Newest Review: ... delays occur ,mostly at rush hour when everyone just wants to get home! If I had a pound for the amount of 'technical difficulties' I have... more
An excellent Metro system
Member Name: Robert MSc
Advantages: Reliable, punctual, rapid, fun, extensive
Disadvantages: Some underground stations and subways need renovating, they look dated.
A lot of the Merseyrail reviews featured on this site are 7-8 years old now and I think the service deserves a more up to date commentary.
Merseyrail is today the most reliable/punctual rail service in the UK, with a customer satisfaction rating of over 91% There were early difficulties with the system following privatisation, but it is my understanding that the Passenger Transport Executive, Merseytravel, and its new Dutch partners (with whom it has a long-term agreement to run the rolling stock) has brought about massive improvements.
In addition to the improved reliability, much of the rolling stock has been improved also. Although this, I believe, only applies to the Merseyrail Electric sections of the system (the Northern Line and Wirral Line, which include the underground under Liverpool city centre.)
The electric rolling stock is, in my opinion, quite smart now having been repainted, and having interiors improved to include new seating, general decor, and digital information screens. The service is usually very reliable and frequent. The trains themselves seem to be quite fast and accelerate rapidly due to their being electric. Which is more than what can be said for the chundling diesel junk you get in other parts of the country.
The network is quite extensive for a local railway, and includes just under 70 stations, 7 of which (I think) are underground stations in central Liverpool and Birkenhead (and the tunnel that goes under the Mersey.) It is possible to travel in good time from Liverpool city centre to Chester, West Kirby (nice West Wirral beaches), Birkenhead Park (a very large urban park), Formby (sand dunes and wildlife reserves), Southport (beaches, etc) and numerous other places. Although I don't think the diesel lines are as good as the electric ones, and use older rolling stock (there run on the Liverpool-Manchester line.)
On the whole though, the Merseyrail network is better than what is available in most provincial areas outside of London, with the possible exception of Newcastle and Glasgow, which also have electric metro networks, with underground segments.
My only quibble would be that the underground stations in central Liverpool could do with being upgraded. There have been some improvements which include shopping facilities, electric barrier and ticketing machines, and all are fully staffed. But I wish they would be upgraded as the decor is still as it was in the 1970s when the things were built. There is also a subway/underpass leading from Lime St station to Lime St underground which is totally safe but feels dangerous to visitors due to its scruffy and dated appearance. I'd like to see a total refurb of all the underground sections in Liverpool, including better lighting and new tiles, etc. Merseyrail is one of the most utilised public transport networks in the country and I think its about time that lovely quango, Network Rail, dished out some money to improve it.
At this time, 13th May 2007, there are major works replacing all the track under Liverpool city centre, and part of the central circular section is closed off. But this should make for a long-term improvement in performance and safety.
Summary: A good system, that needs some minor tweaking.
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