Aughton – A railway over 50+ years, with a little help from my friends

I often cycle along Sandy Lane/Mickering Lane in Aughton on my daily rides and as I peddle under its railway bridge I sometimes wonder about the days before the Liverpool – Preston rail corridor was severed at Ormskirk.

And then out of the blue I was recently offered some old railway photos by the Maghull family of a Mr Reston who used to work for British Railways and who had sadly passed on. As a lifelong railway enthusiast I was of course delighted to accept the offer and I’ve been working my way through them. Most of the locations, across northern England & Scotland, are noted but some are not and I came across 3 1960’s black and white shots which at first glance looked to have been taken at the Butchers Lane railway bridge in Aughton. Closer examination however proved this thought to be wrong.

I needed help so I put the photos on the Mersey Railways Facebook Group and I asked fellow Committee members of OSPTA (Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers Association) for such help. After a suggestion that the photo could have been taken in Burscough it was finally narrowed down to the Sandy Lane/Mickering Lane railway bridge just a little further north from my own original thought of Butchers Lane. It was great to see fellow railway enthusiasts pitching in to help me out and the location was cracked by them.

So here are the 3 photos:-

Two southbound trains (heading towards Liverpool) and one northbound (heading towards Ormskirk) but what’s really amazing about the information provided is that it’s not just the location which was identified. One helper from the Mersey Railways FB Group was actually able to pin point an exact train from 1965. It’s one of the southbound trains headed by the diesel locomotive. I’m told that it’s a returning empty stock for the 1965 Grand National (a special) at Mickering Lane, the first bridge south of Town Green. The loco is No.D210 ‘Empress of Britain’ with the stock of 1X66, a Birmingham excursion. It’s returning to Aintree from servicing at Lostock Hall shed. Also, that the buffer stops in the shot were the end of the siding that ran behind Town Green signal box and the signal is Town Green outer home. I’m truly taken aback by the detail of this information and delighted too.

And just to bring things up to date here’s a couple of shots taken by me around 2.20pm on 3rd December, yesterday, from roughly the same position as the three 1965 photo were taken:-

Click on the photos to enlarge them

6 thoughts on “Aughton – A railway over 50+ years, with a little help from my friends

  1. Tony Graham says:

    Hi Tony,
    As commented on your Flickr site, an excellent photo, but the signal in the top photo is Town Green down starting signal, worked by lever No 22 in Town Green box. Outer home signals are the first stop signal in rear of a signal box, a starting signal is the last stop signal worked by a box controlling entrance of the train into the section ahead, in this case the section between Town Green and Maghull. Many signal boxes did not have the (additional) outer home signal, merely having a home signal, followed by a starting signal, with a distant signal in rear of the home signal, placed at a suitable braking distance from the home signal, so as to enable the train to stop at the latter if the distant signal is at caution.
    At least one of the loco types described in the Skelm Jazzer article did not exist (the Hughes 1P 2-4-2 Tank), and should be described as a Webb 1P 2-4-2 Tank, with 5ft 6in driving wheels. Webb was an London & North Western Railway loco designer, Hughes was a Lancashire & Yorkshire loco designer from a later period. Some of the photo captions are also wrong, I have the correct captions if you wish.
    Best Wishes,
    Tony Graham.

  2. sue says:

    Hi Tony,

    Just found this!
    Very interesting.
    Do you know anything about the sidings at Town Green station
    The Royal train used to stop there with George VI and young princesses when visiting Grand National and Knowsley Hall?
    It is presently having houses built there and named Sidings Close


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