1968 – A famous year for UK railways but will it be celebrated on the line where steam last ran for real?

A cold day at Maghull Station, where once Liverpool Exchange to Glasgow steam hauled trains would thunder through.

I’ve recently been reading a book by Michael S Welch called ‘Lancashire Steam Finale’ published in 2004 and which has some stunning photos of the very last days of steam power on British railways within it.

And then it dawned on me 2018 is 50 years since steam engines last ran on BR before being replaced by diesel and electric trains altogether. What’s more the line from Liverpool Exchange through Aintree, Maghull, Ormskirk, Preston and on to Carlisle was the very last line to run a regular steam hauled service.

‘The very last ordinary steam passenger train in Great Britain was the 9.25pm from Preston to Liverpool on 3rd August’ to quote from Michael’s book.

Are any celebrations of the anniversary being planned? With the demise of Liverpool Exchange Station (being replaced by Moorfields underground station) and the severing of the through line at Ormskirk, how possible would it be to run say a commemorating steam hauled train? South of Ormskirk it would clearly be difficult but north from Ormskirk looks to me to be very much a serious prospect.

Here’s hoping………

Rail travel north from Liverpool – A very brief history

Southport Train rounds the curve towards Sandhills Station

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Southport train to Liverpool

Rounding the curve towards Sandhills Station (in the distance) by coming off the Southport line of Merseyrail. The two 507/508 EMU’s are joining the Merseyrail lines that (behind the camera) lead to Ormskirk and Kirkby. Prior to around @1968 the Ormskirk line went all the way to Preston and beyond as Scottish bound trains used the route from Liverpool’s Exchange Station to Glasgow. The same could be said of the present Kirkby line as trains ran through to Wigan and Bolton etc. Now both these lines are artificially severed at Ormskirk and Kirkby with poor and infrequent trains beyond. The trailing 3 car unit’s yellow livery is caught by the sunlight whilst the lead unit is sporting the silver/grey livery of Merseyrail. Interestingly these aged 507/508 EMU’s are presently painted yellow on one side and silver/grey on the other. Kirkdale motive power depot is also behind the camera where these units are maintained.

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

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:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/01/09/liverpool-exchange-station/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/01/11/liverpool-exchange-liverpool-central-stations/

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.

www.class502.org.uk/

A scan of the painting is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Liverpool Exchange – Liverpool Central Stations

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-29816152

The link above is to the BBC web site. The article is all about closed major railway stations that have all but disappeared. Both the former Liverpool Central and Liverpool Exchange Stations are included and there are some historic photos.

I published 3 photo’s of the old Exchange Station on my Flickr site only a few days ago, being unaware that John Dodd would point me to this BBC article soon after. This is the link to one of the 3 photo’s I published:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/15609112074/

You can see the other two photos (all 3 are from the National Railway Museum collection) by scrolling to the left when you are on my Flickr site.