Liverpool's Rail Lines: Awaiting Two Football Clubs, an Arena and the Community
- Joined up thinking by all parties can give Everton FC, Liverpool FC, Kings Dock Arena and the community a new Merseyrail Metro line.
- Rapid-transit can move over 40,000 people per hour, maximising stadia and line investment.
- Not to use the available Merseyrail Metro Rapid-Transit for Three Stadia is Irresponsible.
- Rapid-transit rail has ensured that Arsenal FC have filled their new stadium to over 97% of capacity since 2006.
Ideal Opportunity To Combine All Parties
The city will never see such an opportunity. How often:
- Do two large football clubs build stadia at the same time?
- Does the city propose a city-wide electric transit system - trams but Merseyrail metro is superior?
- Does the city regenerate so quickly?
- Does the government electrify rail lines - the City Line from Liverpool to Wigan, and the Canada Dock Branch Line?
The opportunity must not be lost to combine all parties for the greater good of the football clubs and the community to create economic growth. A newly opened rapid-transit rail line on the Merseyrail metro opened to passengers may serve:
- Many districts in the city
- Wider Merseyside
- Everton FC
- Liverpool FC
- The Kings Dock Arena
- The city has to get it right as these stadia will be around for 100 years or more. Do it wrong and two white elephants may emerge. All the ingredients are there to guarantee success all around.
One Metro Rail Line Solves all in One Swoop
- Liverpool has a rapid-transit rail network. that requires expansion with available mothballed lines awaiting.
- Two football clubs require moving many 1000s of fans to their proposed stadia.
- A well used 10,000 seater Arena needs serving better.
- Disconnected districts from Liverpool's rapid-transit metro need incorporating.
Bringing on-line just one rapid-transit rail line solves so much in one clear swoop.
Football Clubs are Key in Opening a Viable Line
The viability to open lines to passengers is that the two large football clubs can attract approximately four million passenger trips per year for football traffic alone. Usage by the community and further events at the stadia will further increase passenger trips.
Nuisance Value Reduced - Eco Enhanced
The nusisance value of stadia is vastly reduced moving most fans by rapid transit.
Pollution is vastly reduced with millions of vehicles journey's taken off the roads over a year. Collectively over a year the CO2 reduction is highly significant if rapid-transit served Everton FC, Liverpool FC, the Kings Dock Arena and Greater Liverpool.
Walk-Up Fans are Financially Significant
The walk-up fans, non-season ticket holder fans, who walk up on the day are a significant percentage of football match attendances. These maybe fans who do not attend all matches in a season and decide on the day to attend. This maybe a father and his young boy.
Catering for this financially significant section of fans makes financial sense to a football club. Unfortunately this section is largely ignored over season ticket holders. Giving easy access for walk-ups to access the stadium using rapid-transit rail increases the likelihood of a walk-up fan to attend a football match. These fans would increase revenue on the rapid-transit metro supporting its viability.
Available Rapid-Transit Lines
The are two available lines that can be easily used and merged into Merseyrail:
- The Eastern section of the Outer Loop Line - this line is mothballed.
- The Bootle Branch Line - also known as the Canada Dock Branch Line - this currently is a used freight only line.
A Full Outer Loop Line Would Serve Three Stadia
This is the superior line of choice, with more useful connections and capable of handling simultaneous events at the Arena and a football stadium.
Reusing the the mothballed eastern section of the Outer Loop Line can form a total loop of the city when connected to the Merseyrail Northern line at Hunts Cross in the south of the city and branched into the Kirkby branch of the Northern line in the north end of the city. The Loop Line can serve Everton FC, Liverpool FC and the Kings Dock Arena by recommissioning St. James station at Parliament Street.
Having both stadia on the line gives superb connectivity to mainline stations and two routes into the city centre with interchange connections to other lines. An advantage is that if there is a hold up on the line, trains can still be used around the loop.
