Merseyrail’s troubled Northern Line to Ormskirk

A Merseyrail Ormskirk to Liverpool train rushes past the construction site of the new Maghull North Station on 19th February. Seen from the Park Lane overbridge.

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above

On this occasion (today) I understand that snow gathering above the collector shoe, which takes power from the 3rd rail, on the electric unit caused the failure and indeed the fireworks. Could the 507/508 electric trains not have been checked for such snow build up?

But electrical problems on this line, particularly north of Maghull in recent months have caused previous train cancellations due to power failures. Clearly these power failures were for Network Rail to resolve and we all hope that they have now cured the problem power supplies.

Travellers going north of the present Maghull Station in particular must be really cheesed off as their trains have been taken off due to the building of the new Maghull North Station and because of power supply issues in recent times on top of the strikes that have bedeviled the whole Merseyrail network of course.

Maghull North Station – Latest construction photos – It’s also 66 years since Maghull lost its original 2nd Station

Here are a couple of photo’s taken on Sunday 14th January of work being undertaken on the site of the Town’s new and soon to be second railway station, which is due to open in May of this year:-

It is 66 years this month since Maghull lost its original second railway station on the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway. That station was on Sefton Lane and it was called Sefton & Maghull.

Sefton & Maghull Station @ 1930 – Photo D Thompson

The station closed on 7th January 1952 and the site has been built over by what was originally the Koters factory.

The site of Sefton & Maghull Station in 2017

The only reaming thing associated with that station is what is now a hump in Sefton Lane. The hump was until not so long ago a bridge carrying the road over the old railway. It was too expensive to take away the whole bridge and ramps up to it so the open part, where the tracks originally were, was filled in by Sefton Council in the 1990’s. Here’s an old photo from when the bridge and its parapet wall was still in place – the copyright owner is unknown to me:-

So 66 years after losing it’s second railway station Maghull will get it back all be it on the same Liverpool – Ormskirk line as the present Maghull Station.

Click on the photos to enlarge them – The 2nd one from the top of this posting is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

Town Green – Taking advantage of the ‘Engineer’s Possession’ of the line north of Maghull

The Merseyrail Northern Line from Liverpool to Ormskirk was closed north of Maghull Station over the Christmas period (and it will be again on various dates in the coming weeks) to facilitate the building of the second railway station for the Town – unimaginatively to be called Maghull North!

But it seems that Network Rail have been taking advantage of the closure (engineer’s possession) to do other works on the line north of Maghull, which of course makes sense.

The following photos were taken at Town Green Station on 5th January as Network Rail engineers were working on the line. My guess is that the work was associated with drainage but I am open of course to correction. The blue grids between the up and down lines are part of the works undertaken.

The last but one photo is also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

Merseyrail – When a train is simply too short!

Merseyrail Class 508 EMU at Maghull Station

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Folk using the Merseyrail Northern Line between Liverpool & Ormskirk may soon be using the ‘Miseryrail’ phrase as 3 car trains are yet again the order of the day due to power shortages at Aughton Park.

This first manifested itself a few weeks back but here we go again it seems. 3 car trains at rush hours are bad for passengers and they are letting their feelings be known!

Network Rail are in the dock over this continuing problem.

Altcar Rifle Range Station

Yes there really was once a station serving the rifle range but it closed for good in 1921.

The Station was only a third of a mile north of the present Hightown Station (on the modern-day Merseyrail Liverpool – Southport line) and if my eyes were not deceiving me I am sure I could make out the brickwork of one of the platforms when I cycled by the site recently.

The station opened in 1862 and was called ‘Hightown Rifle Station’ but was renamed ‘Altcar Rifle Range’ in 1886.

A small narrow gauge munitions tramway ran from the station into the firing range.

I recently purchased a photo of the station and here it is:-

Click on the photo to enlarge it

And here’s a present day view looking north towards where Altcar Rifle Range Station would have been from the road over-bridge where North End Lane crosses the line above Hightown Station’s platforms:-

Liverpool – The trouble getting there early on a Sunday morning

We live in a 7 day a week society/economy these days and I often wonder if there is not more traffic on our roads on a Sunday than any other day.

But this is not really a posting about the rights and wrongs about Sunday trading. I’m an atheist so the religious angles are not an issue for me but I am also a trade unionist and I really do fear the exploitation of workers and a breakdown of family life. However, I will leave those aspects to one side for now.

No, the reason for this posting is associated with the ability of those who do not drive to be able to access a city like Liverpool from its northern suburbs early on a Sunday morning.

Let’s look at Merseyrail and Maghull to start with. The first train out of Maghull on a Sunday morning is at 8.30am. And if you live north of Ormskirk the Ormskirk – Preston line does not run at all on a Sunday!

Then what about say Lydiate and Arriva buses? Well their first 300 bus on a Sunday to Liverpool is at 08.25am.

But are there any other bus options? Well there’s the No.30/30A bus which starts from Ashworth Hospital. The first bus (30A) on a Sunday runs at 7.22am from Ashworth using Dodds Lane, Moss Lane, Hall Lane, Liverpool Road South. Note it does not serve the north west of Maghull or Lydiate at all. The next bus is a number 30 which starts at 7.43am and covers a similar route although it does call in at Maghull Railway Station at 7.51am some 39 minutes before the first train out of Maghull to Liverpool.

If you need to be in work early on a Sunday and do not have a car or more likely are in a low paid job and can’t afford to run one what are your options if you live in the north west part of Maghull or any part of Lydiate other than a high cost taxi?

PS. I penned this posting before Merseytravel’s Sefton Bus Review proposals were made public just yesterday but I don’t think they change this situation much sadly:-

My last but one posting prior to this one was about the impact of the Sefton Bus Review on the Lydiate and Maghull area.