Aintree – The furthest north Liverpool’s trams reached

Liverpool’s once extensive tramway network got as far north as Aintree Sefton Arms/Queens Arms pubs and Aintree Sefton Arms Station/Aintree Central Station on Warbreck Moor road.

Whilst at a recent open day of the Wirral Transport Museum & Heritage Tramway, at their Taylor Street Birkenhead Tram Shed HQ, my eyes lighted upon Liverpool Tram No.762 sat in Taylor Street Tram Shed. It took my attention as the destination board was set for Route 22 – Aintree via Scotland Road.

In fact Route Number 22 and the Destination Board of Aintree seen in this photo seem to be slightly at odds as I understand that Route 22 actually went to Fazakerley whereas Routes 20 and 21 went to Aintree Sefton Arms/Queens Arms pubs.

The Wirral Transport Museum & Heritage Tramway, with its mile or so of track leading to Woodside Ferry Terminal from Taylor Street Tram Shed, will be celebrating the running of Liverpool’s last Tram on Saturday 16th September 2017. A link to their facebook Page is available below:-

www.facebook.com/events/746829122135116/?acontext=%7B%22action_history%22%3A%22[%7B%5C%22surface%5C%22%3A%5C%22page%5C%22%2C%5C%22mechanism%5C%22%3A%5C%22page_upcoming_events_card%5C%22%2C%5C%22extra_data%5C%22%3A[]%7D]%22%2C%22has_source%22%3Atrue%7D

That last tram ran on Saturday 14th September 1957 although the Aintree route was converted to buses commencing Sunday 5th August 1951.

The 2nd photo is amongst my flickr photos at:-

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

Aintree – Lost station buildings – So sad

IMG

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Some time ago I posted about how grand Aintree Station (previously know as Aintree Sefton Arms) on the Merseyrail Network had once been as opposed to its clinical uninspiring modern face now. I have since purchased a further old photo that shows off the former station canopy very well. I don’t know the date of the photo though which is displayed above – click on it to enlarge.

My previous posting is accessible via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/06/09/aintree-station-the-transformation-from-victorian-splendor-to-modern-concrete-and-steel/

The photo above is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

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

Maghull – What will that new railway station look like?

No this is not another posting about the 17th relaunch of the Maghull North Station project you will be glad to hear but it is about what the new station will potentially look like.

Just a recap first, it will be just north of Maghull’s School Lane where that road crosses the railway. The station will be between the yet to be constructed houses on what has become known as the Ashworth South Site (the site of the former Moss Side Hospital) and the present housing on Mersey Avenue. The station site looks like this at present (click on all the photos to enlarge):-

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station.  Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station. Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

Merseytravel Committee members were recently given a briefing on the design and progress of the project and I am indebted to Cllr. John Dodd for in turn briefing me about it.

Here are some up to date design images:-

unnamed-2

This one shows the School Lane overbridge to the left and the Mersey Avenue housing top/right.

This one shows the School Lane overbridge to the left and the Mersey Avenue housing top/right.

This one is looking westwards with Mersey Avenue at the top. The housing in the bottom two thirds of it is yet to be built on the Ashworth South Site.

This one is looking westwards with Mersey Avenue at the top. The housing in the bottom two thirds of it is yet to be built on the Ashworth South Site.

Access to the station car park will be via the School Lane roundabout that was constructed some years ago when the Ashworth South site was going to be used to build a new prison.

What can you say about the proposed station design? Well it’s modern, not particularly inspiring and so much like many new build stations these days. We seem to have forgotten what a railway station should look like. Indeed, we have a good example in the heritage buildings of the present Maghull Station and a little bit further down the same line towards Liverpool an example of how a once grand station (Aintree) has been modernised or is that vandalised! I will be posting about Aintree Station soon as I recently picked up a photo which really does show what has been lost.

But back to Maghull North. I hope it will be environmentally sustainable, solar panels, rainwater harvesting etc. but why can’t it be built with a bit more imagination in stone and brick to reflect say an updated version of the present Maghull Station? My posting from the public ‘consultation’ of not so long ago refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/11/24/maghull-north-station-project-exhibition-at-maghull-town-hall/

Ah well, it seems those of us who attended the consultation event, which was more like an information event, failed to move Merseytravel and Network Rail about design and heritage issues (to be honest we thought we were being given the tea and sympathy routine at the time) so it looks like it will be another modern box like building.