Available Stadia Sites on the Eatern Section of the Outer Loop Line
1. Long Lane
This site was suggested by the city council to both football clubs. The site is in the north end of the city near to where the Outer Loop can branch into the Kirkby branch of the Northern Line.
2. Walton Hall Park
This site is on the eastern side of Walton Hall Park, not far from the existing homes of Everton FC and Liverpool FC. Unlike Stanley Park, the park is not listed. Sainsbury's produced a proposal for a stadium on this site in order to partner with Everton FC.
3. Alder Hey Hospital
This site is near East Prescot Road with good trunk road and motorway access.
4. Broad Green Hospital
This site is near the orbital Queens Drive trunk road and the M62 motorway junction. The soon to be electrified St.Helens, Wigan and Manchester lines run nearby as does the eastern section of Outer Loop line
Districts Served by the Eastern Section of the Outer Loop Line
The Eastern section the Outer Loop Line serves:
- Broad Green
- Knotty Ash
- West Derby
- Norris Green
Many city districts are served by the eastern section of the Outer Loop. Bringing these districts onto the Merseyrail metro will create economic growth, encourage investment and improve the quality of life for the people in these districts.
Canada Dock Branch Line - Bootle Branch
This line is freight only running from Edge Hill to Bootle. The line is earmarked for electrification. The line runs not far from the proposed Liverpool FC stadium at Anfield. Everton FC have been directed to assess the Green Lane/Prescot Road potential stadium site marked at the bottom right of the Canada Dock Dock Branch map.
The Line can serve both clubs and the residents of a number of districts. As track is already on the line, conversion to passenger usage promises to be cost effective. Interchanges with Merseyrail are at Bootle Oriel Road and Lime Street. The line runs under the Merseyrail Northern Line station at Kirkdale station with no platforms in place. Installing platforms at this key interchange station is not a great undertaking.
The line has potential to run from:
- Southport to St. Helens
- Southport to Lime Street
- Southport to Liverpool South Parkway
- Districts Served by the Canada Docks Branch Line
- City centre
- Edge Hill
- Old Swan
Reusing the Wapping Tunnel
In time the Canada Dock Branch Line may extend into the city centre at Central station. The reuse of the 1829 Wapping Tunnel with some short branch tunnelling, would take the line from Edge Hill into Central station, fully merging with the Merseyrail metro.
The Wapping Tunnel's portal is at King Dock opposite the Arena, serving a well attended 10,000 seater venue.
The line could extend to Wirral using the tunnel. This would ensure football fans in the Wirral would have direct access to the football stadia and fans access the city centre without a change. The greater Liverpool community would also greatly benefit if these lines were in place.
Arsenal FC Success Using Rapid-Transit Rail
Arsenal FC's Emirates stadium has six surrounding rapid-transit railway stations. The whole 60,000 can be shifted quite quickly by using rapid-transit rail. The key point to the success of the stadium, which since 2006 has been at over 97% full, is the ease of access served by the rapid-transit rail stations. The six stations immediately surrounding the Emirates stadium provide a total of 27 platforms, with 29 on weekdays.
The success of Arsenal FC, a club the size of Everton FC when at their old Highbury ground with a ground very similar to Everton's Goodison Park and similar sized fanbase focuses the mind to the key of a successful new stadium.
The Emirates stadium's site was selected because of the adjacent rail lines. £7.6 million had been set aside by the planning permission for upgrading adjacent Drayton Park and Holloway Road rapid-transit rail stations. However, Transport for London decided not to upgrade either station, in favour of improvement works at the interchanges at the nearby Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park stations, both of which are served by London Underground lines and First Capital Connect services.
The stadium generates high revenues due to the superior facilities offered at the stadium of: corporate facilities, refreshments, cafes, bars, etc. The highly convenient, comfortable rapid-transit rail access attracts fans and ensures high attendances at the stadium. The top class stadium facilities and ease of transport access combine to produce high stadium revenues.
With fans arriving mainly by rapid-transit rail, there is minimal nuisance to the surrounding residents. Many thousands of car journey's are kept off the roads of London per year.
