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 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.
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:-
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.
Aintree Station does not look much these days; it could be anywhere. Only the horse in the modern brickwork (see first photo) is a nod to what was once a grand station of great importance.
Now an old black and white shot of the station in its hey day, which I purchased not so long ago:-
Click on this photo to enlarge it
On to some more shots of the station as it is now. Be prepared to be disappointed:-
The questions that arise from these photos are:-
Why did Aintree lose its wonderful glass roof with its cast iron supporting columns?
How can a station like Maghull (two stops down the line to Ormskirk) be very much as it was back in Victorian days whilst being modernised in a sympathetic way but Aintree lost everything?
Aintree is no longer a ‘big’ junction station yet why was it not downsized whilst keeping its historic splendor?
I suspect that generations of owners – BR, Railtrack and Network Rail – have not been good guardians of the property and bit by bit it slipped into decay until it got to the point where it needed an almost complete rebuild in an unfortunate modern way.
My previous posting about the station of last month (May 2015) is available via the link below:-
The 4 photos above are also amongst my Flickr shots at:-
Behind the Ormskirk bound platform of Aintree Station on Merseyrail’s Northern Line. The tracks were probably last used for a freight connection with the Metal Box Company whose factory was nearby. Prior to that they would have been used, together with two additional platforms, for Grand National trains etc. This once great station is now sadly a concrete and steel one that could pop up anywhere on the rail network.
The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-