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
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:-
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.
Now an old black and white shot of the station in its hey day, which I purchased not so long ago:-
Click on this photo to enlarge it
On to some more shots of the station as it is now. Be prepared to be disappointed:-
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:-
The 4 photos above are also amongst my Flickr shots at:-
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 Racecourse Station – 1912
Aintree Sefton Arms Station – April 1913
The photos are amongst my Flickr shots at:-
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.
The link below may be of interest to readers:-
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:-
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.