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Issue Date:- 14 April 2008


OVER 2.5 million motorists have suffered from backache behind the wheel during the past 12 months, a Kwik-Fit report finds. And while most drivers might think that their car seat is to blame, the report indicates that worn shock absorbers could be a major contributory factor.

Indeed, 57% of motorists suffering backache behind the wheel approached a professional to check over their car, and 1-in-3 of them found that the root cause of their in-car discomfort lay in a worn out suspension system.  Worn out suspension might be causing more than just backache. In total 3.8 million British motorists complained that the ride comfort of their car had plummeted in the past year. And while backache was the most common complaint (accounting for 64% of all complaints) - headaches (22%), neck aches 17% and bouts of sickness (7%) were also reported. 2

David White, customer services director at Kwik-Fit commented:- “It seems that driving a car on poor shocks can give you backache and numerous other health problems. More importantly it can also put yours and other road users’ lives at risk.  Gradual wear of suspension components do make it difficult to spot problems. So drivers witnessing any decline in ride comfort or handling should get the car checked by a professional - rather than suffer in silence. Failure to do so will not only exacerbate any health problems, but also put yours and other road users’ lives at risk.”

Detecting shock absorber problems:-

1. Your car, when parked, continues to bounce if pushed down suddenly at each corner

2. Your car tends to pitch forward or ‘wallow’ when you are driving eg. stopping at a zebra crossing

3. Difficult to control when cornering

4. Uneven tyre wear

5. Backseat passengers complain of feeling sick

6. Your car has done more than 50,000 miles since your shock absorbers were last replaced

More details about International Noise Awareness Week can be found at  and details of your local Hearing

Next stage in multi-million cross border rail link

MERSEYTRAVEL is continuing to drive forward plans for the multi-million electrification of a key cross border rail line into North Wales.

The Borderlands scheme, valued at more than £60million, involves the electrification of some or all of the rail route between Wrexham to Bidston.

A key “GRIP 3” (Guide to Rail Investment Projects) study, jointly by Merseytravel and the Welsh Assembly, is looking into the project and will be completed within weeks.  All aspects of the project, including costs, benefits and funding, will be scrutinised in more detail.  A further study looking into the design of the scheme will follow later this year.

The project, a key part of Merseytravel’s ambitious rail improvement programme, would mean hundreds of thousands more passenger journeys on the cross-border rail line every year, greatly improved connections between Wrexham and Liverpool City Centre and access to the 8,000 plus at Deeside Industrial Park.

It could also serve the areas of high unemployment, including Beechwood, Woodchurch and inner Birkenhead.

The move is currently being scrutinised in conjunction with the TAITH consortium (a joint board of the six local authorities in North Wales), The Welsh Assembly and the Mersey Dee Alliance.

Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel, said:- “This is a key route, which has fantastic potential. Our plans mean we could see new stations at Deeside and Woodchurch.  The Borderlands scheme would open up direct commuter links between Liverpool and areas of North Wales including Wrexham, Deeside and Flintshire, providing a huge boost to the regional economy.”

The line currently suffers from a number of problems, including under investment, track speed restrictions, extremely tight turnaround times and a need to change at Bidston for cross border journeys.

Members of Merseytravel’s Passenger Transport Authority and Executive recently met Welsh Assembly Transport and Environment Ministers to discuss the plans and to garner more support for the scheme.

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