But, having said that, the new station will be very welcome and I say that as someone who has fought for it to be constructed for more years than I wish to recall. Let’s hope trains will be stopping there soon – within a year to 18 months?

Merseyrail’s Northern Lines – Posting 1 – The Ormskirk Line

A selection of scenes from Merseyrail’s Liverpool – Ormskirk line:-

Please click on the photos to enlarge them

Merseyrail's Kirkdale Motive Power Depot with Kirkdale Station in the background.

Merseyrail’s Kirkdale Motive Power Depot with Kirkdale Station in the background.

Aintree Station at night

Aintree Station at night

Maghull Station

Maghull Station

The award winning work of the Maghull Station Volunteers literally on display at Maghull Station.

The award winning work of the Maghull Station Volunteers literally on display at Maghull Station.

Pedestrian and road bridges where Poverty Lane crosses the line north of Maghull Station.

Pedestrian and road bridges where Poverty Lane crosses the line north of Maghull Station.

The entrance/exit of Ormskirk Station at night.

The entrance/exit of Ormskirk Station at night.

Ormskirk Station at night.

Ormskirk Station at night.

Photos 1, 3, 5 & 7 are also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

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

Bootle – Remembering the Container Base

Not that long ago there was a rail connected Container Base in Bootle served by the presently mothballed North Mersey Branch line which runs between Aintree Station and the Liverpool – Southport line between New Strand and Litherland Stations.

At one time this line ran all the way down to the docks and at the Aintree end on to Fazakerley and beyond. Oh how those planning for the vastly increased freight traffic from Peel’s River Berth at Seaforth must be regretting the loss of each end of what would now be a very useful railway line.

As I say the middle section is still there although badly overgrown since regular rail traffic ceased around the time of the closure of the Bootle Container Base. After that went the only use was occasional engineers trains but none of those have used it for a good many years now.

Looking east along the North Mersey Branch in the direction of the former Ford Station from Hawthorne Road, Bootle in 2014.

Looking east along the North Mersey Branch in the direction of the former Ford Station from Hawthorne Road, Bootle in 2014.

Anyway back to Container base which I came across a couple of photos of recently. I don’t know the name of the chap who took them so can’t give him the credit for them but he does work with the Friends of the 502 Group and I purchased the prints (and scanned them) from their stall at Southport Model Railway Exhibition. Here are the 1970’s shots to bring back some memories:-

Bootle Container Base 2

Bootle Container Base

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

The site of the Container Base for those unacquainted with the area concerned is close to the Giro/Alliance & Leicester Building just off Bridle Road. It was also close to the site of the long closed Ford Station from the days when the branch was 3rd rail electrified. It is now a Ford vehicles sales dealership.

The photos are amongst those on my Flickr site at:-

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

Aintree Station – The transformation from Victorian splendor to modern concrete and steel

Aintree Station does not look much these days; it could be anywhere. Only the horse in the modern brickwork (see first photo) is a nod to what was once a grand station of great importance.

Horse - Aintree Station r

Now an old black and white shot of the station in its hey day, which I purchased not so long ago:-

Aintree Station then - Undated

Click on this photo to enlarge it

On to some more shots of the station as it is now. Be prepared to be disappointed:-

Aintree Station now 1 r

Aintree Station now 2 r

The questions that arise from these photos are:-

Why did Aintree lose its wonderful glass roof with its cast iron supporting columns?

How can a station like Maghull (two stops down the line to Ormskirk) be very much as it was back in Victorian days whilst being modernised in a sympathetic way but Aintree lost everything?

Aintree is no longer a ‘big’ junction station yet why was it not downsized whilst keeping its historic splendor?

I suspect that generations of owners – BR, Railtrack and Network Rail – have not been good guardians of the property and bit by bit it slipped into decay until it got to the point where it needed an almost complete rebuild in an unfortunate modern way.

My previous posting about the station of last month (May 2015) is available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/05/19/aintree-station-the-disused-linesplatforms/

The 4 photos above are also amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/