit to the city and John Lennon airport. The line could also serve large stadia if built adjacent to the line.