The Bootle Gas Works Branch Railway/Langton Dock Branch (Midland Railway)

The remains of this long gone branch railway are still visible in various places not least of which is the former tunnel that took the branch under what was Marsh Lane Station but is now Bootle New Strand Station on the Merseyrail network.

The trees in the foreground mask the now pedestrian tunnel which runs  under the the first carriage of this Merseyrail Electric Unit which is sat at New Strand Station

The trees in the foreground mask the now pedestrian tunnel which runs under the the first carriage of this Merseyrail Electric Unit which is at at New Strand Station

This former branch is probably a mile or so south of the North Mersey Branch (and travelling east to west like it) which I posted about on 2nd May.

The tunnel is now a pedestrian link under the present railway/station which gives access to an ASDA Superstore. What drew my attention to it was the wall-art on the tunnel walls and I posted a piece with a photo from that wall-art associated with the Borough of Sefton being 40 years old this year on 29/03/2014. I would add that the tunnel has been substantially filled in so the ground level you walk on through the tunnel is much higher than the original trackbed.

There are quite a few depictions of things associated with Bootle life on the tunnel walls and here are a few more shots of the wall-art.

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An internet search about the old branch threw up an interesting web site which carries photo’s and some description of the efforts made by people to access these long closed tunnels, where this may still possible. The link below gives details.

www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1533982

The former Midland Railway built branch line left Langton Dock and headed directly inland in an easterly direction, travelling under the Southport – Liverpool Line, under Stanley Road, under Marsh Lane and then under Hawthorne Road. Various tunnel/retaining/parapet walls can easily be seen on Marsh Lane and where the line passed under Hawthorne Road. A high vantage point allows you to trace much of the line further east where it was in a cutting between houses and businesses. The parapet walls where it passed under Southport Road are still in place for example.

A fascinating point here is that the line passed under Marsh Lane, not across it at an angle, but following the same line as Marsh Lane for a fair distance. Marsh Lane from Litherland Road to Hawthorne Road is in effect a long unseen viaduct as the closed railway tunnel is still below it.

Here are a couple of shots of the remaining blue engineering brick parapets:-

This Southport Road looking east with the line being in a cutting both sides of the over-bridge

This is Southport Road looking east with the line being in a cutting both sides of the over-bridge

e shots of the remaining blue engineering brick parapets etc.

This is Hawthorne Road looking east with the former line being in a cutting until Hawthorne Road.

This is Hawthorne Road looking east with the former line being in a cutting until this point.

Some of the photos in this posting are amongst my Flickr photo’s at
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Frank Doran & St Monica’s RC Church Bootle

Despite not having a religion I have always found church architecture interesting and yesterday I got quiet a pleasant surprise when I attended the funeral of my old friend Frank Doran. I know that sounds odd but Frank would have laughed!

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The ceremony was held in St Monica’s Church, Bootle which I had not seen before. Completed in 1936 it is art deco style and brick built. Interesting from the outside it is truly impressive on the inside. With massive vaulted brick arches running down each side you could be forgiven for thinking it is constructed like two railway viaducts with a roof between them. I was hugely impressed and it also felt a little tardis-like as on the inside it looks far bigger than the scale of it outside seems to be.

If you get the chance, have a look at it – especially the inside; it’s quite a treat.

The Parish web site is at

www.rc.net/uk/liverpool/stmonica/

Goodness knows how many people crammed into this very large church, which could easily pass for a small cathedral, but the turn out did Frank proud – at least 500. It was also great to see players from Bootle Football Club forming a guard of honour.

I met some old PCS friends such as Jackie McWilliams who is stood next to Frank in the photo below.

I find it hard to believe that Frank has gone.

Frank with Jackie McWilliams taking part in a PCS Trade Union protest outside the Triad building in Bootle.

Frank with Jackie McWilliams taking part in a PCS Trade Union protest outside the Triad building in Bootle.

Frank Doran Jr – A Bootle Buck RIP

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I have known Frank for many years as a work colleague and as a fellow activist in the trade union movement. I have always counted Frank as a personal friend.

Sadly, Frank has died after a struggle against cancer. I will miss him terribly. I will miss his humour, his kindness and his company. Bootle Football Club have lost someone who has devoted many years to it.

Frank with Jackie McWilliams taking part in a PCS Trade Union protest outside the Triad building in Bootle.

Frank with Jackie McWilliams taking part in a PCS Trade Union protest outside the Triad building in Bootle.

Frank had a mind open to ideas from others and he was far from being a dogmatic trade unionist who always thought our trade union was in the right. Indeed, he often seemed to share my concerns about the direction of the trade union movement; a subject we would often debate.

A life used to help others less fortunate than himself, a life that we can celebrate. I am glad to have known Frank Doran Jr.