***beep beep, beep beep, beep beep, beep beepity beep***
That was me doing an exciting news theme. It still needs a little work.
There's been a few exciting Merseyrail related news stories floating around the last few days, so I thought I'd do a quick rundown, interspersed with my usual ill-informed comment. Just for your delectation.
1) Four Trains an Hour to Chester
It's been a long time coming but yes, from December 13th, there will be a train between Chester and Liverpool every quarter of an hour. That is of course a doubling of the service, and means there's a whopping six trains an hour between Hooton and Birkenhead once you add in Ellesmere Port.
To squeeze in the extra services, they've had to cut something - and that poor victim is Capenhurst. The little station with the big nuclear plant will still have half hourly services, with the trains running through it on the other services. Bache was also rumoured to be skipped at one point, but fortunately for students of the Mandy Richardson University of Chester, that hasn't happened. Good news all round!
Of course I'd have been a lot happier if they'd brought these extra services in eight years ago when I worked in Chester, but apparently Merseyrail don't do their timetables just for my convenience.
Even more excitingly, you can win a weekend break to celebrate it. Whoo-hooo indeed.
2) No More Christmas Crackers
They giveth, and they taketh away. This year there won't be a Christmas Cracker promotion - the £1 fare on Thursday nights and Sundays. The reason, according to Bart Schmeink, is that the promotion was introduced to encourage people to use the network. Now apparently, everyone's using the network, so the £1 fare just causes overcrowding and a lot of hassle.
I can see their point. There was many a time when I forgot the promotion was on and ended up with my head rammed in someone's armpit on my way into town (and not in a good way). Liverpool's changed, as well; Liverpool ONE's given us late night shopping every night, not just Thursdays.
But I bet there's an awful lot of people who won't use Merseyrail, and will instead drive into the dozens of new parking spaces in the city to do their shopping instead. Shame.
3) Central Station
This isn't strictly news, because it's been planned for yonks, but a video has surfaced on the net for the new Central Village development. This is the plan for new shops and leisure facilities to be built on what was the railway lands behind the old Central Station, rendered defunct with the opening of the Link and Loop in the Seventies.
I can't quite get my head around the fact that there's a whole load of prime real estate sitting behind Bold Street that's untouched, but there you are: it exists, and it's slowly coming to life with a multi-storey car park under construction at the top of the development even as we speak.
The next part to be built will take in the old Lewis' building and will incorporate Central itself, with escalators up to the development. It's right at the start of the video:
Exciting, innit? And I like that the new M to Go building has taken into account the positioning of the escalators, to hopefully minimise inconvenience and stop the whole thing from having to be reconstructed again (though there's bound to be some hassle).
Apparently funding is in place so construction could start very soon. Fingers crossed.
This has been covered elsewhere by railway writers far cleverer than me, so I'll just say: electrification, yay! Quicker services to Manchester, Preston and, er, Blackpool, yay! Higher train fares, ya- oh shit. Still at least we'll get lots of new trains for our services. Hmmm.
THAT WAS THE NEWS. I should do this full time. I'd teach Bill Turnbull a few tricks.