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/

Aintree’s railways

I have recently purchased copies of some really good old photo’s from the National Railway Museum’s collection in York. 3 of them relate to Aintree and here they are:-

Aintree Coal sidings - April 1911

Aintree Coal sidings – April 1911

Aintree Racecourse Station - 1912

Aintree Racecourse Station – 1912

Aintree Sefton Arms Station - April 1913

Aintree Sefton Arms Station – April 1913

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

North Mersey Branch Railway – Will it ever re-open?

Over the past 20 years or so Merseytravel, see my previous posts, have oft spoken about reopening this branch which runs from Aintree Station on the Liverpool – Ormskirk Line to join the Liverpool – Southport Line just north of Bootle New Strand Station.

It was once a passenger and goods line which was 3rd rail electrified and there were stations at Ford and Linacre Road. Indeed, it served a wider purpose as at the Aintree end it originally went through to Fazakerley to join the Liverpool – Kirkby Line and there was an additional station called Aintree Racecourse. At the western end it served Gladstone Dock and connected with Seaforth Sands Station of the Liverpool Overhead Railway. This final connection enabled Overhead Railway trains to reach Aintree for the Grand National meeting.

The line originally opened in August 1866 with Ford & Linacre Road stations opening in 1906 and closing in April 1951

Below are a couple of recent photos of the line as it is now. Both were taken from the Hawthorne Road over-bridge looking west and east respectively.

rsz_north_mersey_branch_looking_west_from_hawthorne_rd_bootle

rsz_north_mersey_branch_looking_east_from_hawthorne_rd_bootle

The link below may be of interest to readers:-

www.disused-stations.org.uk/f/ford/

But the reason I raise this matter now is that if there is to be a significant new rail connection with the enlarged docks at Seaforth (see my posting of 25th April 2014) then this mothballed railway is potentially a part of the solution.

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

New Bus Shelter – Ormskirk Road, Aintree Village – It probably took half a dozen years to get it installed!

rsz_tony_at_new_bus_shelter_-_ormskirk_rd_aintree_12_13

So what a new bus shelter, you might say. And you would be right had it not taken more years to get it installed than I care to remember. And it’s not just me that’s banging away at Merseytravel over recent years as I know that a number Maghull/Lydiate residents and Cllr. Jane Day of Maghull Town Council have raised the lack of a shelter at this rather exposed spot.

As a point of reference it is close to Wickes Aintree store on the A59 on the northbound carriageway. Getting the shelter installed here is an important move forward because anyone travelling by bus to Aintree’s Retail parks from Maghull and Lydiate needs to be able to keep dry as they wait for the bus home. For years they have not been able to keep dry so a big thank you to Merseytravel for putting the new shelter in. It may have taken too long as far as some folk are concerned but at least it is there now.