Trans Pennine Trail V Tissington Trail

These two photographs tell a story and in the case of the Trans Pennine Trail, specifically the part of it through West Lancashire which is also known as the Cheshire Lines Path, it’s not a good one as far as maintenance is concerned

Trans Pennine Trail/Cheshire Lines path – Looking south from Cabin Lane Great Altcar – December 2020

Tissington Trail Derbyshire – March 2019

The difference in maintenance regimes is stark indeed yet (I thought*) both are National Trails and I’ve cycled them both.

I’ve commented on the terrible condition of the Cheshire Lines path, through West Lancashire, previously but it continues to deteriorate and seems to be fast becoming the forgotten Trail – so very sad. But before you shout ‘austerity’, which will of course clearly be a significant factor in recent years, this path has been suffering a lack of maintenance since it was fully opened some 30 years ago through West Lancashire. There was, in my view, hardly any maintenance to cut back on!

The part of the Trail/Path in Merseyside (Maghull) has seen some improvement work in recent years at the hands of the Merseyside North Volunteers. This is some of their excellent handiwork just north of the site of the former Sefton & Maghull Station and behind Sefton Drive, Maghull:-

* The Trans Pennine, it turns out, has not been made a National Trail (despite efforts to have it designated as such) and that probably indicates why its maintenance levels are not up to National Trail standards – With thanks to those correcting my view that it is a National Trail.

Maghull – An insight into its long closed Cheshire Lines railway & station

Maghull presently has two railway stations both on the Merseyrail Northern Line to Ormskirk but it once had what was then the town’s second station on the former Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway which ran from Aintree Central Station to Southport Lord Street Station. The station closed on 7th January 1952.

I’ve blogged about this long lost station, which was actually called ‘Sefton & Maghull’, previously and here’s the most relevant link back to one of my postings:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/11/22/sefton-maghull-station-cheshire-lines-southport-extension-railway/

I return to the subject of this station now because of some historic photographs from the 1960’s which have been passed onto me by the family of former British Rail employee Neil Reston. Here they are:-

This shot is noted as being taken on 28th February 1960. It looks southwards in the direction of Aintree. It will have been taken from the road over- bridge.

This shot of roughly the same area was taken in 2017

This shot also looks south and it’s noted as being taken in March 1960. It looks to have been taken from Cabin Lane which is between Lydiate and Sefton & Maghull Stations so the shot looks towards Sefton & Maghull. The occupation bridge in the shot, which still stands, as a continuation of Bells Lane where it turns sharply right to become Altcar Lane. My thanks to Alan Bolton for correctly identifying the location. This posting has been updated to take this into account.

Here’s a shot looking south from Cabin Lane as it looks now:-

This shot is taken from the bridge parapet which carried Sefton Lane over the railway. It’s looking north in the direction of the next station on the line Lydiate. It’s dated 28th February 1960.

This final shot is also looking north and the track has been removed. It’s dated March 1960.

The present view of the former trackbed looking north, replicating the final photo, is this:-

The telegraph poles are all that remain.

My posting about Lydiate Station using photos from the same collection and taken at the same times is available via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/12/14/lydiate-remembering-its-long-lost-railway-station/

Altcar – Light & shade on the S&CLER

Great Altcar Civil Parish in West Lancashire remains a predominately rural community to this day. It lost its very rural passenger service along the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway in 1952, well before Beeching came along.

The trackbed is now a part of the National Cycle Network, the Trans Pennine Trail and is known as the Cheshire Line Path.

The two light and shade shots in this posting were taken just to the north of the site of the former Altcar & Hillhouse Station. Both are looking south and from the same location – the next bridge north of the B5195 Wood Lane.

If you click on the photos to enlarge them you will see more detail. The first one shows the next bridge south (Wood Lane) and the former station would have been just the other side of it where a sewerage works now stands at the side of the Cheshire Lines path.

I love the stone and brickwork in these shots, built to last you might say. The line opened in September 1884, so these bridges are over 130 years old and still looking pretty much as good as the day they were erected.

The first shot is also amongst my Flickr photos at – www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Another isolation cycle ride – Lydiate, Maghull, Netherton circular

Farm access bridge over the former Cheshire Lines Railway between the former Lydiate and Sefton & Maghull Stations.

My exercise as we all try to keep safe is solo cycling around the East Parishes part of Sefton Borough and into West Lancs and South Sefton.

One of my recent rides (on a glorious Sunday morning) was from my Lydiate home down the Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail from the site of the former Lydiate Station down to the site of the former Sefton and Maghull Station, then on via Old Racecourse Road to regain the path at Meadway. From there through Jubilee Woods to the new Brooms Cross Road and into Netherton joining the A5036 cycle path at Copy Lane and back into Maghull via Switch Island, the A59 (Northway) and local roads and lanes back home. It was 9.5 miles in total.

I took a few photos along the way and here they are:-

I spotted this sign on a tree right next to the farm bridge in the lead photo above. It seems to be part of a trail by Altside Scouts but I’ve not seen any of the others.

Looking north from a bridge over the River Alt. Sefton Church can be made out in the background.

I wonder what the back story is to this road nameplate just off the Northern Perimeter Road in Netherton?

Commemoration boulder at Switch Island

A closer look – It’s Maghull’s very own Cliff Mainey now living in retirement in Maghull’s Gainsborough Avenue.

The road works which have been driving local folk around the bend at the Alt in Maghull. Still more to be done as the junction is upgraded.

I hope I can keep going with my solo cycling around our local lanes, roads, tracks and cycle paths during health crisis. You never know I might detail more of my rides……….

Maghull – Totems get art-worked on Cheshire Lines Path

I came across these rather lovely art-worked totems on the Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail behind Sefton Drive on one of my bike rides the other day:-

The totems have been there for some time and I’m guessing that they have been painted up by the same volunteers who installed them. Very nice.

The 2nd photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/49053830736/in/dateposted/

Altcar & Hillhouse Station

I’ve always been fascinated by the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway, which ran from Aintree Central Station to Southport Lord Street Station, and I’ve blogged about it many times before.

The other day I had the opportunity to purchase an old and undated photo of the former Altcar and Hillhouse Station on the line. I took the opportunity up and the photo is above:-

I should add that I do not know who, if anyone, holds the copyright to this photo but would be happy to acknowledge them if I receive information.

The station was the next one north of the former Lydiate Station, itself not in Lydiate but also in the Civil Parish of Great Altcar. Just north of the station was the junction with the Liverpool, Southport & Preston Junction Railway in effect a branch of the West Lancashire Railway. The next station on the S&CLER northwards being Mossbridge.

Altcar & Hillhouse Station opened in September 1884, it closed from January 1917 to April 1919 (due to the 1st WW) and closed altogether in January 1952 with the whole line closing in July 1952. However, whilst the line north of the station was lifted shortly after closure rail access from the Liverpool end was retained until 1960 to serve private sidings on the site of the station.

The road bridge visible in the photo is sit in situ and the trackbed is now a part of the Cheshire Lines/Trans Pennine Trail foot and cycle path.

Please click on the photo to enlarge it