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/

When Ormskirk bound trains ran via North Mersey Branch

Back on 19th November 2020, via a Facebook posting, I asked this:-

I came across the black and white photo recently and it made me think because the destination board would have involved the train using the long closed North Mersey Branch from Bootle to Aintree via Linacre Road and Ford Stations. Those stations and that line ceased to be used for passenger trains in April 1951 except of course for Grand National trains. I’ve also attached a view of the start of the line [as it is today] just south of the present Aintree Station. Does anyone recall using it on a passenger train?

I also included a shot of the local British Rail network as it was back in the day when the North Mersey Branch was electrified:-

My good friend Jonathan Cadwallader responded to my FB posting by saying this – I have travelled on that line. Sometime in, I think, the late 1970s there was engineering work in the Kirkdale/Orrell Park area. In those days replacing a train service with buses was only done as a last resort. To maintain trains to Ormskirk, diesel multiple units ran from the reversing siding south of Sandhills, connecting with electric trains bound for Southport. They ran non-stop through Bootle and took the Aintree route from Marsh Lane Junction, re-joining the Ormskirk line immediately south of Aintree Station, as shown in your photo and then continuing to Ormskirk. I can’t recall whether this was just for one or two weekends or if these trains ran Monday to Friday as well.

And then a couple of days ago Jonathan came across a photo he’d taken when one of the dmu workings had taken place. His recollection is that the photo would probably date from the winter of 1983 or 1984. Here’s the shot he took as the dmu was leaving the usual route of Ormskirk – Liverpool trains at Aintree junction:-

My thanks to Jonathan for digging this photo out and allowing me to share it. Comparing it with the present scene in my own photo (above) of the junction as it is today shows very considerable change indeed.

Please click on the photos to enlarge them.

Maghull Station August 1949

I recently purchased a copy of this cracking black & white photograph*

It shows a 2-4-2T steam locomotive No.10655 at Maghull Station on 22nd August 1949. It really is a very nice shot and it’s one I’ve previously not seen of the station.

In many ways Maghull Station remains substantially unchanged, with the original footbridge and station buildings still being in place, as these far more recent shots illustrate:-

Click on the photos to enlarge them

* I have the permission of the copyright holder (Robert Humm) to use it in this posting.

1959 just north of Aughton Park Station

Here’s the latest instalment in my long term project to share the photographs in the Neil Reston Collection.

To recap the family of Neil passed the photos on to me last year and I’ve already blogged about the closed Sefton & Maghull, Lydiate and Altcar & Hillhouse Stations on the former Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway. Similarly I’ve blogged about trains on the Liverpool – Ormskirk Line at Mickering Lane/Sandy Lane in Aughton & Poverty Lane Maghull – all @1960.

Here are 2 photos which I think will both date back to 1959, although I’m not 100% sure about that. Both are looking back towards Aughton Park Station with the trains heading towards Ormskirk, whilst the view is towards Liverpool.

On the back of this photo it says – 4.20 Scotsman at Aughton Park Whit Monday

The note for this shot says – 5 car compartment stock

And for comparison here are a couple of Merseyrail era shots taken at Aughton Park Station in 2017:-

In the first modern shot you get a clearer view of the bridge (carrying Long Lane over the railway) which is only just visible in the 1959 shots. In the second, looking north, there seemed to be quite a weed problem in 2017.

My review of 2020 – No Brexit, no COVID

I’ve been looking back at my blog postings throughout each month of 2020 and I’ve picked out the 12 most interesting from my perspective:-

Liverpool 2’s massive new container cranes

January – Access to the Port of Liverpool & Sefton Council’s far, far too late Judicial Review application – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/01/21/access-to-port-of-liverpool-and-that-oddly-timed-judicial-review/

Cottages in Sefton Lane, Maghull (September 2012) – Sadly flooding here has a long history

February – Will building Maghull’s vast new urban extension lead to more flooding? – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/02/24/maghull-heavy-rain-reminds-us-of-the-potential-peril-of-building-on-agricultural-land-locally/

Sunny Southport Cricket

March – Watching County Championship cricket at Birkdale – so sad it’s seemingly a thing of the past – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/03/30/southport-when-patrick-the-fastest-bowler-in-the-world-bounced-into-town/

Liverpool Exchange Station in 1977

April – Looking back at a once great station – Liverpool Exchange – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/04/29/liverpool-exchange-station-long-gone-but-not-forgotten/

Jim Sharpe RIP

May – The sad passing of an old style community journalist of note – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/05/01/jim-sharpe-rip/

June – Policing has long been a political interest of mine and a big frustration when it fails to deliver – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/06/08/policing-when-it-goes-badly-wrong/

Meccano

July – Reading the history of Liverpool’s famous Meccano Factory – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/07/22/liverpool-factory-of-dreams/

August – Vehicles on pavements the curse of the selfish motorists – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/08/03/pavements-r-4-pedestrians/

Merseyside Maritime Museum

SeptemberLife on Board a new exhibition at Merseyside Maritime Museum – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/09/18/life-on-board-exhibition-at-mersey-maritime-museum/

The present Sandy Lane Changing Rooms building – Lydiate

October – Banging the drum for football changing facilities in Lydiate – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/10/28/lydiate-progress-on-sporting-fitness-facilities/

Litter

November – Lydiate’s volunteer litter pickers – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/11/07/lydiate-and-its-volunteer-litter-pickers/

Meccano

December – A remarkable Meccano canal bridge – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/12/03/boltons-meccano-canal-bridge/

So that was 2020 trying hard not to mention Brexit or Covid. The items posted here are just a small selection of my many (far too many I hear you say) blogs about all kinds of things which have caught my attention during a very odd year indeed. Here’s hoping for a better 2021…..

Altcar & Hillhouse Station – 1964

This posting is about Altcar and Hillhouse Station on the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway some 12 years after the line closed. The photo is from a collection held by former BR employee Neil Reston which has recently been passed on to me by his family.

The scene of ‘dereliction’ (the word used by Neil to describe it in his album) looks south towards the next station on the line (Lydiate) from the vantage point of the road over-bridge which still exists.

And a bit of background – The line and this station opened on 1st September 1884, the station closed for just over 2 years during the 1st World War and it closed for good on 7th January 1952. The line north of Altcar & Hillhouse (towards Southport) was lifted shortly after the line closed in July 1952, however there was rail access from the south to serve private sidings until 1960.

Click on the photo to enlarge it