The Anonymous Widower

Will Hollywood Celebrity Involvement Be The Catalyst To Spark Development Of the Borderlands Line?

In Wrexham General Station – 4th May 2023, I showed this map, of Wrexham General station and the Racecourse Ground.


  • Wrexham A. F. C. are certainly a club, whose fans won’t need much encouragement to go to matches by train.
  • I also feel that given the celebrity ownership, it will be one of those grounds where away supporters will want go.
  • Its ground and Wrexham General station is well-served by direct trains from Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool and London.
  • Interesting matches next year could be against Crewe, Newport and Tranmere.

I’m sure that because of the location of the ground and the celebrity owners, there will be pressure to improve the Borderlands Line to Liverpool.

The Wikipedia entry for the Borderlands Line has a section called Development, where this is said.

The doubling of the journey frequency on the line is one of the aims of the Growth Track 360 group, a consortium of business, politicians and public sector leaders. The group aims to improve transport and create jobs in the North Wales, Merseyside and Cheshire area over the next 20 years. During the 2017 Autumn budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond stated that part of the additional £1.2 billion funding Wales was receiving would be used to look into proposals to improve journey times on the line and developing a business case.

In October 2019, Transport for Wales announced £280,000 have been allocated to revamp stations along the line in north Wales and Merseyside, as part of TfW’s £194 million station improvement programme.

In a section called Proposed New Stations, these improvements have been proposed.

  • Build a new station at Deeside Industrial Park.
  • Build a new station at Woodchurch.
  • Build a new station at Beechwood.
  • Incorporate the line into the Merseyrail Wirral line to provide direct connectivity with Liverpool city centre.
  • Replace the High and Low levels at Shotton station with a dedicated interchange station, improving connectivity between the North Wales Coast Main Line & the Borderlands line.
  • Remove level crossings to improve line speed.

All these proposals seem reasonable.

There is also a section called Proposed Electrification, where this is said.

There have been proposals for the full or partial electrification of the line since 1999 with participation of Merseytravel and the devolved institutions in Wales. Such electrification is usually intertwined with proposals for the full incorporation of the line into the electrified Merseyrail network, allowing for services from either Wrexham Central or partway along the line to travel all the way to Birkenhead and Liverpool Central.

In 2008, a Network Rail study estimated the cost for third-rail electrification of the entire line to be £207 million. To lower costs, Merseytravel suggested overhead-wire electrification as an alternative, bringing estimates down to £66 million. However, this would mean trains running between Wrexham and Liverpool would have to be compatible with both electric systems, therefore incompatible with the third-rail only trains in use at the time.

There is political support to electrify the line from both Welsh and Merseyside authorities, however the responsibility of rail infrastructure lies with the UK Government’s Department for Transport. The Welsh Government aims to increase services between North Wales and Merseyside, in particular Wrexham and Deeside with Liverpool and Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Whereas Merseyside authorities would like to increase services to stations on the line on the Wirral Peninsula in particular, as well as the rest of the line.

In 2016, a working group had been set up to examine improving the line, including proposals to increase the frequency of trains on the line. It is hoped that an increase in the number of passengers would improve the case for electrification.

It seems that various solutions have been proposed.

Consider what will be available to Merseyrail and Transport for Wales within a year or so.

  • Merseyrail will be running a new fleet of electric Class 777 trains.
  • These new trains will be running from Bidston station and under Liverpool City Centre using the Wirral Line.
  • Merseytravel has an option for a further 60 units.
  • Class 777 trains are designed for running with 25 KVAC overhead electrification, should this be required in the future.
  • Merseyrail and Transport for Wales will be working with Stadler on the use of battery-electric trains.
  • Bidston and Wrexham Central are only 27.5 miles apart.
  • The Borderlands Line is not the most challenging of rail lines to improve, as it is fairly straight and level.
  • It is unlikely that Health and Safety would allow any more third rail electrification. But would this ban also apply in Wales?
  • West Kirby trains run for 10.4 miles in 34 minutes to perform their loop under from Bidston under Liverpool City Centre.
  • If Wrexham trains could turn under Liverpool City Centre, this would improve shopping, business and educational opportunities for those living along the Borderlands Line.

This section of the Wikipedia entry for the Borderlands Line says this about the range of the Class 777 trains on battery power.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority announced that trials of the seven battery electric multiple unit (BEMU) versions of their new Class 777 had shown that they were capable of travelling up to 20 miles (32 km) without a charge. Further trials by Stadler reached a range of 84 miles (135 km). This would allow the line to be served without the full electrification.

In Battery Answer To Schleswig-Holstein’s Diesel Replacement Question, I talked about how Stadler were using battery-electric trains to replace diesels in Schleswig-Holstein.

It seems obvious to me, that Stadler would have experience of a suitable battery-electric train and charging system, that could be applied to the Borderlands Line.

  • I would suspect that the 34 minutes that the train would take to go from Bidston to Liverpool and back to Bidston would be more than adequate to fully charge the batteries on a train.
  • This would be enough to get a full train to Wrexham, even when Liverpool or Everton were playing an FA Cup match against Wrexham A. F. C.

But how would trains recharge at Wrexham? This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the track layout at Wrexham.


  1. Wrexham Central station is in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. Wrexham General station is towards the top of the map marked by blue letters.
  3. A single track connects Platform 4 at Wrexham General station to the single platform at Wrexham Central station.

It looks like space could be a bit limited at Wrexham Central station, so would it be an idea to electrify between the two stations?

