Rail tunnels under Liverpool – A more environmentally sustainable solutuion to the Port of Liverpool access difficulties

Liverpool 2’s massive new container cranes

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/stunning-pictures-reveal-secret-tunnels-14081033

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

With all the objections to the Highways England ‘let’s build a new road through the Rimrose Valley Country Park’ preferred solution to try to solve the expanding Port of Liverpool’s access difficulties these old tunnels under the City may well be a far better and more environmentally sustainable solution.

For goodness sake expanding the rail access to the Port is the solution and the tunnels are already there. What’s more the present rail link to the Port is underused.

With thanks to Mike Penn for the lead to this posting

The last part of Liverpool Central overground station is still standing

Liverpool has sadly lost two major overground railway stations i.e. Central and Exchange but like with the facade of Exchange a part of Central survives and it’s a Cafe Nero at present.

Fronting onto Bold Street - the last part of the original Liverpool Central overground station still standing.

Fronting onto Bold Street – the last part of the original Liverpool Central overground station still standing.

Wikipedia says of the old overground station:-

The original station, which was a large, above-ground terminal station, opened on 2 March 1874, at the end of the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) line to Manchester Central. It replaced Brunswick station as the CLC’s Liverpool terminus, becoming the headquarters of the committee. The three-storey building fronted Ranelagh Street in the city centre, with a 65 feet (20 m) high, arched iron and glass train shed behind.

There were 6 platforms within the station, offering journeys to Manchester Central (in 45 minutes, making the route the quickest and most direct between Liverpool and Manchester), London St. Pancras, Hull, Harwich, Stockport Tiviot Dale, Southport Lord Street and an alternative London route to that of the Midland Railway, terminating at London Marylebone.

Until the nationalisation of Britain’s railways, the station was always busy, but as with many other stations in the UK, it was closed under the Beeching Axe, as the routes served could be taken from nearby Liverpool Lime Street. In 1966, most services on the CLC route were diverted to Liverpool Lime Street via the Hunts Cross chord, leaving only a dozen urban commuter trains per day to and from Gateacre. These final services were withdrawn on 17 April 1972 with a promise to reinstate the Gateacre route when the Merseyrail network was completed in 1978.

The High Level station was demolished in 1973, having served a short time as a car park, although some former station buildings remained while work was in progress on rebuilding the underground station in the mid-1970s.

Here’s a much older photo that I found after much trawling as there seem to be few shots of the former Parcels Office out there. The stonework on the right hand side is the give away as it is the same stonework as the side wall of Cafe Nero. Of course the entrance is now the Bold Street access to the modern underground Central Station.

Picture credit Martin Jenkins/Online Transport Archive.

Picture credit Martin Jenkins/Online Transport Archive.

Altcar – Yes it once had a railway and a station

IMGr

The photo above is of Altcar & Hillhouse Station on 6th June 1959

Altcar and Hillhouse Station was on the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway that ran from Aintree Central to Southport Lord Street Stations. Altcar is in the present Borough of West Lancashire. The station was between Lydiate and Mossbridge Stations. It opened on 1st September 1884, closed from 1st January 1917 to 1st April 1919 (due to the First World War) and finally closed altogether on 7th January 1952. A private siding on the site remained in use up until 1960 so the track from the southbound (Aintree) direct remained in place until then.

The people on site in this 1959 photo, as shown above, were part of a rail tour.

Some of the stations along this line were of a unique design and Sefton & Maghull Station (two stations south) was similar to this one.

The site of the station is still undeveloped as it is in a remote rural location. The modern day Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail passes it and the road overbridge that would have been behind the photographer (W A Brown I understand) is still standing and in use.

The photo has scanned from a photo I recently purchased.

The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Merseyrail back in 1977

I recently picked up an old publicity map of Merseyside’s local railway network published in 1977 at a time when it was being substantially redeveloped as an underground railway within Liverpool City Centre.

Merseyrail Network

Click on the map to enlarge it

You can see from the main map that the electrified services only reached Rock Ferry back then on one of the Wirral Lines (in Green). Extensions were subsequently constructed to both Chester and Ellsemere Port in later years. An additional station also appeared along this line at Bromborough Rake and a further one at Overpool on the Ellsemere Port extension. Conway Park Station is an addition to the Network too. Upton-By-Chester Station has since been replaced by Bache Station about half a mile away from it.

The Northern Line line (in Blue) now terminates in Liverpool’s southern suburbs at Hunts Cross. This extension from Liverpool Central Station (which was an overground station until the 1970’s but is now underground) along the tracks of the former Cheshire Lines Committee was yet to be completed at the time the map was drawn. Also, this southern end of the Northern Line gained a new station at Brunswick (first stop out of Liverpool) whilst Garston Station has since been replaced by Liverpool South Parkway.

Of course the former Liverpool Exchange Station was lost as a consequence of this 1970’s redesign of Merseyside’s railway network and it was replaced by Moorfields Station which is close to it but underground.

The presently named Rice Lane Station on the Liverpool – Kirkby Northern Line (in Blue) was called Preston Road Back then.

Merseyrail map

The next significant addition to the Merseyrail Network of electrified lines will be the soon to be constructed Maghull Station on the Northern Line to Ormskirk. It’s name clearly identifies its location i.e. north of the present Maghull Station which is beyond its capacity at rush hours.

Just a bit of recent Merseyside railway history, please feel free to comment particularly if I have got anything wrong.

Lydiate – Chesire Lines train passing signal box – the back story

A few months back I published the photo below which had been given to me by a Maghull resident who used to live in Lydiate as a child.

rsz_lydiate_signal_box_2

We did not know much about the photo but some detailed detective work by Trevor Booth has brought the photo to life so to speak. This is what Trevor has deduced from it:-

The loco is number 5862 and is an LNER (ex GCR) D6 class 4-4-0. It was built in Dec 1898 by Beyer Peacocks of Manchester.

Lydiate - Cheshire Lines - a closer view

Lydiate – Cheshire Lines – a closer view

The two lamps on the front means that the train is classed as an express passenger.

Just to the left of the Loco chimney can be seen a signal. This is a standard CLC upper quadrant signal (which means that when the signal is ‘off’ showing clear the arm moves upwards as opposed to the lower quadrant type like the one the train has just passed at the back of the train). This pattern of upper quadrant signal was introduced by the CLC in 1929 although it might have been a year or so until this particular signal was installed here as they were usually only renewed when the previous signal was life expired or required repositioning.

The loco at this time was allocated to Brunswick shed, Liverpool and was withdrawn from service there and cut up at Gorton works, Manchester in July 1933.

I have a CLC system timetable for September 1931 which shows a (previously) withdrawn express to be reinstated in June 1932. This train (the only express on a weekday) departed Southport Lord St at 13:15 and passed Lydiate at about 13:35 arriving at Warrington Central at 14:20.This train had probably run in previous years and the time would fit in with the angle of the sun on what appears to be a very warm summers day.

I think that the picture was probably taken a year or two earlier as by 1931/32 Lydiate signal box was not open in the afternoon (but obviously is in the picture) but might have been open a year or two before.

Therefore I think that it’s most likely that the picture was taken in 1929/30/31.

If I turn up any thing that dates it more accurately I will let you know.

Just for the record the signal box is painted in standard Cheshire Lines colours which were;

Corner posts, framing, stairs, doors and ironwork = Medium Oak Brown.
All planking = Dark Buff.
Window frames = White.
Name board = Black with White letters and surround.

I see that in this case the stairs (and window frames) are Dark Buff with only the hand rails Oak Brown.

It’s amazing what can be deduced from an old black and white photo. Well done Trevor.

The second photo is now also amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/