Arsenal's Profits are Startling
The club's 60,000-seat venue already generates £3.1 million every game, making Arsenal the world game's highest earners in terms of match-day revenue and such is the success of their business model the loan for the stadium will be paid off in December 2010, four and half years after the stadium opened in August 2006.
Match day revenue was increased to £100.1 million in 2009, with the Group turnover increasing to £313.3 million.
The club is considering extending the stadium to 70,000 seats. The key to the stadium success, the existing rapid-transit rail infrastructure, can cope.
Arsenal FC Eliminated a Business Partner
The availability of rapid-transit rail around the stadium site enabled Arsenal FC to build the stadium alone without a major business partner. The projected high attendances enabled the club to repay the loans without a partner.
This approach would entail Everton FC dispensing with the likes of supermarket companies as a business partners.
Once a business plan is put forward, with projections, financiers would be in a position to lend. Premier League football has not shown a decline since the Credit Crunch. Far from it. If anything it is a surefire winner financing a large Premiership club in infrastructure.
To a financier, the club does not need to win silver trophies, just compete at the top and earn enough to pay back the loans. The longevity of top Premier football clubs ensures the business is unlikely to fold with repayment assured in the long term.
Wembley Park Moves 37,500 With Four Platforms
With 27 platforms in the stations surrounding the Emirates stadium success of the stadium is guaranteed. Wembley Park station with only four platforms can move over 37,5000 people per hour.
Having Everton FC and Liverpool FC on the same rapid-transit rail line with only 4 platform stations adjacent to their stadia will ensure over half of the stadia capacity is moved by rapid-transit rail. Six platforms raises the throughput to 50,000 per hour. Building modern multi-platform stations is cost effective using pre-cast concrete forms as the construction method.
Melbourne's Rapid-Transit Copes With Multi Events
In Melbourne, Australia, the city's sports stadia, MCG, AAMI Stadium, Rod Laver Arena, HiSense Arena, Olympic Park and Etihad Stadium are all well serviced by the City Loop rail line. This line circles the city centre stopping at all key points intersecting radial lines for ease of interchanging.
The rapid-transit network can cope with two major sports events being staged simultaneously in the city. A rugby league game at AAMI Park with 30,000 supporters attending and Australian Rules events at the MCG also with a 30,000-plus crowd is common. Arrival and dispersal to and from the stadia is efficient. Trains leave every couple of minutes to all points on the City Loop with trams and taxis servicing the local districts from the stations.
Proposed Liverpool FC Stadium too Small
Liverpool FC controversially obtained planning permission to build a 60,000 seater stadium on the listed Stanley Park next to their current stadium at Anfield Road. The district is predominately residential being largely unsuitable for a stadium. The club has the proposal on hold considering a stadium with a larger 73,000 capacity. Liverpool FC cannot extend over 60,000 capacity unless a rapid-transit rail station is built on the adjacent freight only Canada Dock Branch Line. The available station sites are not spacious and may require compulsory purchase orders to build a suitable four to six platform high throughput station.
This is an ideal opportunity for Liverpool FC to combine with the city council, Merseytravel, Everton FC and other bodies to assess reopening the Outer Loop line. A number of suitable stadium sites are available on the line for both clubs.
A Cost Effective Plan
When all points are assessed the plan to open a rapid-transit rail line gives high value:
- The plan does not require a bottomless pit of money. The two clubs are building stadia - both at the same time.
- One rail line is mothballed complete with intact bridges and the other is a used freight line, greatly reducing costs.
- This is the perfect time to co-ordinate services.
- The clubs have to find money no matter where they build stadia.
- The city has two suitable lines for passengers.
- The city needs regenerating - rapid-transit rail heavily assists.
- Rapid-transit metro creates economic growth.
- The two clubs provide kudos for the city with top class transportation.
- The rapid-transit metro gives kudos and promotes the city - attracting investors and visitors.
- Public money from many bodies can be obtained to assist in funding to aid regeneration of the city.