Agenda and minutes

Merseytravel Committee
Thursday, 3rd November, 2016 2.00 pm

Venue: Authority Chamber, Merseytravel Offices, No. 1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP

Contact: Michelle Keating, 0151 330 1086 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest received.




Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 106 KB


Resolved that the minutes of the last meeting of the Merseytravel Committee held on 6 October 2016 be approved as a correct record subject to noting the responses to questions asked at the meeting by Councillor Nicholas viz:-


(a)          a request for Members to have sight of the plan of improvement that had been produced following customer research into marketing and transport information, referred to in 5.2 of the report:


Efforts were underway to fill resource gaps to progress the customer insight and research work already undertaken (Phase 1). The Quarter 2 performance Report, due to be received by the Merseytravel Committee on 1 December 2016 would incorporate the latest updates.


(b)          details of the specific problem that led to an increase in bus incidents in the Liverpool area, referred to in KPI 5:


The specific issue was missiles being thrown at buses in the Croxteth area. A multi-agency operation within the area resulted in two youths being arrested and incidents in the location had since stopped.




Rail Schemes Development and Delivery pdf icon PDF 699 KB

To consider a presentation regarding the development and delivery of rail schemes




The Committee received a presentation from Merseytravel’s Senior Head of Service Operations regarding the development and delivery of rail schemes.


Councillor McGlashan commended the detail contained within the presentation. He also expressed his pleasure at seeing Headbolt Lane mentioned; connectivity from Liverpool to Skelmersdale had been an aspiration for many years and the fact it had taken 15 years to get to its current stage demonstrated the significant costs involved in the development and delivery of rail schemes. He further referred to the accessibility issues at Prescot Station. The Shakespeare North theatre was soon to open in the area which would see increased patronage at the station and the need for these issues to be addressed.


The Senior Head of Service Operations commented that when the Long Term Rail Strategy was compiled in 2014 it took time to work out the ‘behind the scenes’ work regarding Skelmersdale and where Headbolt Lane fitted in. Merseytravel were now represented on a Board led by Lancashire County Council, as 85% of the infrastructure was outside of Merseyside, and a flow chart for the delivery of this scheme had now been developed. In relation to Prescot Station, this would be part of a submission for Single Investment Fund (SIF) funding to undertake the improvements needed; the deadline for the Strategic Outline Case submission was 9 December 2016.


In response to a question from Councillor Abbey regarding where the electrification of the Bidston – Wrexham (Borderlands) Line fitted in to the Long Term Rail Strategy, The Lead Officer for Transport explained that Borderlands frequency enhancements would be delivered in Control Period 6 of the Strategy, which had an indicative delivery timescale up to 2024. With regard to the electrification of the line, this was also included in the Strategy but a gradual approach to improvements would be taken in order to ensure increased demand, which would support the business case for electrification.


Councillor Abbey further expressed the importance of the need for the Welsh Government to confirm their commitment to lobby for funding for the Borderlands Line and was advised that Officers had recently met with the Department for Transport and rasied the same points. Councillor Robinson had also written to their Transport Minister requesting a meeting to discuss cross border issues. As previously reported to the Committee Merseytravel were represented on Rail Track 360 which was looking at all cross border initiatives. The frustration of Members was understood but development and delivery of such schemes was not a quick process and was the reasoning behind development of the Long Term Rail Strategy.


Councillor Robinson added that he remained optimistic as the Transport Minister and the Welsh Government were keen to work with Merseytravel and other cross boundary authorities to improve rail services. Merseytravel were leading on the Bidston – Wrexham Working Group and as the Welsh Government were currently in the process of looking at their new franchise he was confident that there would be improvements to the Line during the first phase of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Mersey Ferries Service Provision pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To consider a report of the Lead Officer for Transport concerning an update on the current service provision at Mersey Ferries




The Committee considered a report of the Lead Officer for Transport regarding the current service provision at Mersey Ferries; specifically an overview in terms of the impact and expected date of return.


