Aughton – Winfred Lane is being resurfaced!

Yes I know, no one thought it would ever get done but credit to Lancs County Council all the grumbling about it from me and probably many others too has finally been taken on board.

Winifred Lane has had a shocking surface to it for a long time, indeed I have mentioned it on this blog site as far back as February 2018 – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/02/26/the-state-of-our-road-surfaces-on-your-bike/

As a daily cyclist I know all the bad roads across Sefton’s East Parishes and in much of West Lancs too. Winifred Lane has long been a really really bad surface or at least the section nearest to the A59 has. When I saw the works starting yesterday and took the photo I was wondering if the really bad section would be getting done too and am pleased to say that fellow local cyclist Keith Page confirmed earlier today that indeed it was being done.

Thank you Lancs County Council, you got there in the end.

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

Aughton – Butchers Lane flooding

Flooding under the railway bridge is now almost a constant problem and we have not even reached autumn and winter

My recollection is that it was this bad some years ago but that some drainage work was done which seemed to solve the problem except in the worst of weather conditions. Time to get on to Lancashire County Council me thinks to see what they are doing about it…….

Aughton – It’s big green slab-sided pedestrian bridge

Well you can’t miss it – it’s big, green and very long:-

My previous posting of a few days ago refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/08/22/aughton-doctors-bridge-footbridge-being-replaced/

My first thought having seen it in place was that when walking across it you will not be able to see anything as the walls are so high. This must be a Network Rail specification but of course the good people of Croston (see link below) recently protested about another Network Rail slab-sided bridge which they feel is poor architecture:-

www.lancs.live/news/lancashire-news/croston-residents-campaign-changes-meadow-16131748

But as mentioned in my original posting this bridge seems to have been replaced by Lancashire County Council not Network Rail, although I guess it will be to NR’s specifications.

Well it will serve a purpose but the days to aesthetically pleasing railway architecture seem to be a thing of the past sadly. I wonder why NR specify things to be simply functional rather than pleasing on the eye too?

Whilst marveling at the engineering of this Dutch GRP-type bridge I can’t help but be disappointed with how it looks. Yes I know, the old pedestrian bridge was of no architectural merit either but at least you could see around you when crossing it.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Aughton – ‘Doctors Bridge’ footbridge being replaced

Just north of Town Green Station, on Merseyrail’s Northern line to Ormskirk, is ‘Doctors Bridge’ where local legend has it that two doctors cars crunched on the bridge some years ago. The bridge is narrow though, too narrow to accommodate pavements as well as Prescot Road. The solution some years ago was a separate pedestrian bridge.

Doctors Bridge photographed from the former pedestrian bridge looking towards Ormskirk.

I’ve cycled over that separate bridge many times so imagine my surprise to find it gone Tuesday last…..

There it was gone with only the abutments visible on either side of the cutting.

Interested to find out more I cycled up Prescot Road again today and was lucky to bump into one of the bridge engineers for a chat. In my experience engineers love to talk about their projects and so it proved today.

I was told that the old bridge was life expired and is being replaced by a new one this coming Saturday (31st August). The new bridge [Brexiteers look away now as this will raise your blood pressure:-)] is coming from Holland and it’s made of GRP-type materials and less than half the weight of the old bridge. If I understood correctly this bridge will be one of the longest GRP pedestrian bridges in Europe.

Lancashire County Council are the sponsors of this bridge replacement together with another one further up the line in Ormskirk.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Aughton – Census and speed checks/traffic counts

The other day whilst cycling in Aughton I came across the Council (Lancashire County?) and the Police stopping traffic on Prescot Road for a census count. They were stopping each vehicle and doing a short interview with each driver. I’m guessing asking them where they had come from and were going to.

They were, however, not interested in cyclists (much to the grumbling of vehicle drivers I expect) I was waved through. Actually, I would have been more than happy to have engaged in the census and wonder why cyclists are excluded, after all we are traffic on the road.

No sooner had I turned into Town Green Lane/Bold Lane than I encountered yet another check point doing the same thing and a lady pedestrian asked me what was going on. This was the scene in Bold Lane near the junction with Winifred Lane:-

And then I noticed speed/traffic counting wires across Bold Lane literally yards away from where Melling resident and councillor Alison Doyle died whilst on a cycle ride a few months back:-

I’ve noticed that Bold Lane can at times be a bit of a racetrack for vehicle speedsters when I’m out cycling it so I wonder whether any of what I saw a few days ago is linked to that problem?