Maghull – 1960’s Train at Orchard Hey

As mentioned in a previous posting, I’ve been given some old photo albums which belonged to a Neil Reston by his family. I’m still working my way through them but here’s a shot of the Liverpool – Ormskirk – Preston Line at Maghull from the 1960.

The shot will have been taken from the Poverty Lane bridge looking northwards with the houses in Orchard Hey and Foxhouse Lane being clearly visible.

The diesel locomotive is what later became a Class 25 and it seems to be on a work train travelling towards Maghull Station from the Ormskirk direction.

I’ve tried to clean the photo up a little.

And here’s the shot replicated in December 2020:-

I’ll share more of the 1960’s railway photos in due course.

Please click on the photos to enlarge them

Aughton – A railway over 50+ years, with a little help from my friends

I often cycle along Sandy Lane/Mickering Lane in Aughton on my daily rides and as I peddle under its railway bridge I sometimes wonder about the days before the Liverpool – Preston rail corridor was severed at Ormskirk.

And then out of the blue I was recently offered some old railway photos by the Maghull family of a Mr Reston who used to work for British Railways and who had sadly passed on. As a lifelong railway enthusiast I was of course delighted to accept the offer and I’ve been working my way through them. Most of the locations, across northern England & Scotland, are noted but some are not and I came across 3 1960’s black and white shots which at first glance looked to have been taken at the Butchers Lane railway bridge in Aughton. Closer examination however proved this thought to be wrong.

I needed help so I put the photos on the Mersey Railways Facebook Group and I asked fellow Committee members of OSPTA (Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers Association) for such help. After a suggestion that the photo could have been taken in Burscough it was finally narrowed down to the Sandy Lane/Mickering Lane railway bridge just a little further north from my own original thought of Butchers Lane. It was great to see fellow railway enthusiasts pitching in to help me out and the location was cracked by them.

So here are the 3 photos:-

Two southbound trains (heading towards Liverpool) and one northbound (heading towards Ormskirk) but what’s really amazing about the information provided is that it’s not just the location which was identified. One helper from the Mersey Railways FB Group was actually able to pin point an exact train from 1965. It’s one of the southbound trains headed by the diesel locomotive. I’m told that it’s a returning empty stock for the 1965 Grand National (a special) at Mickering Lane, the first bridge south of Town Green. The loco is No.D210 ‘Empress of Britain’ with the stock of 1X66, a Birmingham excursion. It’s returning to Aintree from servicing at Lostock Hall shed. Also, that the buffer stops in the shot were the end of the siding that ran behind Town Green signal box and the signal is Town Green outer home. I’m truly taken aback by the detail of this information and delighted too.

And just to bring things up to date here’s a couple of shots taken by me around 2.20pm on 3rd December, yesterday, from roughly the same position as the three 1965 photo were taken:-

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Bolton’s Meccano Canal Bridge

Well this had completely passed me by and it was a photo displayed on Flickr yesterday which caught my eye and made me find out more. Here’s a couple of links to this marvellous project:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-22051441

www.northwestmeccano.co.uk/Giant%20Bridge.html

The pedestrian bridge is close to the Nob End/Prestolee flight of locks on the Manchester, Bury and Bolton Canal which is presently undergoing restoration.

As a Trustee of the Maghull based Frank Hornby Trust which runs the Frank Hornby Experience exhibition within the Town’s Meadows Leisure Centre I’ve been delighted to learn of this wonderful piece of scaled up Meccano artwork, if belatedly. Must get to see it.

My thanks to Barnsley Victor on Flickr for permission to use his photo which is at the head of this posting – www.flickr.com/photos/123594177@N08/50673950813

The last Northern Pacer!

A Pacer at Preston Station

The 27th November saw Northern’s very last Pacer in service. It left Kirkby Station on Merseyside heading for Wigan following a small ceremony which had been kept quiet due to Covid restrictions. Here’s a video of the final departure from You Tube by Kieran’s Transport Diaries:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AbmiSDLz14

I’ve blogged about these unloved diesel units many times particularly with regard to the campaigns to get rid of them. Here’s a post of mine from February 2018:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/02/07/pacers-are-thankfully-on-their-last-legs-or-is-that-wheels/

I for one will not be sorry to see the back of them. Buses on railway wheels, sometimes called ‘Nodding Donkeys’, they were shockingly uncomfortable to ride on.

A Preston bound ‘Nodding Donkey’ at Ormskirk Station.

Lydiate – The traffic lights that don’t ‘like’ cyclists

A problem which I first became aware of a couple of years back has resurfaced or perhaps it never went away?

My previous blog posting from 2018 refers – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/11/09/lydiate-cyclists-and-the-kenyons-lane-a59-traffic-lights/

Whilst I cycle a lot around Sefton’s East Parishes and out into West Lancs I don’t use this junction to cross the busy A59 very often but having been contacted again about the sensors under the road surface not picking up the presence of cyclists on the dairy side of this junction I’ve resurrected the matter with Sefton Council Highways and raised it at a Lydiate Parish Council meeting earlier this week.

Cummings and Northern Goings On

It all sounded so easy when the Tories announced they were going to level up so that ‘The North’ would no longer be at a disadvantage to the south. So far not much levelling up has happened but then again we are living through a badly handled (by the Tories) health crisis/pandemic so they do have some excuse for the lack of anything tangible happening. However, that excuse won’t wash for long.

The other problem is that Johnson’s government seems incapable of handing just about anything well or even for that matter adequately. On that basis there can’t be much confidence that they’ll fix the north/south investment imbalance even when they do actually start doing as opposed to just talking about it.

Jim Hancock has an interesting take on all this. Please have a look what he has to say via this link:-

jimhancock.co.uk/hancocks-half-page/

Jim, as often is the case, gets what’s going on when many other commentators flounder. Not only that but he’s capable of putting it all down in understandable words; he’s part of a dying breed in journalism sadly.

I agree with Jim about Prescott and his wish to bring in regional governance which somewhat fell apart in English terms. I’m no fan of City Region Mayors, I never have been. What with the half-hearted devolution packages handed down when they were foisted upon us and the majority of them not really changing much at all I’d rather be shut of them in favour of proper regional governance via elected assemblies.

Prescott in government was a chap of typical old fashioned Labour hang-ups. On the one hand he had what all but amounted to an approach to this subject that Liberals had been articulating for generations. However, he was also one not to work across political boundaries because all he’d been taught in the insular Labour movement was against working with others who may hold similar views. I guess he was ‘our way or no way’ a view which has bedevilled Labour and stood it firmly against truly progressive politics for generations. Of course he lost his internal battle in the Labour Party over regionalism and having not built any bridges outside of that party his ideas sadly floundered.

I’ve never ceased to be amazed at how Labour can attack others who broadly agree with a policy they are trying to take forward because those others are not 100% backing of the Labour view. Labour has to build coalitions within the party but they won’t build them outside of it and Prescott lost regionalism because of that flawed attitude.