Sefton & Maghull Station – Cheshire Lines Southport Extension Railway

rsz_sefton_&_maghull_station_1966

My understanding is that this photo, which is looking northwards towards Southport, was taken around 1966. I came to live on Sefton Lane, Maghull in December 1968 at the age of 10 and recall the remains of the platforms being there but the station buildings had by then been demolished.

You could not easily replicate this photo for a ‘then and now’ shot as virtually nothing looks the same now. The bridge parapets have been taken away and the void beneath them filled in so that all that is left is a mound that Sefton Lane travels over. The track bed and station site has a factory on it as the former Koters factory, that you can see behind the station buildings in the photo, was extended onto the site many years ago. Koters, a company that made wax bread wrappers, has long gone itself with the factory serving other purposes these days.

North of the old bridge the track bed is intact and is the Cheshire Lines Path, part of the Trans Pennine Trail. My old mate former Maghull councillor Roy Connell often cycles it from his new home in Ainsdale back to Maghull where he used to live.

Motorbikes on Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path and Cheshire Lines Path – can this menace be solved?

This has been a long standing problem in the East Parishes part of Sefton. Being blessed with a wonderful canal and an excellent long distance footpath does unfortunately bring with it some unwanted side effects – motorbikes.

They are dangerous and totally inappropriate for canal tow paths and public footpaths and cause misery to many. Of course virtually all of them used for such purposes are ridden by uninsured under age riders who do not give a damn for the safety of others.

The Canal and River Trust have previously tried all sorts of barriers but the trouble is these barriers can at times stop legitimate canal users as well. And those mini-motorbikes, often bought for little kids by their parents, can easily get underneath barriers made to stop normal sized motorbikes.

The remains of a broken motorbike barrier (now removed) near Green Lane, Maghull

The remains of a broken motorbike barrier (now removed) near Green Lane, Maghull

Not long ago we had barriers installed on the Cheshire Lines path near to Sefton Drive in Maghull in an attempt to curb use of the path by motorcycles – there has been some limited success from this initiative.

The Police do what they can but they are effectively precluded from chasing motorbikes on tow paths and footpaths because of the danger a high speed chase can bring to those unfortunate to get caught up in it. The Police need to know who is riding the bikes and where they are gaining access so that they can catch the motorbikes being unloaded from vans etc. so this is something we can all do if we see such going on – tell the Police.

This knotty issue was another subject that we tried to tackle at the recent multi-agency meeting held at Kennet Prison that I have referred to before on this blog site. The launching of a Canal Watch type scheme was discussed as seemingly a similar type project in Lancashire has brought some good results as canal users and residents can make anonymous reports like we can all do via Crime Stoppers. The Police say they get much useful information from such sources.

I think the Canal and River Trust must tear their hair out over Motorbikes and the danager and damage they do to tow paths and those using them. There probably is no one solution to this menace but the best things seem to be, making it harder for riders to gain access and also gaining intelligence as to who the riders are.

Can you help? If you can, Maghull Neghbourood Police would love to know what you may know.

Another Visit to Kennet Prison

I have posted about Melling’s Prison that is tucked away to the side of Ashworth Hospital a number of times before and I am a fan of what they are trying to achieve.

By the way there is no connection between Ashworth Hospital and Kennet Prison, they just happen to sit next to each other.

The Prison is now predominately Category D i.e. the lowest level of offenders and the majority of them are reaching the end of the sentences and will be released in due course.

What the Prison is trying to do is to find useful work for the offenders so that when they are released there is far less chance of them re-offending. Maghull in Bloom has been working with the Prison to find horticultural work for the offenders to do and some excellent results have flowed from this initiative.

Our most recent meeting was all about how the Prison can help the Canal & River Trust maintain and manage the Leeds Liverpool Canal through the East Parishes part of Sefton and, as an extension of such thinking, whether it can also assist the environmental charity Sustrans in maintaining the Cheshire Lines Long Distance Footpath.

The idea is to enable offenders to gain skills and qualifications before they are released by doing useful things for local communities. There are presently only two other prisons in England working in this way and they are in Kent and the North East.

The Police, Sefton Council Officers, a couple of us local councillors (Steve Kermode and I), The Canal and River Trust and of course Kennet Prison were all in attendance and a useful meeting it was too. I hope that more projects will flow from this kind of partnership.