Merseyside is set to benefit from a £1million cash windfall for new cycle facilities at Merseyrail Stations. Merseyrail, in ‘tandem’ with Merseytravel, secured the £1 million bid to become a national Cycling Demonstration Train Operator.
The money is awarded by Cycling England, and the successful bid, also supported by Sefton and Wirral borough councils, will allow Merseyrail to provide secure cycle storage facilities on two routes for all stations between Southport and Blundellsands and Crosby stations on the Northern Line and for all but one station from Birkenhead Central to Hooton on the Wirral Line.
It will also enable Merseyrail and Merseytravel to provide cycle hire and cycle repair facilities at Southport station in partnership with Sefton Borough Council. A total of 18 stations will benefit from the cash award and all the facilities will be in place by late 2010.
The stations that will benefit from a range of new measures, inlcuding cycle storage, racking systems and secure lockers are Southport, Birkdale, Hillside, Ainsdale, Freshfields, Formby, Hightown, Hall Road, Blundellsands & Crosby, Birkenhead Central, Green Lane, Rock Ferry, Bebington, Port Sunlight, Spital, Bromborough, Eastham Rake and Hooton.
Bart Schmeink, Merseyrail’s Managing Director, said: “It is our intention to make cycling a mainstream way of getting to and from our stations to discourage car use and car parking at stations for relatively short journeys and to encourage a healthy life style.
“These new facilities will encourage passengers to leave their car at home and cycle to the station instead.”
Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair of Merseytravel, added: “We are doing more and more to link cyclists to the rail network and I’m delighted that this £1million will go towards supporting that. Don’t forget many rail operators in other parts of the UK would laugh if someone tried to bring a cycle onto a train.
“We are different in that we are taking every chance we get, whether on the trains or the Mersey Ferries, to make it easier for cyclists to access the public transport network. This is a tremendous boost for the cyclists that use our stations and we hope that it will encourage more people away from their cars and onto their bikes.”
Merseyrail is already a cycle-friendly train operator, allowing the free carriage of bicycles on trains at any time of day. Each train also has four cycle spaces.