Ford Escort 50th Anniversary – I had the MK1-ASP Model

The BBC has a video about the 50 anniversary of this iconic car – see link above

When I’m asked what my first car was I say a red Escort MK1-ASP and those who know about cars respond by saying ‘I’ve never heard of an Escort ASP’ or words to that effect. So what was an Escort ASP? – All Spare Parts!

Caricature of a Ford Escort Mexico – Every ‘Boy Racer’ wanted one of these in the 1970’s

The car was knocking on when I bought it 3rd or 4th hand in 1976 and frankly it felt like I had it completely rebuilt by the time I sold it on again. Apart from the engine block pretty much everything else mechanical failed in the 3 or so years I had the car. And as for rust, it was the era when cars were meant to rust away although my following Vauxhall Viva and Chevette cars were even more rust prone.

Yet despite all the troubles I had with that car I still have fond memories of it, if I think with my heart instead of my head that is. There’s a Brexit analogy in there for some folks I guess:-)

With thanks to Keith Page for the photo opportunity

Merseyrail as it used to be

Harking back to that recent trip of mine to see the Class 502 EMU being restored in Burscough I also saw some interesting artifacts.

Firstly, there is the destination blind roll from an old 502 unit which reminds us of the former parts of this electrified network which are no longer even railways.


And then what about this old illustrative map of the extent of what we now call the Northern Line to Southport and Ormskirk.


Of course Southport lost its suburban electrified service to Crossens a long time ago (1964) and indeed the whole of its railway line to Preston. The loss of this line (known as the Lettuce Line locally) has been a huge economic disadvantage to Southport particularly as the alternative rail route to Preston, via the Burscough Curves, has also been lost (the connecting curves that is) and the powers that be seem far from willing to reinstate them. OPSTA, our local railway campaign group, John Pugh MP and others try to keep this option on the agenda though despite Lancashire County Council showing little interest and Merseytravel not driving the project forward despite its often warm words.


The other interesting loss is the electrified line from Bootle to Aintree (see map above) and you can see from the destination blind roll (also above) how it was possible to reach Maghull via Marsh Lane (now Bootle New Strand) Station. This line ceased to be used for passenger trains in April 1951 although it was used for freight for many years after. It is now overgrown but protected from development in Sefton Council’s present Unitary Development Plan and will seemingly continue to be so protected in the draft succeeding Local Plan. Talk of it being reopened to provide another rail link to the expanding docks at Seaforth often pops up but despite years of such speculation by Merseytravel nothing actually happens.

The Merseyrail Northern Line may well have gained the Kirkby line but sadly it has lost two other electrified lines over the years. Feels like 2 steps back and 1 forward to me.

Click on the 3 photos to enlarge them

The second photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

North Mersey Branch Railway – Will it ever re-open?

Over the past 20 years or so Merseytravel, see my previous posts, have oft spoken about reopening this branch which runs from Aintree Station on the Liverpool – Ormskirk Line to join the Liverpool – Southport Line just north of Bootle New Strand Station.

It was once a passenger and goods line which was 3rd rail electrified and there were stations at Ford and Linacre Road. Indeed, it served a wider purpose as at the Aintree end it originally went through to Fazakerley to join the Liverpool – Kirkby Line and there was an additional station called Aintree Racecourse. At the western end it served Gladstone Dock and connected with Seaforth Sands Station of the Liverpool Overhead Railway. This final connection enabled Overhead Railway trains to reach Aintree for the Grand National meeting.

The line originally opened in August 1866 with Ford & Linacre Road stations opening in 1906 and closing in April 1951

Below are a couple of recent photos of the line as it is now. Both were taken from the Hawthorne Road over-bridge looking west and east respectively.



The link below may be of interest to readers:-

But the reason I raise this matter now is that if there is to be a significant new rail connection with the enlarged docks at Seaforth (see my posting of 25th April 2014) then this mothballed railway is potentially a part of the solution.

The photos above are amongst my Flickr shots at:-