Maghull – When its railway was a main line

I’m returning to the railway photos of former Maghull resident and British Rail employee Neil Reston. The 3 photo’s in this posting were all taken from the same spot where Poverty Lane Maghull crosses over the what is now the Ormskirk Line of Merseyrail but until the late 1960’s was a main line north to Scotland from Liverpool Exchange Station.

All 3 photos are of northbound trains with the lead photo being noted as a Glasgow train. They were all taken in 1968 which is right at the end of through trains using the line from for former Liverpool Exchange Station to Scotland.

I have more 1960’s photos to work my way through of railway scenes across Merseyside from the Neil Reston Collection which was kindly passed on to me by his family.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

My review of 2020 – No Brexit, no COVID

I’ve been looking back at my blog postings throughout each month of 2020 and I’ve picked out the 12 most interesting from my perspective:-

Liverpool 2’s massive new container cranes

January – Access to the Port of Liverpool & Sefton Council’s far, far too late Judicial Review application – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/01/21/access-to-port-of-liverpool-and-that-oddly-timed-judicial-review/

Cottages in Sefton Lane, Maghull (September 2012) – Sadly flooding here has a long history

February – Will building Maghull’s vast new urban extension lead to more flooding? – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/02/24/maghull-heavy-rain-reminds-us-of-the-potential-peril-of-building-on-agricultural-land-locally/

Sunny Southport Cricket

March – Watching County Championship cricket at Birkdale – so sad it’s seemingly a thing of the past – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/03/30/southport-when-patrick-the-fastest-bowler-in-the-world-bounced-into-town/

Liverpool Exchange Station in 1977

April – Looking back at a once great station – Liverpool Exchange – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/04/29/liverpool-exchange-station-long-gone-but-not-forgotten/

Jim Sharpe RIP

May – The sad passing of an old style community journalist of note – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/05/01/jim-sharpe-rip/

June – Policing has long been a political interest of mine and a big frustration when it fails to deliver – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/06/08/policing-when-it-goes-badly-wrong/

Meccano

July – Reading the history of Liverpool’s famous Meccano Factory – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/07/22/liverpool-factory-of-dreams/

August – Vehicles on pavements the curse of the selfish motorists – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/08/03/pavements-r-4-pedestrians/

Merseyside Maritime Museum

SeptemberLife on Board a new exhibition at Merseyside Maritime Museum – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/09/18/life-on-board-exhibition-at-mersey-maritime-museum/

The present Sandy Lane Changing Rooms building – Lydiate

October – Banging the drum for football changing facilities in Lydiate – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/10/28/lydiate-progress-on-sporting-fitness-facilities/

Litter

November – Lydiate’s volunteer litter pickers – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/11/07/lydiate-and-its-volunteer-litter-pickers/

Meccano

December – A remarkable Meccano canal bridge – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/12/03/boltons-meccano-canal-bridge/

So that was 2020 trying hard not to mention Brexit or Covid. The items posted here are just a small selection of my many (far too many I hear you say) blogs about all kinds of things which have caught my attention during a very odd year indeed. Here’s hoping for a better 2021…..

Lancashire Railways 1964-1968 (Liverpool – Southport – Ormskirk – Burscough – Wigan)

The Burscough Curves are in West Lancashire. This historic shot of them is from when they were in place, in 1960’s.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJ3SxCwCcIQ

I can’t recall whether I’ve posted about this particular You Tube video before (posted by Michael Dawson – see link above) or not but it is so significant in documenting the railways around Merseyside and West Lancashire in the mid 1960’s through to the end of steam that it is well worth sharing.

It covers through trains from Liverpool Exchange to Scotland via Ormskirk, the now long gone and much missed Southport – Preston Line, the fabled Burscough Curves which OPSTA are trying to get reopened and many other delightful railway scenes.

And I’m also taking the opportunity to add in more photos by Anthony Graham, which he has kindly given me permission to use, to further illustrate in a similar timeline some of the lines the video:-

Hall Road Station 1968 with a Liverpool Lime Street to Southport Class 108 DMU in the station.

Hesketh Park Signal Box May 1968

Ormskirk Station Signal Box 1968 May

Rufford 1970 2nd May, the final Saturday 0900 Liverpool Exchange-Glasgow Central service being cautioned owing to a block failure between Rufford and Midge Hall.

Kirkdale Station 1968 looking north east

I’m sure this posting will bring back memories for many folk looking at it. How lucky we are that our railway past has been so well documented on film/video and by photographers.

