Shirdley Hill Station

Shirdley Hill Station – Summer 1938

The small rural West Lancashire community of Shirdley Hill lost its trains to Southport and in a southerly direction towards Liverpool on 26th September 1938. The line closed 21st January 1952. However, the tracks remained in place until 1964 as they were used for the storage of Southport’s excursion stock.

The line was built as the Southport and Preston Junction Railway and the village station was on Renacres Lane. The line was often referred to as the Barton Branch and it was and maybe still is famous for a train called the ‘Alcar Bob’ which was a very small steam locomotive with a single coach. The coach had driving controls at the rear end so there was no need to turn the train. The fireman would stay with the engine when the train was running coach first whilst the driver would of course be in the cab in the coach.

I recently purchased the summer 1938 photo in this posting of a two coach train at the station.

The next station to the north of Shirdley Hill would have been Heathey Lane Halt and south of it New Cut Lane Halt. The southern end of the line Line joined the Southport & Cheshire Lanes Extension Railway at Hillhouse Junction just to the north of Altcar & Hillhouse Station on the S&CLER. At the north end of the line it connected through to Butts Lane Halt, Meols Cop Station and into Southport or onwards towards Preston.

There is no trace of the former station now although I’m told that there’s a plaque which marks the site. The link below takes you to a previous posting of mine about the 7 mile long S&PJR from May 2020:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/05/31/haskayne-the-views-from-old-lane-old-moss-lane-railway-bridge/

One thought on “Shirdley Hill Station

  1. CJ says:

    Cheers, Tony. Also for the link to the Old Moss Lane article. It must have passed me by.

    I’m a firm believer this line should be brought back to life as a cycleway, and indeed have studied sections of it myself.

    Sure, there would be land ownership issues, and there would be difficult sections where the line has been completely built on, thus any cycleway would have to divert from the old rail route here and there.

    However, some sections aren’t as bad as you’d think, certainly in relation to other old railways, such as the Ormskirk-Skelmersdale line, which in parts is so overgrown, there would be major concerns about the ecological impact of cutting down so much foliage to make way for a new path.

    The most overgrown parts would appear to be near the Old Moss Lane bridge, Haskayne Cutting near Barton (a small ecological footpath area), and then all the way up to Carr Moss Lane looks pretty overgrown too.
    However, beyond there and Shirdley Hill, the coast is pretty much clear. Indeed, the closer the route gets nearer to Kew Tesco, the more clear things appear to get, with what looks like a farm track taking you all the way to Fine Jane’s Brook.

    What a fantastic leisure route to Southport this would be, linking in the villages along the way. No excuses for the village people to always use their cars if this cycleway was built!

    As a society, we should be right behind schemes like this, no matter how ambitious (or frivolous to some people) they may appear. The long-term benefits cannot be quantified. The social and environmental benefits are so enormous, its impossible to price on this infrastructure.

    Every Councillor and MP should fighting for it, instead of sitting on their hands, batting off emails from socialists, environmentalists and cyclists who simply want a more equitable transport system that works for literally everyone. Urban/rural, young/old, commuter/shopper.

    If we were able to transform the Cheshire Lines in the 1990s then we should be more than capable of transforming the Barton Branch in the 2020s!

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