Councillor McGlashan thanked Officers for the update. It was important to note that both vessels were 60 years old and had provided an excellent service; Merseytravel were credited for their efforts. The primary focus moving forward was the Long Term Strategy and the introduction of new vessels to sustain the service for future generations.


With regard to the new vessels, it was reported that there had been significant interest in the procurement of the Naval Architect and an appointment was expected to be made by the end of the year.


Councillor Carr referred to the regular users of the service and asked how these passengers would be compensated for the inconvenience to ensure they continued to use the service when it resumed.


The Head of Customer Delivery advised that the loyal commuter base of the Mersey Ferries was valued and a replacement bus service was in operation between Seacombe Terminal and Hamilton Square Station during commuter hours, with tickets being accepted on cross river train services. Performance of the Ferries was consistently 98% and above but this situation was unprecedented and although patronage had decreased there was confidence that it would return from both commuter and leisure passengers following difficult decisions that had been made to ensure that a resilient service would be provided during the closure of the Merseyrail Loop Line in January and February 2017. Past evidence demonstrated that commuter patronage returned after times of disruption due to the loyal passenger base.


Councillor Abbey was concerned about the possibility of a loss of service provision should the current vessels not last until the introduction of the new vessels and asked what the additional lifespan would be as a result of the work they were currently undergoing. It was advised that the Mersey Ferries Long Term Strategy had an associated timeline with relevant interventions, which were subject to formal approval, but it was anticipated that following the appointment of the Naval Architect a new vessel would be ready for service in 2020/2021 and used on a daily basis as the main vessel. The Snowdrop, which was currently undergoing a major engine service, would be used as the second vessel and Officers were of the understanding that as a result of these works the vessel would last for a further 15 to 20 years with the right interventions and if used occasionally.


Following a suggestion from Councillor Rowlands to have two vessels up to standard and ready for service to avoid another loss of service should problems occur with one of the vessels, the Head of Customer Delivery explained that it was possible to have a second vessel fully maintained and ready for service but there was considerable costs associated with this and Officers had tried to reduce the demand on the public purse as much as possible.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Local Growth Fund: Approval of Full Major Business Case for Maghull North Railway Station pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To consider a report of the Lead Officer for Transport informing Members of the approval given by the Combined Authority for the full major business case for Maghull North Railway Station



Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report of the Lead Officer for Transport regarding the Combined Authority approval of the Full Business Case for the Maghull North railway station major scheme; intended to commence delivery in the 2017/18 financial year. The report was accompanied by a presentation containing information submitted as part of the planning application for the development.


Councillor McKinley welcomed the development and was encouraged to see that the concerns from residents regarding the height of the footbridge had been taken into account, with the designs modified as a result, but he criticised the lack of consultation that had taken place with the local community. As a local Councillor for the area he was unaware of the meetings that had been held with residents, and enquired as to how this would be rectified moving forward particularly as there was now a petition opposing the development.


Officers advised that they had knowledge of the petition, and although the proposal for the scheme had been mentioned in the local plans for the Sefton area for a number of years, it was appreciated that some residents may not have been aware and as a result consultation could have been better in the early stages of development. As part of the planning application there was a proposal to establish a communications group comprising of Merseytravel, Merseyrail, Network Rail and Sefton Council with community involvement in order to keep residents informed of progress. Noise issues during the building work had also been considered and a Noise Strategy had been developed with input from Planners at Sefton Council. As the local Councillor, Councillor McKinley would be advised of all future community meetings.


Councillor Carr commended the plans and felt it was positive for the area as local transport links were reflected in property prices. With particular reference to ‘match days’ and the increased patronage on the network he asked whether services with extra carriages would be provided and if the parking provision available at the station would take this into account, as there were currently issues for residents living around Maghull Station on such days.


The development would provide 156 extra spaces and officers continued to work with Sefton Council Highways department regarding parking. As part of the planning application a Traffic Impact Assessment, including residential parking, had been completed and this would continue to be worked on as the development progressed. With regard to the number of carriages that would be used, this station’s purpose was to increase patronage on the network and the platforms were designed to take six car trains; Merseyrail as the train operator would be mindful of this when making operational decisions.


