OPSTA – Rail User Express article

Readers of this blog will know that I am a big supporter of our railways and in particular the campaigning activities of OPSTA our local rail lobbying group for Southport and West Lancashire. Below is an article from Rail User Express about the recent activities of OPSTA:-

opsta logo new

Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers’ Association – operator continuing with improvements

OPSTA has now been involved in meetings with all three of shortlisted bidders for the Northern franchise. There are only about 14 months left to the end of the current franchise, so OPSTA finds it encouraging that Northern continues to progress initiatives and investment commitments, adding “we should see customer information systems installed at a number of our stations this year.” Also welcome is the statement that the operator will facilitate user group discussions on timetabling. A petition calling for the retention of the ticket office at Burscough Bridge has been sent to Lancashire County Council, but OPSTA fears that the Council has already made up its mind to close the facility.

The group thinks that there is much untapped demand for the Ormskirk-Preston line, currently operated by a single-car unit. They plan to conduct another full passenger count this Spring, and meanwhile the committee welcomes feedback from members using the service. Worryingly, some users have recently reported a major drop off in fare collection, and OPSTA has brought this to the operator’s attention. Some of the passengers participating in OPSTA’s recent travel surveys suggested that Twitter would be an effective way of getting the group’s message out to a wider audience. Consequently anyone can now “follow” the group on @opsta15.

Note:- OPSTA’s logo (above) shows the Southport – Wigan line (in red), the Ormskirk – Preston line (in blue) and the curved green lines represent the missing connecting lines at Burscough. The lines were taken out in the Beeching era and need to be reinstated so that Southport – Preston and Ormskirk – Southport trains can run again.

Maghull – What news of the long promised and talked about town centre redevelopment?

Well this one has been doing the rounds for years but little has actually happened.

There are two possibilities in the offing one to the north of Westway and one to the south of it.

The northern redevelopment would be in Maghull Square that rather too 1960’s shopping area owned by the Maghull Group. They laid out plans quite a few years ago to give it a facelift and potentially to demolition and rebuild the shop units at the back of the Square. Trouble is the recession intervened and no progress has been made at all. How will the Maghull Group move things on?

The southern redevelopment has gone though so many alternatives and rumours of alternatives that anyone could be forgiven for wondering what if anything will ever happen. Will Morrisons enlarge their too small store or have they given up? Will the NHS deliver the long promised but now seldom talked rebuild of Maghull Health Centre? Remember it was to have an NHS Walk-In facility and the rebuild was supposedly funded/approved at one point a few years back. Are the powers that be in the NHS conveniently forgetting about the assurances that were made by Sefton Primary Care Trust and before them South Sefton Primary Care Trust?

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library stand ripe for redevelopment in the heart of Maghull. Click on this photo to enlarge it.

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library stand ripe for redevelopment in the heart of Maghull. Click on this photo to enlarge it.

rsz_maghull_health_centre

The land for the southern redevelopment is certainly available with the shells of the old Maghull Library and former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre sitting there awaiting a bid with Sefton Council desperate to sell both to raise some much needed cash. But we also know that the Police want to shut Maghull Police Station so they can move their Neighbourhood Bobbies into a shop unit or something along those lines. The Police land is huge so with the land that Sefton Council owns the opportunities are both real and significant. But what will break the deadlock? London and Cambridge Properties are the other major land owners in between the Council and Police land holdings.

Maghull Police Station - Down to become disused soon according to Merseyside's Labour Crime and Policing Commissioner.

Maghull Police Station – Down to become disused soon according to Merseyside’s Labour Crime and Policing Commissioner.

Were the rumours that Aldi wanted to buy land off the Council correct? You could credibly see Aldi wanting to make such a move as their nearest stores are quite some distance away by the Park Hotel in Netherton, Thornton and in Ormskirk.

I have said before that Morrisons could get caught on the back foot if they are not careful. They need a bigger and better designed store and car park but can they afford to invest/pay more rent? Has anyone ever seen a supermarket car park as badly designed as the one at Morrisons in Maghull? Aldi could well be a big threat to Morrisons if they finally pitch in on a site next door to them.

Things have got to move soon surely!

The photo of the old library and Stafford Moreton Youth Centre is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Southport – Crossens Station March 1912

Crossens Station March 1912 - Southport Preston Line

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

On the former West Lancashire Railway line from Southport to Preston and 3rd rail electrified too. Crossens is on the northern side of Southport.

A line like this would never have been shut these days; shame it did not survive the Beeching era. The alternative route for Southport – Preston trains would be/still could be via Burscough but this would need the the Burscough North Curve to be reinstated. Quite doable and the Ormskirk Preston and Southport Travellers Assn (OPSTA) is campaigning for that amongst other things. The Ormskirk – Preston line crosses over the Southport – Wigan Line at Burscough.

The photo was purchased from the National Railway Museum’s collection at York.

The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Maghull in Bloom

Another couple of examples of the excellent work done by the Maghull in Bloom volunteers.

First a the boundary sign for the Town, on its border with Melling, next to the M58 Motorway at Leatherbarrows Lane/Poverty Lane:-

Maghull in Bloom's work r

And a spring flowering planter in Maghull Square:-

Maghull in Bloom

Where would Maghull be without these dedicated volunteers.

Higsons Brewery – A blast from Liverpool’s brewing past

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Click on the photo to enlarge it

Remember these Liverpool folk? Pierre Head, Albert Dock, Penny Lane, Doc Road, Rock Ferry, Lord Street, Gwladys Street, Ann Field, Victoria Monument, Stanley Park, Phil O’Monie, Clayton Square, Otto Spool, Kirk Dale.

This was a great advertising campaign, shame Higsons did not survive

Old Map of Southport – 1958 – Some of it’s former railways were still on the map

I mentioned a few days ago (see link below) that I had come across an old Ordnance Survey Map of Liverpool from 1958.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/04/07/old-ordnance-survey-map-of-liverpool-in-1958-maghull-lydiate-the-cheshire-lines-railway/

The map also covers Southport so let’s have a look at that part of the map which I have scanned:-

Southport 1958

Click on the map to enlarge it.

The most noticeable thing is that the former West Lancashire Railway line from Southport to Preston is clearly still up and running. No way would that line have been closed now if it had only just survived the Beeching era. It was of course 3rd rail electrified from Southport to Crossens.

The trackbed of the former Southport and Cheshire Lines Extension Railway from Aintree is also just about visible along the coastline. It had been closed in July of 1952 and is now Southport’s Coastal Road from Ainsdale to near the old Lord Street Station. It also serves as the Cheshire Lines Long Distance Footpath which is part of the Trans Pennine Trail to Hull.

The former Liverpool, Southport & Preston Junction Railway (LS&PJR) line from Meols Cop/Blowick to Hillhouse Junction (on the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway) is still denoted as being in use as far as Shirdley Hill. Whilst the line closed in January 1952 it was retained as far as Shirdley Hill and used for the storage excursion carriages until 1964.

If readers want to no more about the West Lancashire Railway or indeed the LS&PJR there is an excellent book on it by J E Cotterall which was published by The Oakwood Press in 1982, that may be available in second hand book shops.

My 3rd posting based on this map will appear soon regarding railways around Ormskirk, Burscough and Skelmersdale.