I often cycle along Sandy Lane/Mickering Lane in Aughton on my daily rides and as I peddle under its railway bridge I sometimes wonder about the days before the Liverpool – Preston rail corridor was severed at Ormskirk.
And then out of the blue I was recently offered some old railway photos by the Maghull family of a Mr Reston who used to work for British Railways and who had sadly passed on. As a lifelong railway enthusiast I was of course delighted to accept the offer and I’ve been working my way through them. Most of the locations, across northern England & Scotland, are noted but some are not and I came across 3 1960’s black and white shots which at first glance looked to have been taken at the Butchers Lane railway bridge in Aughton. Closer examination however proved this thought to be wrong.
I needed help so I put the photos on the Mersey Railways Facebook Group and I asked fellow Committee members of OSPTA (Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers Association) for such help. After a suggestion that the photo could have been taken in Burscough it was finally narrowed down to the Sandy Lane/Mickering Lane railway bridge just a little further north from my own original thought of Butchers Lane. It was great to see fellow railway enthusiasts pitching in to help me out and the location was cracked by them.
So here are the 3 photos:-
Two southbound trains (heading towards Liverpool) and one northbound (heading towards Ormskirk) but what’s really amazing about the information provided is that it’s not just the location which was identified. One helper from the Mersey Railways FB Group was actually able to pin point an exact train from 1965. It’s one of the southbound trains headed by the diesel locomotive. I’m told that it’s a returning empty stock for the 1965 Grand National (a special) at Mickering Lane, the first bridge south of Town Green. The loco is No.D210 ‘Empress of Britain’ with the stock of 1X66, a Birmingham excursion. It’s returning to Aintree from servicing at Lostock Hall shed. Also, that the buffer stops in the shot were the end of the siding that ran behind Town Green signal box and the signal is Town Green outer home. I’m truly taken aback by the detail of this information and delighted too.
And just to bring things up to date here’s a couple of shots taken by me around 2.20pm on 3rd December, yesterday, from roughly the same position as the three 1965 photo were taken:-
Click on the photos to enlarge them
I’m member of the Mersey Railway Group on Facebook and every now and again I come across interesting old photos of our local railway stations. Here are 3 I’ve just seen for the first time. The copyright for each one is owned by John Tolson:-
Maghull Station – 10th March 1979
Maghull Station 13th June 1974
Aintree Station 11th August 1973
The first shot shows the former Maghull Signal Box (Removed in 1994, if memory serves) and the Station Master’s House, which having remained derelict for many a year is presently being renovated as part of the new housing development behind the Liverpool bound platform.
The last shot, of what used to be called Aintree Sefton Arms Station (Aintree Central was the adjacent Cheshire Lines Station), is interesting because some of the old tracks which served the Metal Box Factory (and before that the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway to Southport) were still is use back then as can be seen by the diesel shunter in the platform. The station still retained its platform canopy back then too. So sad that it was removed instead of being renovated.
The old Class 502 EMU rolling stock is evident in all 3 photos. The last remaining 502 two car unit is presently in a warehouse-type building in Burscough, owned by Merseyside Transport Trust, where it is painstakingly being restored by the Friends of the 502 Group
502 at Burscough – July 2018
I’m always interested to learn more about our local history (and in particular our railway history) in and around Sefton Borough and recently I’ve come across a unique aspect of Aintree’s railway history that until now had completely passed me by.
I refer to this Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Electric Locomotive At Aintree, Merseyside, 25th September 1912
Phil Hughes on the Mersey Railways Facebook Group, where the photos were recently displayed, says – From what I believe it was a test track possibly between Sefton junction and the bridge crossing the Ormskirk line hence the overhead wires.
Ryan Lloyd then contributed this – It ran from Aintree Sorting Sidings East box (about where the North Mersey branch crossed the Ormskirk line) past Aintree No1, which you can see in the distance, and around the back of the grid, to Netherton Way and Aintree Sorting Sidings West box. This section of the grid was on a slight embankment as the photo shows. You can also see the shed behind the loco.’
I hope you find this as fascinating as I do (ok I’m a railway enthusiast) and if anyone knows more to fill in any gaps in this posting I would be pleased to hear from you.
This posting and the photos are reproduced here with the kind permission of Phil Hughes who started the thread on the Mersey Railways Facebook Group.
Click on the photos to enlarge them
I came across this accent via a report in the Daily Telegraph which had been posted on the Mersey Railways Facebook Group and found it interesting not least because railway accidents are thankfully so rare and this one was in the present Borough of Sefton.
Here’s the cutting:-
And here’s a link to the official report into the accident:-
It seems remarkable that so few injuries particularly serious ones were recorded especially when you look at the photo of the damage to the 2 trains in the Telegraph photo.
Credit for the cutting – Phil Hilton
Please click on the newspaper cutting to enlarge it