Aintree to Bootle – The former North Mersey Branch

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

Here’s a fascinating collection of old photos on You Tube showing the now long-mothballed North Mersey Branch railway from Aintree to Bootle in its latter working days.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8OdzAuIJxc

About once every 5 years or so there’s talk about the branch being opened up again for Merseyrail passenger services but nothing seems to happen.

Aintree – Now here’s a unique piece of it’s railway history that had passed me by until now

I’m always interested to learn more about our local history (and in particular our railway history) in and around Sefton Borough and recently I’ve come across a unique aspect of Aintree’s railway history that until now had completely passed me by.

I refer to this Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Electric Locomotive At Aintree, Merseyside, 25th September 1912

Phil Hughes on the Mersey Railways Facebook Group, where the photos were recently displayed, says – From what I believe it was a test track possibly between Sefton junction and the bridge crossing the Ormskirk line hence the overhead wires.

Ryan Lloyd then contributed this – It ran from Aintree Sorting Sidings East box (about where the North Mersey branch crossed the Ormskirk line) past Aintree No1, which you can see in the distance, and around the back of the grid, to Netherton Way and Aintree Sorting Sidings West box. This section of the grid was on a slight embankment as the photo shows. You can also see the shed behind the loco.’

I hope you find this as fascinating as I do (ok I’m a railway enthusiast) and if anyone knows more to fill in any gaps in this posting I would be pleased to hear from you.

This posting and the photos are reproduced here with the kind permission of Phil Hughes who started the thread on the Mersey Railways Facebook Group.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

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/

Esterson backed loser Burnham

So Andy Burnham the chap from Aintree, who was backed by Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson was soundly beaten in the Labour Leadership election.

Would it have been nice to have a national party political leader from Sefton? On one level I suppose it would but on many other levels it was for the best that Labour members rejected Mr Burnham. Why? Because he came over as a popularist to me who would bend what he stood for to fit what people who may vote for him would want to see and hear.

I am no Labour supporter but at least they now have a leader who is a socialist and is that not what Labour are supposed to be, socialists? Certainly their literature locally has been all anti-austerity whilst nationally their leaders have been bashing those unfortunate enough to need welfare. Maybe now we will see a consistent message. One can only hope.

By the way can I make a plea for Labour Party members to take notice of MP Esterson. His Sefton Councillors seem to vote the opposite way to which he has publicly called on them to vote (Green Belt, library closures and Formby Parking charges) and now the wider Labour membership has voted the opposite way to his pleas in his party’s leadership election. Come on Labour members give Bill a break.

Stop Press:- Bill is now backing Jeremy Corbyn who won the contest!

Corbyn – A Liberal writes

It’s time to welcome the Labour Party back to what it should be, a socialist party. For far too many years it has looked and felt like a Tory Party MK11 otherwise known as the Red Tories.

I am not a socialist and am certainly not in any way a supporter of the Labour Party yet I am strangely pleased that it has seemingly gone back to its roots. In recent years I have seen Labour at a local level opposing every measure of austerity yet at a national level doing the exact opposite as the likes of Rachel Reeves attacked the welfare system in ways I found appalling. So here is an opportunity to make Labour honest as opposed to off to the left locally and off to the right nationally.

The election was an odd affair where Labour seemed hell bent on doing itself as much damage as possible. 3 candidates from Labour’s right wing – all far to far to the right for me – and one of the socialist tradition.

Burnham was the worst of the lot for me as he seemed to put himself forward as a person who stood for whatever voters wanted of him. Would it be unkind to say he looked every inch a popularist? Oddly, I represented Aintree, where Burnham hails from, on Sefton Council for a dozen years.

For all Corbyn’s faults and I suspect there are many he came over as the best available candidate despite Labour’s big guns doing all they could to hole him below the waterline. But the more they attacked him from the right the stronger his support grew from the left.

Of course he is an unlikely Prime Minister but so was Miliband. Will Labour win in 2020? Very, very unlikely but that was always going to be the case no matter who became their Leader. Trouble is Labour’s right wing are seeking to blame Corbyn already for his not winning in 2020 in the hope they can destabelise his leadership sooner rather later.

The big challenge for Labour now though is electoral reform which they have in the many always resisted as it was not in their narrow political interests. Yes, Labour has to embrace PR but that’s a big ask for the old Labour war horses; yet even that old prize fighter John Prescot seems up for it.

We now have a obviously Liberal Lib Dem Party under Tim (a bit of a leftie) Farron as opposed to a party of the middle ground as it had become since Charles Kennedy stepped down as leader. And it seems we have what could turn out to be socialist party in Labour under Corbyn. Yet the Tories remain an odd conundrum. Cameron is firmly a prisoner of the right and UKIP and looks a poor leader these days constantly being blown by the wind. Will the Tories go further right under Osborne or popularist under Boris when Cameron hangs up his hat or is advised to sling his hook?

I have the feeling that Farron and Corbyn may well shape a new way forward for the left but of course we on the left will never agree – we never have – and that’s why the Tories do so well.

Aintree Shed – 8L

Aintree once had a huge steam shed, known as 8L to supply the local rail network with motive power in the form of steam engines.

Once a year it would be inundated with engines when the Grand National was on but it was a busy shed anyway right through until the 1960’s.

Not so long ago I received a card and on it was a black and white photo of a steam engine ‘on shed’ at Aintree so I thought I would share the photo which I have scanned from the card.

Loco 45529 Stephenson at Aintree Shed

Loco 45529 Stephenson at Aintree Shed

Lick on the photo to enlarge it.

For those interested in learning more about Aintree Shed and the other steam sheds across Merseyside there is an excellent book by Kenn Pearce called Shed Side on Merseyside – The Last Days of Steam

The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/