Maghull – Frank Hornby Trust news

Michael Portillo with Frank Hornby Trust Chairman Les French as seen on BBC TV’s Great Railway Journeys.

Yesterday saw our trustees meet up at our Frank Hornby Experience exhibition space within Maghull’s Meadow’s Leisure Center for a day of work on our exhibits.*

We had a lot to do to sort through recent donations and start a cataloguing process for the charitable trust. We were also installing new exhibits, erecting some really nice new graphics and generally tidying things up.

It was great that Ray Clarkson came over from Bolton and Jim Gamble from Nottingham to assist us.

Last Monday we picked up all the items we had loaned to Knowsley Council for their Made on Merseyside exhibition at Kirkby Gallery, which we understand was a great success. The graphics we were erecting yesterday had been donated by Kirkby Gallery and had been created specifically for their exhibition. The Frank Hornby Trustees are very grateful to Kirkby Gallery for the donation of them at the end of their exhibition. This is how they look in Meadows Leisure Center:-

A few months ago, we were approached by Mark Ravenscroft whose Dad John had been a technical drawing expert at Hornby’s Binns Road factory in Liverpool. Mark donated to us a rather nice drawing his Dad had done in 1969 of a Range Rover car as part of the production process for a then new Dinky Toy’s new model of it. We’ve now had the drawing framed and mounted on the wall, together with a Dinky model of the car, within our exhibition area. Here’s a shot of it:-

As with any exhibition things are always changing due to new donations of Meccano, Dinky Toys and Hornby Railway items made to our Trust by local people and those further afield.

The exhibition is open for the same hours as those of Maghull Library.

* Frank Hornby lived most of his adult life in Maghull at two houses – The Hollies in Station Road and Quarry Brook in Hall Lane which is now the 6th Form building for Maricourt RC High School. Frank is buried in the graveyard of St. Andrew’s Church.

How Preston’s transport plan could benefit Southport & the Ormskirk Merseyrail Northern Line

The graphic above*, which you will need to click on to enlarge for reading, is an extract from the recently published Preston City Transport Plan. It’s an important document because it discusses much needed transport, in this case rail, improvements to the south and west of Preston.

If you look closely the document is promoting the re-connection of the Burscough North Curve so that trains can once again travel between Preston and Southport. This is what the curves looked like when they were in place in the 1960’s:-

The Burscough Curves are in West Lancashire. This historic shot of them is from when they were in place, in 1960’s.

OPSTA, the Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travelers Association has been promoting the re-connection of the Burscough Curves since the 1980’s and they have been the driving force behind improving the Ormskirk – Preston Line and the reopening of Midge Hall Station. But it’s been an uphill struggle with Lancashire County Council (the Transport Authority) seeming being at best lukewarm about the line the present train operator (Northern) struggling to deliver the present basic service reliably.

Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Northern trains meet.

Another way forward is for Merseyrail to run trains all the way from Liverpool Central to Preston via the removal of the buffer stops at Ormskirk and other signaling/track improvements. To me this has always been the most sensible solution to bring the Ormskirk – Preston Line up to its true potential, together of course with the introduction of Southport – Preston trains. The fact that some of Merseyrail’s soon to arrive Class 777 Stadler rolling stock will now have battery operation facility (this had been in doubt previously) then them operating on the line without the need for expensive electrification equipment opens up real opportunities.

A mock-up of a Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s

Graphic Notes:-
* ‘P’ is Preston – Numbers 2, 3 & 6 are points along the Ormskirk – Preston Railway Line – 2 is the proposed new Coote Lane Station – 3 being the proposed reopening of Midge Hall Station and 6 is where the connecting Burscough Curves are situated i.e. where the Ormsirk – Preston and Southport – Wigan lines cross each other.

Switch Island to Maghull Cycle Route

Cycle path under construction between Switch Island and the River Alt along the A59 – April 2018. This section is now of course complete up to the River Alt bridge.

Regular readers will recall that I’ve raised the issue of the cycle route from Switch Island to Maghull petering more or less where the A59 Northway crosses the River Alt on the Maghull boundary.