Liverpool Exchange Station – Long gone but not forgotten

Liverpool Exchange Station 1977, class 502 EMU’s in platform 5, for Ormskirk, & platform 7, for Southport

This is the second of my postings using the historic photos of Anthony Graham, who has given me permission to showcase them. The first posting concentrated on Maghull Station, this time I’m looking back at Liverpool’s former Exchange Station which was lost in the late 1970’s

Liverpool Exchange No 1 Signal Box in June 1976

Liverpool Exchange No 2 Signal Box in April 1977

Here’s a detailed account of No.2 Signal Box from Anthony:- ‘Opened as Liverpool Exchange “A” box, with a temporary layout, on 12th December 1886, the box was a Railway Signal Company structure with a 168 lever RSCo frame. It originally controlled platforms 1 to 5, on new land, whilst Tithebarn Street station was demolished to make way for platforms 6 to 10. Platforms 6, the middle siding and platform 7 were added to the box on 23rd February 1888, platforms 8, 9 and 10 being added for the full opening of the new station on 2nd July 1888. The lines were named “Roads 1 to 11” on the signalling diagram, No 7 Road, the middle siding not being named as such until 25th May 1946. There were also five loco release ground frames bolt-lock released from the box. These were at the buffers end between platforms 2&3, 4&5, 6/Middle Road/7 and 8&9. A turntable siding and two carriage sidings were provided on the west side of the line, a turntable and two sidings were provided north of platforms 3&4 and four carriage sidings were provided north of the station, on the east side. In 1919 the west side turntable was moved to Sandhills (later known as Bank Hall) engine shed. The loco release ground frame between platforms 4&5 was replaced on 30th November 1924 with a 2 lever LNWR SK80 frame, the other loco release ground frames were removed between 1921 and 1937. On 25th May 1946 colour light signalling was brought into use on platforms 4 to 10. Much of the equipment was from the cancelled Preston North and South power box scheme of 1940. At this time the box was renamed Liverpool Exchange No 2, with the nearby Liverpool Exchange “B” box becoming Liverpool Exchange No 1. At the same time platforms 1 to 3 became known as “A Group”, 4&5 became “B Group”, 6/Middle Siding/7 became “C Group” and 8 to 10 became “D Group”. Platforms 1 to 3 received colour light signalling in 1948. On 26th April 1959 No 1 carriage siding on the east side was disconnected. Most of the levers were renewed in 1965 with BR-manufactured L&Y pattern levers, these were identical to the original Railway Signal Co levers except for a different type of gravity catch block at floor level. On 5th March 1967 platforms 1 to 3 were disconnected, together with the remaining three east side carriage sidings and one of the two sidings north of platforms 3&4. The loco release ground frame between platforms 4&5 was disconnected on 26th November 1972. Platforms 8 to 10 and the west side carriage sidings were disconnected on 6th May 1973 and quickly removed to allow construction of the new underground railway beneath them. The slow lines to Sandhills were disconnected on 16th December 1973, except for a short section of the up slow between No’s 2 and 1 boxes, this was retained as a shunting neck. The last train ran on 29th April 1977, but the box remained manned whist signalling equipment was disconnected over the next two days, the box still being manned until 07.00 hours on 2nd May 1977.’

Photo taken from Liverpool Exchange No 1 Signal Box in 1976 looking towards Exchange Station, a 6 car class 502 EMU is departing for Southport.

Photo taken from Liverpool Exchange No 1 Signal Box in 1977 showing track removal/lifting on the up slow line.

My own 2015 shot of the sign for the underground Moorfields Station, which replaced Exchange, with the retained facade of the old station in the background

And to close this posting an interesting piece of history about the old station subway which had, until now, passed me by:-

Liverpool Exchange Station Subway circa 1993

The Liverpool Echo takes up the story via an April 2019 article on its website – www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/secret-underground-tunnel-uncovered-city-16169509

Liverpool Exchange No 1 Signal Box interior in June 1976.
Levers 74 to 78, prepared for controlling the reversing siding at Sandhills, were never brought into use. The opening of the reversing siding was deferred and eventually connected to the new James Street Power Box on 1st May 1977.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – Steam train powers through its station – 1967

Remember for former Liverpool – Glasgow trains from Exchange Station powering through Maghull on their way to Scotland via Ormskirk and Preston? Here’s a link to a video of one from 1967*, not long before they ceased to run:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvclPkUYGek

Merseyrail Class 508 EMU at Maghull Station

*The video title indicates 1950’s but you can hear from the commentary on this short video (and see from the livery on the coaches) that the year is 1967

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………