Off the rails: Thoughts on the Lime Street closure

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So I am from the Liverpool area, and as you probably will know, travelling to and from Liverpool is a bit of a hassle right now. For those not aware, the line between Liverpool Lime Street Station, Manchester, Wigan, and Warrington is closed, due to a lot of Victorian era wall falling on the track between Edge Hill and Lime Street. This has caused a lot of trouble.

The news is saying, as of the time I am writing this, Lime Street station is set to be closed for another week while work continues to clear 200 tonnes of rubble blocking tracks in and out of Liverpool . Network Rail said the station should re-open at the start of service on Thursday March 9, rather than Monday as originally thought. 

Obviously, this is causing a lot of bother for people who regularly use the train to get to work and the likes. Lime Street is the main station of Liverpool, for those not in the know. It will take you to Manchester, London, Birmingham, Leeds. It is a hub of sorts, so you can imagine that this situation is unfortunate for lots of people. But it does raise a good question. How long have the walls been in that state?

The reason that there is such chaos on the lines is due to chunks of Victorian wall falling on the track, 200 tonnes of rubble as the Echo stated. That railway line, and a lot of the infrastructure around it goes back to the 1820’s and 1830’s, when the line was built. It goes back to the Rainhill Trials, when The Rocket was the first steam locomotive on the country’s first railway line, the Liverpool to Manchester Line.

The fact that the wall was so old, and so much of it collapsed makes you think about the safety of the line. Could the wall have fallen at anytime? Were the proper safety checks made to ensure that this was a freak accident? Heck, imagine if the wall fell on a train. Network Rail, who are the company that look after the railway lines, should have kept watch on this wall.

I don’t know if the wall’s collapse could have been avoided. Given the nature of how the railway companies are handling this, I imagine that they didn’t. Now, a lot of people are using the Liverpool Central line to travel to Liverpool South Parkway, or using buses. That station is not the biggest, so you can imagine that it has been very crowded there. The whole situation makes me think whether we should nationalise the railways, as Labour want now. If it turns out that this was a thing that could be avoided, then I would say that we should.

I am one of the lucky ones, in that I am not getting a train this week from Lime Street, due to University commitments. I could still get to Whiston, but It’d be less simple than two trains. At the end of the day, this whole situation is off the rails, and I can only hope that the line is back up and running soon.

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Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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