Bootle – Remembering the Container Base

Not that long ago there was a rail connected Container Base in Bootle served by the presently mothballed North Mersey Branch line which runs between Aintree Station and the Liverpool – Southport line between New Strand and Litherland Stations.

At one time this line ran all the way down to the docks and at the Aintree end on to Fazakerley and beyond. Oh how those planning for the vastly increased freight traffic from Peel’s River Berth at Seaforth must be regretting the loss of each end of what would now be a very useful railway line.

As I say the middle section is still there although badly overgrown since regular rail traffic ceased around the time of the closure of the Bootle Container Base. After that went the only use was occasional engineers trains but none of those have used it for a good many years now.

Looking east along the North Mersey Branch in the direction of the former Ford Station from Hawthorne Road, Bootle in 2014.

Looking east along the North Mersey Branch in the direction of the former Ford Station from Hawthorne Road, Bootle in 2014.

Anyway back to Container base which I came across a couple of photos of recently. I don’t know the name of the chap who took them so can’t give him the credit for them but he does work with the Friends of the 502 Group and I purchased the prints (and scanned them) from their stall at Southport Model Railway Exhibition. Here are the 1970’s shots to bring back some memories:-

Bootle Container Base 2

Bootle Container Base

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

The site of the Container Base for those unacquainted with the area concerned is close to the Giro/Alliance & Leicester Building just off Bridle Road. It was also close to the site of the long closed Ford Station from the days when the branch was 3rd rail electrified. It is now a Ford vehicles sales dealership.

The photos are amongst those on my Flickr site at:-

Friends of the 502 Group

Last weekend, as I posted about a few days ago, Jen and I went to have a look at the work being carried out by this group of volunteers who are trying to rebuild a desperately neglected Class 502 EMU which used to run on the Merseyrail network until it and its fellow class mates started to be displaced from the late 1970’s by the present Class 507/8 EMU’s

The restoration work required is massive as I think these two photos show:-



And for those with memories of the interior of the 502 EMU’s how about this nostalgia shot:-


Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Read more about the Friends of the 502 Group on their web site:-

The photos above are amongst my Flickr shots at:-

Exchange Station – Liverpool

Not so long ago I reproduced some old photos of Exchange Station from the National Railway Museum’s collection in York and a link to some photos on the BBC’s web site – see the links below:-

I subsequently came across a greetings card that had a painting of the station on the front of it and a lovely painting it is too by Philip Welsh. Click on the painting to enlarge it:-

Exchange Station Liverpool 1950's from a painting by Philip Welsh

The cards are being sold to fund raise for the Friends of the 502 Group who are trying to refurbish a former electrical multiple unit (EMU) that ran on the Merseyrail network until being replaced by the present rolling stock in the late 1970’s.

A scan of the painting is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

Merseyrail – Now what about those promised new trains?

Modern Railways magazine – November 2013 edition has a useful update from which I have drawn out the following points of interest.

Firstly, the present electric units (507/508 types for train buffs) are going to get a refresh to take them through until the new trains arrive. They are on lease until 2018 with a potential extension of up to 1 year. The refresh will be external and internal, with a new livery. The first refreshed unit should appear in a couple of months time.

A snowy shot of Maghull Station with an Ormskirk bound train approaching

A snowy shot of Maghull Station with an Ormskirk bound train approaching

Merseyrail is working with Network Rail to develop the best wheel profiles for the new units to cope with the tight curves in the underground tunnels due to such challenges adversely affecting the present fleet.

It seems that in terms of specifications for the new fleet they are being kept to broad issues so that bidders to build the new trains can be as innovative as they can in developing their ideas.

This all sounds quite positive yet I can’t but think that the last issue I mentioned i.e. allowing train builders to come up with ideas would have been the last thing that Merseytravel (not to be confused with Merseyrail) would have done under its old and recently departed guard where socialist ‘tractor factory’ principles seemed to rule the day!

And for a bit of history try a visit to this site to look at the previous generation of electric units on the Merseyrail system:-