Harking back to that recent trip of mine to see the Class 502 EMU being restored in Burscough I also saw some interesting artifacts.
Firstly, there is the destination blind roll from an old 502 unit which reminds us of the former parts of this electrified network which are no longer even railways.
And then what about this old illustrative map of the extent of what we now call the Northern Line to Southport and Ormskirk.
Of course Southport lost its suburban electrified service to Crossens a long time ago (1964) and indeed the whole of its railway line to Preston. The loss of this line (known as the Lettuce Line locally) has been a huge economic disadvantage to Southport particularly as the alternative rail route to Preston, via the Burscough Curves, has also been lost (the connecting curves that is) and the powers that be seem far from willing to reinstate them. OPSTA, our local railway campaign group, John Pugh MP and others try to keep this option on the agenda though despite Lancashire County Council showing little interest and Merseytravel not driving the project forward despite its often warm words.
The other interesting loss is the electrified line from Bootle to Aintree (see map above) and you can see from the destination blind roll (also above) how it was possible to reach Maghull via Marsh Lane (now Bootle New Strand) Station. This line ceased to be used for passenger trains in April 1951 although it was used for freight for many years after. It is now overgrown but protected from development in Sefton Council’s present Unitary Development Plan and will seemingly continue to be so protected in the draft succeeding Local Plan. Talk of it being reopened to provide another rail link to the expanding docks at Seaforth often pops up but despite years of such speculation by Merseytravel nothing actually happens.
The Merseyrail Northern Line may well have gained the Kirkby line but sadly it has lost two other electrified lines over the years. Feels like 2 steps back and 1 forward to me.
Click on the 3 photos to enlarge them
The second photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-