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

Maghull’s New 2nd Station – railfuture’s perspective on it

The article below is from the pages of Rail User Express

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.

2017 OPENING PLANNED FOR MAGHULL NORTH STATION

Merseytravel has begun a public consultation on plans for a new railway station at Maghull North. The new station would be located off School Lane in Maghull on the Ormskirk branch of the Merseyrail network Northern Line. With significant housing development planned for Maghull as part of the Sefton Local Plan, a new station would take pressure off the existing Maghull station and help meet the anticipated increase in demand from the new housing.

Proposals for the station include six carriage platform with shelters, a 200-space car park, step-free access to both platforms, a ticket office, secure cycle parking, passenger waiting facilities and toilet. Funding for the scheme is coming from a government contribution via the Local Growth Fund, Merseytravel and the Homes and Communities Agency, which is developing land on the east side of the railway.

The closing date for the consultation is 5 January 2016. Merseytravel says the aim is for work to start on site in January 2017 with the new station operational by December 2017.

I loved the phrase ‘significant housing development’ as it must be the one of the most alarming understatements of the year ‘massive urban extension’ would be an more appropriate description!

Also the words ‘closing date for the consultation’ rings a little hollow too. Sadly, it seems it closed before it even started because Merseytravel have given me the distinct impression that unless you suggest something that they already planned to do it will be rejected. My previous posting on this can be accessed below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/12/14/maghull-consultation-response-on-towns-2nd-and-new-railway-station/

I wonder how many ideas put forward by residents to Merseytravel about this new station were immediately knocked on the head? Has it been real consultation or window dressing?

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.