Merseyrail – That new train fleet in more detail

The new Stadler trains (ordered by Merseytravel the Transport Committee of Liverpool City Region) which will be coming to Merseyrail in early 2020 look to be innovative and potentially class leading.

Here’s some photos from a mock-up of a Stadler train carriage so you can see how very different the new trains will look from the present rather elderly (40 years old in fact) British Rail built 507 and 508 trains:-

And you can see the mock up yourself too. Here’s where and how:-

The mock-up will be on display at the following times:

· Pacific Road, Birkenhead, CH41 1LJ: 1-14 October, Mon-Sun 8.00 to 17.30, Tues 8.00-19.30

· Liverpool Lime Street, L1 1JD: 5-18 November, Mon-Sun 7.00 to 18.30

The new trains are going to be fitted with battery packs so that they will be able to travel beyond the present electrified 3rd rail network. This brings all kinds of possibilities in terms of expanding the reach of Merseyrail to places like Burscough, Preston, Skelmersdale etc. without the need for costly electrification. Such opportunities are clearly most welcome and OPSTA* will be looking to pursue them at every turn.

With thanks to Bob for the lead to this posting.

*OPSTA – Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers Association

Merseyrail Class 502 Unit Under Restoration in Burscough – An Update

The long-term restoration of the Class 502 EMU, which used to run on the Northern Lines of the Merseyrail network, continues at the premises of Merseyside Transport Trust in Burscough by the Friends of the 502 Group.

It really is a huge task for the volunteers who are undertaking the work as the two car unit reached Burscough in terrible condition due to age and it being stored in the open. Rust is unsurprisingly the main problem, so fabrication of new parts is the major headache. Here are some photos of the present state of the works:-

Good luck to the Friends of the 502 Group in their endeavors.

Burscough – Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day

I went along to the Trust’s Open Day last Sunday to both have a look and to help out on the OPSTA stall at the event. Here are a few photos of the vehicles on display:-

Nice to meet up with some old friends there even though I’m not really into old buses and cars being a railway enthusiast. I did get to see the latest works on the former Merseyrail Class 502 EMU though and more about that in a separate posting.

The first photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

Burscough – Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day – Sunday 9th July

Please click on the image above to enlarge it for reading

I’m looking forward to seeing how the volunteer work to rebuild the former Merseyrail Class 502 EMU is progressing. Here’s a shot of a 502 at Ormskirk Station back in the day.

And another in LMS Maroon:-

The work is being done by the Friends of the 502 Group. Their web site is at:-

The Burscough Curves – An historical talk by Roger Bell

The Burscough Curves are in West Lancashire. This historic shot of them is from when they were in place, in 1960’s.

My good friend Roger Bell, former Chairman of OPSTA and former Lab’ Leader on West Lancs Council, gave a talk last Wednesday at Hurlston hall Golf Club about the history of the Burscough Curves to members of the West Lancs Heritage Association.

As an OPSTA member I went along to both hear and support Roger. I had never been to Hurlston Hall Golf Club before.

Roger spoke for quite some time with photos and videos which were really interesting. I learned a lot that I did not know about before even though I have been a part of OPSTA for more years than I care to recall and in all that time pressing for these connecting rail curves to be brought back into use has been a big issue.

Looking towards Wigan from Burscough Bridge Station with the Ormskirk – Preston line crossing the Southport – Wigan line via the bridge in the background.

Here’s a link to West Lancs Heritage Association’s web site:-

In straight forward terms the curves link the Ormskirk – Preston and Southport – Wigan railway lines which cross each other at Burscough. If they were brought back into use travelling by train from say Maghull to Southport would be possible without having to go via Sandhills for example. A Southport – Preston train could be reintroduced too so the opportunities are obvious to anyone who looks at the situation. Sadly, the railway powers that be have certainly been dragging their heels over this for far too many years and even more sadly it looks like they remain determined to keep on dragging them!

Burscough Junction Station – July ’15 – on the Ormskirk – Preston line.

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Maghull – Campaign to gain a cenotaph for the Town

I lived in Maghull (1968 – 2011) long enough to have heard this talked about before, indeed having Bruce Hubbard as a friend I have often listened to him talk about the Town’s war memorials and war dead.

Readers may recall that I blogged in 2015 about the video Bruce made with St Andrew’s Primary School children about those from Maghull who lost their lives in the 1st World War. Here’s a link to that posting and the YouTube video:-

Now John Sayers, a local councillor for Maghull, is proposing that he and his fellow Maghullians campaign to get a formal cenotaph for the Town.

The Lychgate of St Andrew's Church, Maghull

The Lychgate of St Andrew’s Church, Maghull

The present main war memorial is in reality also the lychgate (I appreciate that there are differing ways of spelling this) to St. Andrew’s Church.

John’s idea sounds like a good one to me although there will be two significant problems to overcome i.e. raising sufficient funds (that could be many thousands of Pounds) and finding a suitable space where it can be erected bearing in mind it would become the place to hold Remembrance Day events in Maghull.

A quick glance at the internet threw up this Heritage Lottery Fund advice/guidance:-

It will be interesting to see how this project develops but with a fair wind you never know.

But for what it is worth my personal view (as an outsider now living in Lydiate) is that the best war memorial I have seen is the very modern one in Lostock Hall, Preston but it may not be to everyone’s taste of course:-


The inside curve of this war memorial carries the names of all the locals who died in the 1st World War from the Lostock Hall area.

The inside curve of this war memorial carries the names of all the locals who died in the 1st World War from the Lostock Hall area.

A close 2nd for me and more local war memorial is in Burscough. It was also recently erected, in this case in remembrance of those who fought from the Royal Naval Air Station of HMS Ringtail. It is right outside the new Booths Supermarket.

Royal naval memorial to those who served at HMS Ringtail, Burscough during WWII

Royal naval memorial to those who served at HMS Ringtail, Burscough during WWII