Aintree Shed – 8L

Aintree once had a huge steam shed, known as 8L to supply the local rail network with motive power in the form of steam engines.

Once a year it would be inundated with engines when the Grand National was on but it was a busy shed anyway right through until the 1960’s.

Not so long ago I received a card and on it was a black and white photo of a steam engine ‘on shed’ at Aintree so I thought I would share the photo which I have scanned from the card.

Loco 45529 Stephenson at Aintree Shed

Loco 45529 Stephenson at Aintree Shed

Lick on the photo to enlarge it.

For those interested in learning more about Aintree Shed and the other steam sheds across Merseyside there is an excellent book by Kenn Pearce called Shed Side on Merseyside – The Last Days of Steam

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

Aintree Station – The transformation from Victorian splendor to modern concrete and steel

Aintree Station does not look much these days; it could be anywhere. Only the horse in the modern brickwork (see first photo) is a nod to what was once a grand station of great importance.

Horse - Aintree Station r

Now an old black and white shot of the station in its hey day, which I purchased not so long ago:-

Aintree Station then - Undated

Click on this photo to enlarge it

On to some more shots of the station as it is now. Be prepared to be disappointed:-

Aintree Station now 1 r

Aintree Station now 2 r

The questions that arise from these photos are:-

Why did Aintree lose its wonderful glass roof with its cast iron supporting columns?

How can a station like Maghull (two stops down the line to Ormskirk) be very much as it was back in Victorian days whilst being modernised in a sympathetic way but Aintree lost everything?

Aintree is no longer a ‘big’ junction station yet why was it not downsized whilst keeping its historic splendor?

I suspect that generations of owners – BR, Railtrack and Network Rail – have not been good guardians of the property and bit by bit it slipped into decay until it got to the point where it needed an almost complete rebuild in an unfortunate modern way.

My previous posting about the station of last month (May 2015) is available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/05/19/aintree-station-the-disused-linesplatforms/

The 4 photos above are also amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Aintree Station – the disused lines/platforms

Disused r

Behind the Ormskirk bound platform of Aintree Station on Merseyrail’s Northern Line. The tracks were probably last used for a freight connection with the Metal Box Company whose factory was nearby. Prior to that they would have been used, together with two additional platforms, for Grand National trains etc. This once great station is now sadly a concrete and steel one that could pop up anywhere on the rail network.

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

Merseyrail – Nice to see that our local railway can respond to one off events – Grand National

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/aintree-trains-run-twice-often-8966536

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Since privatisation of the railways one big problem has been the lack of spare rolling stock to deal with special events, spikes in the number of passengers at a particular time or even the gradual but ever increasing number of people using rail to travel around the UK or to go to/from work.

Aintree Sefton Arms Station - April 1913

Aintree Sefton Arms Station – April 1913

Merseyrail is no exception; take the number of 3 car formed trains at rush hour on the Ormskirk Line which lead to overcrowding most weekdays. What’s more it probably also leads to folk deciding not to travel by train as they don’t want to stand up in a crush after a long hard day at work.

rsz_507_emu_at_southport_in_graffiti_livery

When and if Merseyrail’s trains are replaced (don’t start me on that decade old saga again) more units will be needed to cope with demand now, for demand as it increases and for extensions to the system.

But for now let’s celebrate what we hope will be a great service during the Grand National weekend.