The Sefton Coast – Cycling it from Ainsdale to Crosby

Yesterday, together with Roy Connell (who is often credited on this blog site for unearthing interesting subjects) I cycled from Ainsdale to Crosby (and the Iron Men) along the Sefton Coast through Formby, Hightown and Altcar Riffle Range.

Despite having lived in Sefton all my adult life I had not previously done this route either walking of cycling.

The stretch from Formby through Hightown and onto Crosby is very interesting and the cycle/footpaths are in great condition.

Well worth tackling this stretch of the Sefton Coast if you have access to a bike or like a long walk.

The photo above is sadly of me (or is that of a sad me?) and was taken by Roy and dubbed the ‘Yellow Peril’ – I wonder why?

I may well start to blog about cycling trips in the future if readers are unlucky!

Merseyrail – It’s 40 years since Liverpool’s underground was completed

Who would have thought it was 40 or more years since we lost Exchange Station and indeed the overground Central Station in Liverpool for them to be replaced with new underground stations. Not forgetting of course that Liverpool had been blessed with an underground railway from the Wirral for many years prior to that – The Mersey Railway.

An old Mersey Railway tinplate sign which is on display at the National Railway Museum in York

And here’s what the new underground network looked like when completed in 1977. The Northern Line (Blue) was subsequently extended from Garston to a new terminus at Hunts Cross.

Click on the photo’s/graphics to enlarge them

Birkenhead Tramway Celebrates 80 since the Town’s last Tram

Birkenhead Tram No.20 lovingly restored and running last Saturday.

An interesting day out last Saturday (with Lydiate photographer Keith Page) at Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society’s 80 year anniversary event held to commemorate the passing of all those years since the last public service tram ran in Birkenhead.

The modern tramway has been laid in more recent times and runs from Woodside Ferry Terminal to the Society’s Tram Shed/Museum at Taylor Street.

A modern recreation of a Birkenhead Tram. In fact it’s a former Hong Kong Tram in disguise

The tramway is run by volunteers and operates at the weekend and at other times during school holidays and is well worth a visit. Please check opening/tram running times before you set off though. At only £2 for a return trip on an historic tram its an economical day out too.

Here’s a link to the Society’s Facebook page:-

www.facebook.com/wirraltransportmuseum

The first photo is also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Birkdale – It’s tramway into Southport – An historic photo

Whilst at the Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day on 9th July I came across and purchased this photo of a horse drawn tram in Birkdale:-

Is this shot taken on Cemetery Road, Southport? Can it be dated by anyone?

Click on the scanned photo to enlarge it

The photo is also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Here are links to my previous postings about Southport’s long-gone trams:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/01/12/southports-tramways/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/02/24/more-on-southports-trams-with-a-wallasey-twist/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/05/14/sefton-the-only-tramway-in-the-borough-southport-pier-tram/

Sadly since my May 2014 posting about Southport’s Pier Tram it has also ceased to run and been disposed of. I understand this was said to be the result of it being too heavy for the aging pier.

BTW – Are the 3 chaps in the photo my old friends and Birkdale Ward Councillors, Richard Hands, Simon Shaw and Iain Brodie Brown?:-)))

Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day in Burscough – Memories of the 502’s

A 502 in LMS livery – They were constructed at the start of the 2nd World War!

Sunday 9th July was the annual open day of Merseyside Transport Trust’s huge warehouse type building in Burscough, West Lancashire.

A couple of the vintage buses on display

This is where they store their numerous old buses that previously operated across Liverpool and Merseyside but the draw for me was to check on the slow but determined progress to bring a Merseyrail Class 502 EMU back up to operating standard.

Are you old enough to remember the trains that ran on the Ormskirk – Liverpool and Southport – Liverpool lines until the late 1970’s?

The 502 (together with the Wirral line 503’s) were withdrawn in the late 1970’s being replaced by the present (and soon to be replaced themselves) 507/508 EMU’s.

The state of decay in the 502 that the Friends of the 502 Group are working on has to be seen to be believed and its going to take another 5 years and more, at least, for the volunteers to rebuild the unit – They have been working on it for 5 years already. Here’s some shots of 502’s in their operating days – both are from Southport – one taken in the station itself and one in the carriage sidings:-

And here are a couple of shots showing the present state of 502 unit being worked on:-

My recollection from rides into Liverpool from Maghull as a teenager and young man back in the day is that the 502 seats were really comfortable and they were filled with horse hair I assume.

And finally, here’s a link to the Friends of the 502 Group’s web site:-

www.class502.org.uk/

Emergency Services – Austerity causes innovative and welcome/unwelcome thinking

We are all sick and tired of austerity which has in effect been inflicted upon us as a consequence ‘casino banking’ and the subsequent financial crash. And yes it has caused great harm to the public services we all rely on.

But one, maybe the only positive consequence is that public services which for years have operated in glorious isolation from each other have had to look at innovative solutions to service delivery. Basing ambulances in fire stations or other similar solutions that bring together sometimes all 3 emergency services under one roof is an example.

Having said that the principle is good I was personally not supportive of the local solution which put ambulances, once based in Lydiate, in a fire station in Netherton. I wanted the Lydiate Ambulance Station and Maghull Police station merged onto the Maghull Police Station site but sadly no one was listening and the joined up thinking was not joined up as the Police were separately (and seemingly in glorious isolation) planning to shut down Maghull Police Station and sell off the land…….

But another innovative solution to service delivery is just up the road from my Lydiate home in neighbouring Aughton where the local Police Station is actually on Town Green Railway Station’s Liverpool bound platform. See photo below:-

As for Maghull the Police Station, we are told, it is going to occupy space within Maghull Town Hall. This may well have been a welcome and innovative solution if it had not meant the loss of the Town’s only surviving publicly funded youth facility. Plus that facility also doubled up to house the Town’s CAB but that has also now gone and a joint community the size of Maghull/Lydiate now sadly has no CAB.

So readers will understand why I am not at all happy with Maghull/Lydiate’s rather unwelcome public service delivery ‘solutions’. When the move of the Police Station to Maghull Town Hall will actually happen we don’t presently know as all has gone quiet on the matter.