Maghull North – Branch Line Society Charter Train on Ormskirk Line

At lunchtime today a Branch Line Society charter train came through Maghull on the Liverpool – Ormskirk Merseyrail Line and I was there to see it at the new(ish) Maghull North Station.

Unexpectedly it stopped at Maghull North for 15 minutes allowing photographers both on and off the train to take photos. Here are my shots of the unique event. It is very rare to see anything other than Merseyrail’s own Class 507/508 EMU’s on the line. Indeed, this could well be the first charter train to visit and stop at Maghull’s new station. Please correct me if I am wrong here:-

The 4 coach train was topped and tailed by two West Coast Railways Class 47’s – 47 245 & 47 826.

The 2nd photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

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

Aughton – Butchers Lane flooding

Flooding under the railway bridge is now almost a constant problem and we have not even reached autumn and winter

My recollection is that it was this bad some years ago but that some drainage work was done which seemed to solve the problem except in the worst of weather conditions. Time to get on to Lancashire County Council me thinks to see what they are doing about it…….

Aughton – ‘Doctors Bridge’ footbridge being replaced

Just north of Town Green Station, on Merseyrail’s Northern line to Ormskirk, is ‘Doctors Bridge’ where local legend has it that two doctors cars crunched on the bridge some years ago. The bridge is narrow though, too narrow to accommodate pavements as well as Prescot Road. The solution some years ago was a separate pedestrian bridge.

Doctors Bridge photographed from the former pedestrian bridge looking towards Ormskirk.

I’ve cycled over that separate bridge many times so imagine my surprise to find it gone Tuesday last…..

There it was gone with only the abutments visible on either side of the cutting.

Interested to find out more I cycled up Prescot Road again today and was lucky to bump into one of the bridge engineers for a chat. In my experience engineers love to talk about their projects and so it proved today.

I was told that the old bridge was life expired and is being replaced by a new one this coming Saturday (31st August). The new bridge [Brexiteers look away now as this will raise your blood pressure:-)] is coming from Holland and it’s made of GRP-type materials and less than half the weight of the old bridge. If I understood correctly this bridge will be one of the longest GRP pedestrian bridges in Europe.

Lancashire County Council are the sponsors of this bridge replacement together with another one further up the line in Ormskirk.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Merseyrail – A cab-ride from Liverpool Central to Ormskirk in 1990

A Merseyrail train passes the former Maghull Signal Box @1990. The last track plan, from the now demolished box, is now on display as part of the Frank Hornby Trust’s exhibition area within the Town’s Meadows Leisure Center – Copyright Noted HSG

Take a while to sit back to look at this video on You Tube, it’s surprising what has changed since 1990 just using Maghull Station as an example:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuqL1P8l6B4&feature=player_embedded

Maghull Station in 1991 looking south – the old semaphore signals are of course long gone – Copyright Noted HSG

At 17 minutes and 25 seconds on the video the train passes the former Maghull Signal Box (removed in 1994) and straight after the former Station Master’s House which was then falling into disuse and subsequently dereliction – see photos below – but it is rising from the ashes once again and being rebuilt as part of a new housing development on land behind the Liverpool bound platform.

Maghull Station Master’s House in July 2006

Maghull Station Master’s House May 2019

It is said that world famous toy maker Frank Hornby who lived in two separate houses in the Town, both close to Maghull Station (The Hollies & Quarry Brook), may have used Maghull’s station buildings as inspiration for his model buildings as he regularly took the train from his local station.

With thanks to Mike Penn for the lead to this posting

Maghull – New Station Opening Day Photos

Having campaigned for Maghull’s 2nd railway station to be built over many years and being a railway enthusiast I had to be there to see and indeed ride the first train out of the station today. It was the 05.58 from Maghull North (ex Ormskirk) to Liverpool.

Together with a few hardy folk (it was a cold and windy morning) we joined the train and here are some shots of events:-

05.58am 1st train into the new station for Liverpool

The Merseyrail welcome tent giving out cup cakes. The chap on the right in orange is one of the engineers who built the station.

Ticket to ride the first train

View of a later Liverpool bound train

Radio Merseyside were there and they interviewed some travellers and even me. I also rode the first train back into the station travelling to Ormskirk.

By the time I left the station around 7.30am the car park was filling up and large numbers of travellers were turning up. One lady asked me in worrying tones whether trains really were running from the station as I was getting back into my car. I was able to assure her they were and thought to myself good job the line is not being run by Northern!

So Maghull now has its 2nd station and a pleasant opening day it was too. Great to chat with Stephen an engineer who has worked on the project for contractors Buckingham. Let’s hope the station settles in to being a great success on the Merseyrail system.

Maghull – It’s 2nd railway station opens tomorrow 66 years after it lost its original 2nd station

Maghull lost its original 2nd railway station when it closed on 7th January 1952. That station (Sefton and Maghull) was on Sefton Lane and was a part of the former Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway.

I’m told by an old Maghullian in the know that the first talk of a 2nd station for Maghull, on the Liverpool – Ormskirk line, was just after World War 2, so its taken a while you might say to get it built.

The serious talk has been going on for I suppose over the last 25 years and it took some time to secure the station site. My good friend and former Sefton councillor for Maghull, Roy Connell, had a hand in that effort and the battle was won some 10 or more years ago when the rest of what was then called the Ashworth South Site* was down to have a prison built on it. That prison, which was never built of course**, is not to be confused with the temporary prison (HMP Kennet) which did operate from the former Ashworth East site for just under 10 years until quite recently.

Maghull North Station site – 27th September 2017

Construction of the new station (somewhat unimaginatively called Maghull North***) started last September and when it became apparent that it was due to open alongside the May 2018 railway timetable changes some of those in the railway know scratched their heads and said ‘that’s not going to happen’ or words to that effect. And indeed it did not and the opening was put back a month until 18th June.

This photo shows, on the left hand side the shortish back gardens of the Mersey Avenue houses.

The building of the new station has not been without considerable upset though for the residents of Maghull’s Mersey Avenue, who will have the station at the bottom of their back gardens. Noise, overnight working and the height/scale/position of the lift towers became huge issues and it led to demands for compensation payments which remain unresolved I understand. So it’s worth those standing on the platform of the new station taking a few moments to think of the troubles of the Mersey Avenue residents.

Having fought for the station to be built for more years than I care to recall I’m obviously pleased that it’s finally arrived. Now we want Merseyrail’s Liverpool – Ormskirk Line extended to its logical end of Preston. The present arrangement of a poor and unreliable service by Northern Trains onward from Ormskirk is a hang over from the decline of our railways in the 1960’s. I hope I’m still breathing when Northern are kicked off that line and we can all once again travel the length of the Preston to Liverpool railway.

Welcome Maghull North, your birth has been a long and tough one but you should be of benefit to many future generations.

* Former site of the world famous former Moss Side Hospital which pioneered the treatment of shell shock during and after World War 1.

** When the new prison was cancelled @2010 the site was designated for housing and presently the Poppy Fields and Pavilions housing estates are being built on the site.

*** Campaigners seeking to acknowledge the world groundbreaking medical history made at Moss Side Hospital wanted the new railway station to be called ‘Maghull Moss Side’ but the dead hand of railway administration was having none of it. They had made a decision and we were stuck with it so to speak just as they refused a quite sensible request to change the name of the old Maghull station (which was once called Maghull & Melling) to ‘Maghull Hornby’ in recognition of former Maghull resident and world famous toy maker Frank Hornby.

Click on the photos to enlarge them