Kirkby – Another end of the line for Merseyrail (at present)

The Merseyrail half of Kirkby Station looking towards Liverpool.

I have posted previously about the bizarre severing of the Liverpool – Preston railway line at Ormskirk which leaves a great 15 minute service from Ormskirk to Liverpool and a far from impressive irregular service from Ormskirk to Preston.

My posting about the Liverpool – Preston Line is available via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/05/01/ormskirk-end-of-the-line-well-end-of-two-lines-actually/

But there’s another of these bizarre serverings on the Merseyrail network at Kirkby where the Liverpool – Wigan Line is in effect chopped in two. In some ways this is actually more bizarre than the severing at Ormskirk because there’s another Merseyside community which Merseyrail does not reach just up the line at Rainford, part of St Helens Borough. If a severing had to take place surely Rainford would have been the obvious place would it not? BTW I am not arguing for such split tracks, indeed they make no sense to me at all.

Kirkby (like Ormskirk) is a single line, single platform station where the two separate train services meet end on and like Ormskirk the service on to Wigan and beyond is far less frequent and the Merseyrail one into Liverpool.

Also like on the Ormskirk Line there is is always talk of the Merseyrail system being extended, in the case of the Kirkby Line onto Skelmersdale. To achieve this a brand new spur line needs to be built into the 1960’s ‘New Town’ of Skem as the planners of the day ripped up and built on the railway line that ran through the old town of Skem from Ormskirk to St Helens. It will also mean a new station as well so the bill will be huge if the project ever gets the go ahead.

Looking at this optimistically the proposals are reasonably sound as Merseyrail would then run directly into Skem with a separate diesel service from Skem to Wigan from the new station. If the project was in the south it would have have had money chucked at it at least a decade ago but with recent back-tracking by Government over rail electrification schemes across a huge swathe of Northern England, whilst Cross-Rail 2 in London starts to get the thumbs up from Ministers, optimism about rail investment in the North of any sort is in very short supply. So for the foreseeable future Merseyrail will continue to stop at Kirkby.

The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Old photos of Merseyside railway stations

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/stunning-images-show-merseyside-railway-12157850

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above

This is an interesting report on railways within the present Knowsley Borough whose Council have put together a web based archive called ‘Chuffed to bits’.

Some great old photos and the one that jumped out at me shows a diesel shunter pulling old Liverpool trams at Kirkby to their inglorious end.

Worth a look indeed. Well done Knowsley Council for pulling this together.

The place where it all started – Kirkby In Ashfield Station

Visitors to this site will realise that I have a great love for trains and I was delighted to purchase an old photo of a place where my Grandad Walter used to take me as a toddler to the watch trains go by.

41940 Kirkby in Ashfield Station 1951 P

This is the very spot in Kirkby In Ashfield as Walter Calladine lived only yards away down Urban Road. I would think my visits to this now long gone station and level crossing started when I was around 2 in 1960. This shot was actually taken in 1951 some 9 years earlier but I bet the scene remained pretty much the same.

Credit for the photo goes to Frank Ashley, a local Kirkby historian, who is sadly no longer with us I understand.

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