My previous relevant posting on the matter can be accessed via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/04/25/maghull-new-cycle-track-from-switch-island-towards-maghull-on-a59/

Where the cycle route presently stops at the Northway/A59 River Alt bridge.

Following the posting linked above I ascertained from Sefton Council’s highway engineers that they intended to deliver a new safe cycle route alongside the rest of the A59 to the Liverpool Road South junction. Seeing the road works and the presently closed access to Liverpool Road South I decided to check on the delivery of the cycle route and my understanding is this. At present Statutory Undertakers are diverting their equipment (which is the works currently on site) and the main contractor is scheduled to start soon. The junction improvements and cycle path should, I’m told, be completed this financial year.

Thanks to Sefton Highways for the update.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Maghull & Aintree Stations

I’m member of the Mersey Railway Group on Facebook and every now and again I come across interesting old photos of our local railway stations. Here are 3 I’ve just seen for the first time. The copyright for each one is owned by John Tolson:-

Maghull Station – 10th March 1979

Maghull Station 13th June 1974

Aintree Station 11th August 1973

The first shot shows the former Maghull Signal Box (Removed in 1994, if memory serves) and the Station Master’s House, which having remained derelict for many a year is presently being renovated as part of the new housing development behind the Liverpool bound platform.

The last shot, of what used to be called Aintree Sefton Arms Station (Aintree Central was the adjacent Cheshire Lines Station), is interesting because some of the old tracks which served the Metal Box Factory (and before that the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway to Southport) were still is use back then as can be seen by the diesel shunter in the platform. The station still retained its platform canopy back then too. So sad that it was removed instead of being renovated.

The old Class 502 EMU rolling stock is evident in all 3 photos. The last remaining 502 two car unit is presently in a warehouse-type building in Burscough, owned by Merseyside Transport Trust, where it is painstakingly being restored by the Friends of the 502 Group

502 at Burscough – July 2018

Maghull – Book sharing scheme at the new(ish) Maghull North Station

The new mini library at Maghull North Station

Local resident Frank Sharp has launched a book sharing scheme at the new Maghull North Railway Station akin to the one that is run by the Station Volunteers at the original Maghull Station.

Maghull Station Library run by the Station Volunteers

Organisers hope it will encourage a sense of community and ownership of the new station. Frank thanks Merseytravel’s senior rail project manager Darren Hazlewood and Merseyrail’s Sally Ralston, for allowing the installation of a bookcase and books which have been freely donated by the local community.

The initiative follows on with similar initiatives at other railway stations (not just in Maghull) and the international Little Free Library organisation, which aims to increase book access and forge community connections.

Says Frank “The idea is simply to encourage the community to emulate other railway stations and organisations by taking a book or leaving one – anything you’ve read and would like others to enjoy. The more people use it, the more fun it will be, and the more it circulates. Hopefully, it will also encourage a sense of community and ownership around the new station, akin to the brilliant award winning work undertaken by volunteers at Maghull’s older station.”

Editor – It all sounds great to me so I’ll now share the books and magazines I donate to the old Maghull Station across the Town’s two stations. I hope others will join in too. Please try to remember to add a book when you take one, or soon afterwards, otherwise the system does not really work.

Labour’s Brexit problem – They are openly not Remainers

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/labour-mp-accuses-unite-boss-17247986

Whilst the report is about internal Labour Party difficulties the mere mention of McCluskey makes Remainers most unhappy. What on earth has a trade union leader been doing not fighting Brexit when it will in all probability lead to job losses and it threatens employment rights? It just makes no sense at all to me as a life long trade unionist.

And people like McCluskey must surely be at the heart of Labour being unable/unwilling to join the Remain Alliance? Here we have 3 political parties of the left PC, the Greens and Lib Dems fighting to stop Brexit because amongst many other things it is a threat to jobs and employment rights whilst a trade union leader with obviously huge influence within Labour leans towards Brexit. It beggars belief in my view.