A train takes typically about seven minutes from arrival at Wrexham General station from Bidston until it leaves the station to return to Bidston.

  • This should be enough to charge the train fully.
  • Theoretically, it would allow Wrexham to have a four trains per hour (tph) service to Liverpool.
  • Electrifying between the two stations would be about 0.6 miles of single-track electrification.
  • Connection and disconnection to the electrification would be in Wrexham General station.
  • The electrification would only be switched on, when there is a train using it. This could be arranged using simple automation or by employing another signaller.

I do wonder if Welsh Health and Safety would allow third-rail electrification? If it’s a UK matter, then give it to the Welsh Government. But it would be the only third-rail electrification in the Principality.


I believe that if the Welsh Government would allow third-rail electrification, the service could start as soon as Merseyrail has enough battery trains.


May 6, 2023 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ruby Wax, Melanie Brown and Emily Atack Climb Pikes Peak

I have just watched these three ladies climb Pikes Peak in Colorado.

Around the age of 18, I used to regularly read the American car magazine; Road & Track and was fascinated to read about the annual hill climb, that took place on the 14,000 foot Pikes Peak.

I am surprised that the hill climb up Pikes Peak was not mentioned in the program.

I have only driven at anywhere near that height once, although, I flew my Cessna 340 at 24,000 ft several times.

When C and I had a memorable holiday in Ecuador, we took a small Chevrolet Metro, up to about 12,000 feet in the Andes.

Cars cough badly at that altitude!

December 24, 2022 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Time I Said No To Joan Collins

I’m watching Joan Collins In her programme On BBC 2.

It reminds me of the time I met her.

It must have been between 1985 and 1987, as she was with her fourth husband; Peter Holm, who is exactly two months younger than I am.

We had all travelled from Los Angeles to London on British Airways and we were queuing for passport checks. Joan was to my right and Peter was looking very disinterested.

Then out of the blue, she asked me, if I had a light for her cigarette.

I replied that I was sorry, but I didn’t smoke.

She just smiled and put the cigarette away!

January 1, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Voice’s Tom Jones, 80, Feels ‘Bulletproof’ After Second Covid Vaccine

The title of this post is the same as that as this article on the Metro.

The title says it all and surely Tom Jones is the type of celebrity, who could encourage others to have the jab.

January 29, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Some People Are Profiting From COVID-19!

There are a few people out there, who are using various scams to profit from COVID-19, but there are also some, who are making money legitimately from the virus.

This week, Diana Moran, ( aka the Green Goddess) made a comeback on BBC Breakfast and this morning, she’s featured in The Sunday Times, in an article, which is entitled Green Goddess Diana Moran Rises Again To Help The Over-70s Turn Home Into A Health Spa.

This is the introduction to the article.

When Diana Moran was first asked to slip into a vivid green leotard, she was seen as little more than a television novelty act catching the start of 1980s fitness and aerobics craze, but she turned into a cult hit known as the Green Goddess.

Now aged 80, Moran is returning to a regular slot on the BBC — but this time the stakes are much higher.

Stephen Fry was also found to be giving sound advice on the Andrew Marr Show.

Good luck to Diana, Stephen and others of their ilk!


March 22, 2020 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Harry Redknapp And Stacey Dooley

With Harry Redknapp winning I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here and Stacey Dooley winning Strictly Come Dancing are we seeing a reaction to the gloom that pervades everyday life and especially politics.

I’ve never met either, but both seem likeable characters, to whom not many would object.


December 16, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments

Why All The Hypocrisy About The Deaths Of George Michael And Carrie Fisher?

Not one celebrity has raised the questionable   lifestyle of these two stars.

On BBC Breakfast this morning they are highlighting a story that eighty percent of us are overweight.

You only have one chance of life and good health!

So don’t do anything to comproimise it!

December 28, 2016 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

The Last Cowboy Rides On

Kirk Douglas is a hundred today.

I always liked his film; Lonely Are The Brave, ever since I watched it late one night, whilst programming Artemis.

Happy Birthday, Kirk!

December 9, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Vinnie Jones On Lotteries

In today’s Sunday Times, Vinnie Jones is asked about life and money.

One question was “What would you do if you won the lottery jackpot?”

He replied. “I’ve won the lottery of life, which is bigger than any financial lottery.”

I’ll go along with that!

I always feel, I’ve had some very good luck and some extremely crap luck too!

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Sport, World | , , | 1 Comment

Would You Use Crowdfunding To Invest In A Celebrity’s Business?

Yesterday, I picked up a copy of City AM and this headline of Exclusive: Jon Moulton hits out at Sir Stelios for crowd funding exploitation caught my eye.

The article is here on the City AM website and this is the first paragraph.

Celebrity business leaders may be using crowd funding websites to exploit retail investors, the outspoken private equity guru Jon Moulton claims today.

Moulton singles out easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou as one example of a name using his position to foist over-priced shares on to small investors in his new easyProperty estate agency.

I have used crowdfunding to invest in ideas, but usually it’s to some worthy cause or idea, that is struggling, not an unworthy celebrity. People like Branson, Sugar, Cowell, Haji-Ioannou and others are only looking for a way of creating ideas that mainly enrich themselves! And they don’t need the money!

So the presence of a celebrity inevitably turns me off!

Perhaps two I named, should get together and form a company called easyVirgin. I wonder what it could do?

The best ideas to invest in are ones that are invisible to the general public.

September 16, 2014 Posted by | Finance, News | | Leave a comment