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

Sefton Focus hopes for 2016 and beyond

Here are a few of my local hopes for 2016 and beyond. They are in no particular order:-

Here I am at Lambshear Lane Lydiate checking out farm land that is coming under threat from house building.

Here I am at Lambshear Lane Lydiate checking out farm land that is coming under threat from house building.

That Sefton Council’s Local Plan is rejected on the basis that high grade agricultural land on which we grow our food should not be used to build houses on.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station.  Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station. Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

That Merseytravel actually take some notice of what folks are saying about the planned Maghull North Station. Also, that they stop blocking the idea of the present Maghull Station being renamed Maghull Hornby.

That HMRC’s ‘exit Bootle’ plan is revisited and jobs are kept where they are needed in a community that requires investment rather than being moved to where they are not needed.

That the Environment Agency’s plan to create a flood plain north east of Lunt Village actually works when they turn off the River Alt pumps.

HALT poster

That the Lower Alt wind turbine proposal, to be built on high grade agricultural land would you believe, is rejected by West Lancs Borough Council. I am certainly not against turbines and renewable energy as it is the future for green energy, but not on high grade agricultural land that grows our food.

That Costa in Maghull stop running auditions for screeching child of the year. We only want a bit of peace and quiet while having a cuppa.

Uncut hedge at Maghull's KGV Park

Uncut hedge at Maghull’s KGV Park

That Maghull Town Council cuts its hedges more than twice a year.

That the electrification of the Liverpool – Ormskirk railway line gets the green light to be extended through to Burscough.

That before any more houses are built in Sefton Borough a thorough independent assessment is made of the consequences of building in terms of flooding events.

A Red Squirrel at Formby Point in 2015

A Red Squirrel at Formby Point in 2015

That our precious Red Squirrel population in Formby continues to thrive.

Southport FC

That the remarkable turn around in the fortunes of Southport Football Club in late 2015 continues and it leads to them getting back into the Football League one day.

That youth facilities in Maghull gain some investment instead of them being closed by Maghull Town Council.

Fighting for Southport's Libraries

Fighting for Southport’s Libraries

That volunteers are encouraged and welcomed by Sefton Council instead of them being treated so badly when they try to take over and run community facilities such as closing community libraries.

Leeds Liverpool Canal in Bootle

Leeds Liverpool Canal in Bootle

That the 2016 By-Centenary celebrations of the completion of the Leeds Liverpool Canal are a success in Sefton.

That those of us who live in communities outside of Liverpool do not allow ourselves to be dominated from Liverpool Town Hall now the imposed/unwanted Merseyside Mayor concept has been foisted on us.

That gun crime in Sefton Borough and beyond is brought under control.

nhs-logo

That the concept of NHS drop-in centres is revisited and promoted so that more NHS services are delivered in communities rather than in over worked hospitals. Remember Maghull’s long-promised rebuild of its Health Centre to include a drop-in facility that was dropped by the NHS?

I am sure you will have other/additional wishes for 2016 and beyond and if I spent long enough thinking about it I could add to this list myself. However, I think you get my drift of what Sefton Borough could look like.

A very happy New Year to all.

Maghull – Consultation response on Town’s 2nd and new railway station

I posted about the public consultation event held at Maghull Town Hall last month on this blog site. My original posting (and a follow-up one) can be read via the links below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/11/24/maghull-north-station-project-exhibition-at-maghull-town-hall/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/12/07/maghull-name-new-station-maghull-moss-side/

After the event I filed in a Merseytravel consultation form with a few ideas on my own and those brought to my attention by residents. The responses of Merseytravel to the issues that I commented on in my submission are below:-

Dear Mr Robertson

Thank you for your suggestions for Maghull North station following the recent public information event. I am pleased to hear that you found the event helpful and the staff also friendly. It was well attended and there was good discussion about the project.

There is no intention to rename Maghull with the suffix “Hornby”. There would be a significant cost involved in changing systems to accommodate any new name which have implications within the rail operations industry as well as the public facing side of railways. This includes notifications to international organisations and websites.

The drawings shown at the public information event were indicative and intended to stimulate discussion from the public. The designs are not yet sufficiently advanced to show intended / desired minor details, colours and finishes. Those will be shown in the planning application which will be developed once the public comments have been digested and considered. I am sure that you will appreciate that we did not wish to unnecessarily spend resources on producing images that might have been significantly amended after the public event.

At present there are no proposals to modify the 231 to 234 group of bus services but there will be changes to travel opportunities will gradually evolve when the station comes on line and the housing developments in the area become occupied.

With regard to the station name, it has been called “Maghull North” for many years in its various iterations. This has been a logical working title and one that “does what it says on the can”. A final decision will need to be made in due course and I can understand your desire to propose “Moss Side” as an identifier recognising the work done by the hospital previously located on the site. The name finally chosen will need to be clearly understood by visitors who are not too familiar with the area. A quick straw poll of colleagues who are based elsewhere in the north west suggests that “Moss Side” is more obviously known as a district in Manchester which had some notorious chapters in its history in the late 20th Century. Whether or not that association could be misconstrued at Maghull needs to be considered in more detail.

Yours sincerely

Merseytravel’s
Corporate Engagement Team

**********

Some disappointing responses here and it does make you wonder whether Merseytravel and their partners (Network Rail & Merseyrail) really do want to hear alternative views at all. Seems some things are sadly set in stone.