The Lead Officer for Transport added that the lack of capacity was a major issue on the Merseyrail network so in addition to opening new stations such as Maghull North the introduction of the new rolling stock was also vital. This new fleet would have increased ability resulting in timetable improvements and ease other issues currently experienced on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Network Rail Freight Network Study Consultation Response pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:



The Chair indicated that the following item of business be considered as a matter of urgency as a delay in once cycle would result in the failure to meet the required deadline for action.




The Committee considered a report of the Lead Officer for Transport regarding the Liverpool City Region’s response to Network Rail’s consultation exercise on the draft Freight Network Study; the deadline for which was 9 November 2016.


Councillor Carr commended the consultation response and suggested that air quality issues in the area be included, which Officers agreed to incorporate.


Councillor Stockton indicated that the response highlighted modal shift and enquired as to whether any analysis had been done on the environmental impact of this shift. The Lead Officer for Transport explained that there were references to this within the Transport for the North Freight and Logistics Strategy and similar would be included in the Liverpool City Region Strategy but it would be useful to also highlight this in the consultation response.


 Resolved that:-


(a)          the report be noted; and


(b)          the submission by Merseytravel of the proposed response to Network Rail’s consultation exercise on the draft Freight Network Study be approved.




High Speed 2 pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Additional documents:


The Chair indicated that the following item of business be considered as a matter of urgency as a delay in once cycle would not be in the interests of the efficient operation of the service.



The Committee received a verbal report from the Lead Officer for Transport on the latest High Speed 2 (HS2) report released on 31 October 2016.


The report written by David Higgins, Chairman of HS2, and titled ‘Changing Britain: HS2 taking root’ detailed the benefits that those areas without full HS2 connectivity could gain from it and the potential development for connections from conventional rail and Northern Powerhouse rail network into the HS2 network.


The Liverpool City Region (LCR) was able to inform this document and the key point conveyed was that the current HS2 proposals were fully supported but it was critical that the plans were fully integrated with Transport for the North’s work on Northern Powerhouse Rail to ensure not only the north to south connections, but also the east to west benefits were considered. There was a specific section of the report (page 44) relating to the LCR which was incredibly beneficial to have in a HS2 document.


The official HS2 press release to accompany the report was significant as it highlighted the same aspirations that the LCR had, particularly in relation to the integration into the Northern Powerhouse rail. As a result of this press release, a Linking Liverpool press release had been issued which took the opportunity to refresh the economic analysis of the benefits of HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse, which was now forecast as a £15 billion boost for the LCR with the north, south and east, west connections.


Significant steps had been taken to enhance the connectivity of the LCR but there was still a significant way to go. Transport for the North was awaiting confirmation of Statutory Body status in order to access appropriate funding to allow the development of those things that were important to the LCR but also for the wider northern network. Merseytravel worked collaboratively with Transport for the North and would continue to push for improvements.


Resolved that:-


(a)          the overview of the ‘Changing Britain: HS2 taking root’ report and the associated press releases be noted.


(b)          thanks be extended to the Lead Officer for Transport and the Officers involved for their input to the report.






Buses Bill


Motion by Councillor Abbey, seconded by Councillor Wolfson:-


Merseytravel Committee notes the Bus Services Bill currently passing through the parliamentary process. This Committee notes the importance of the Bill to the Liverpool City Region Devolution Deal and welcomes the new devolved powers to significantly improve bus services for passengers, particularly the new powers of a simple route to introduce Bus Franchising.


Merseytravel Committee however is disappointed to note Clause 21 of the Bill which would prohibit the creation of new municipal bus companies. Merseytravel Committee believes that bus services are a local issue that are best dealt with at a local level and that in order to deliver the best outcome for passengers all options should be available for local and regional transport authorities to use including the potential of creating municipal bus companies. Merseytravel Committee thus resolved to continue its lobbying efforts to have Clause 21 omitted from the Bus Services Bill and to write to Transport Minister Lord Ahmed to inform him of this motion.”


The Motion was put, carried unanimously and Resolved Accordingly.