A Preston Train pulling into Ormskirk
This is very much a long standing problem which not only has frustrations because of the poor nature of the main road from Southport to Ormskirk (for the volume of traffic it has to take at times) but which also has health implications due to the split site nature of Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals.
The web address above is a report by Lancashire County Council which, amongst other transportation matters, covers the Southport access problems from the east.
Sadly, this is a problem which has be talked about for years yet no progress has been made. Of course it links to the need to reconnect the Southport – Wigan and Ormskirk – Preston railway lines so that after years of the two working in complete isolation we can once again get a train from Southport to Ormskirk.
Regular readers will know I am a firm supporter and indeed member of OPSTA – Ormskirk Preston and Southport Travellers Association – which campaigns for the reopening of the Burscough Curves amongst other local rail improvements.
One day access to Southport from the east will become a problem that is solved rather than just talked about and it is important if Southport is to continue to develop as a shopping and seaside town. This access problem is holding Southport back but the solution is not in Sefton but in West Lancashire.
I have posted about this problem before. In brief the steps up to the road from the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath to Pilling Lane have been out of use for a long time and local walkers are getting very frustrated. So much so that every time the Canal and River Trust rebuilds the fence that is supposed to stop pedestrians using the steps it is broken down by determined folk wanting access.
I took this shot of the steps during the last snow to hit Lydiate
The issue is that the steps are sinking and are unsafe due to subsidence so you can understand whey the Trust does not want people not to use them. However, with repairs being as far away as October (or later) and the steps having been closed for months on end already it is hardly surprising that folks are taking things into their own hands even if that is putting themselves in danger of injury.
But yesterday I got a call from a Lydiate resident who had been walking past the bridge when he saw Canal and River Trust workers there. He stopped and asked them when the repairs would be done and was told next year! Lydiate Parish Council had been told, as I have previously reported, that repairs were scheduled for October. And that was not the end of it because the resident also asked the workers why they had not built a temporary set of steps, only to be told that such would have been quite possible. Possible, why then was I refused my request for this to be done months ago?
Lydiate Parish Council Clerk Barbara Kennan is now back on the case to try to get to the bottom of things.
Living by the Leeds Liverpool Canal in Lydiate leads me to take an interest in this great waterway which meanders its way through the Sefton Borough communities of Bootle, Litherland, Netherton, Aintree Village, Melling, Maghull and Lydiate.
The Litherland Road canal bridge down in Bootle is a fascinating example of Victorian civic pride with its huge cast metal plaque detailing its building and opening together with a cast representation of the former Bootle-cum-Linacre Corporation’s coat of arms.
You can imagine what a sight this bridge would have been when it was constructed in 1888 and how proud the civic leaders would have been of it. A closer look leads you to realise that it would once have had ornamental lights on top of the sandstone parapet wall at a number of locations. Rusting wrought iron lamp stands are all that remain now though.
An engineering gem right in the heart of what was very much industrial Bootle but is referred to as Bootle Village.
A knock on my door around 6.30pm yesterday told me that there had been a road accident on Southport Road down by the Maghull boundary and that Lydiate’s boundary sign had copped for it!
I went to look and whilst one of the poles was mangled the sign was OK. Sefton Security and the Police were there and said that a contractor was coming to take the sign away as it was dangerous. I took an executive decision and unbolted the boundary sign and have it in my back garden because having been through such before in Maghull (Melling Lane) the sign never subsequently resurfaced and had to be remade.
I will pass in on to Lydiate Parish Council as they paid for it to be put up a few years ago. The Parish Council will have to fix up with Sefton to get it put back up when a new pole has gone in.
My understanding of the accident is that a vehicle came from the Maghull direction at speed and hit a parked car. It was the parked car that was shoved up the verge and into the sign. Must have been quite a bang! I hope no one was hurt.
The irony is that the sign askes drivers to drive carefully!
World famous toy maker Frank Hornby lived yards away from Maghull Railway Station for most of his adult life and legend has it that he used the now sadly dilapidated Station Master’s House as the basis for one of his model buildings.
This shot of the former Stationmaster’s Hse at Maghull Station was taken in June 2006. Sadly it is in worse condition now.
Moving on – In the wake of the hugely successful first ever Maghull Hornby Festival here are 3 shots of Maghull Station. The first shot is of a mosaic designed by students at Deyes High Academy and erected at the Station.
Great work by a Maghull artist
Above – A local artist pained this where some of the station windows used to be
Below is a shot of the original canopy on the Liverpool bound platform where I am sure Frank Hornby often sheltered from bad weather. It needs some work doing to it and I hear that this will be done soon. Let’s hope the underside (shown in the photo) is well preserved.
Canopy at Maghull Station
The Maghull Station Voluneers continue to do outstanding work led by Nigel Winchester. What’s the betting that they will win more awards in North West In Bloom this year
Having been a supporter of OPSTA (Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers Association) for more years than I care to recall I, like many folk, continue to find the fact that the electrified Northern Line from Liverpool stops at Ormskirk.
The Merseyside commuter belt certainly goes at least as far as Burscough/Rufford whilst the logical end for this electrified service is quite obviously Preston. One day a Government of whatever colour will see the sense of extending the electrification but whether I am still breathing is a different matter.
The shot below (taken in April) is looking towards Ormskirk Station with it being just beyond the bridge in the background. Click of the picture to enlarge it.
If you agree with me please consider joining OPSTA and maybe we can have another big push at this most stubborn of projects.
See my link to OPSTA for details of this campaigning rail group.