Another sad death on our local Merseyrail network – Formby

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above.

What a sad turn of events with two deaths in the same area in only a few days. Again, please think of the train driver as well as the victim and their family; such events must have a dramatic effect on train drivers.

A tragedy on our Merseyrail network – Freshfield/Ainsdale

Fisherman’s level crossing – Formby

What a sad story – the Echo has the details – see above link. The pain the woman’s family must be feeling at this time will be unbearable but let’s not forget how the poor old train driver must also be suffering too. Being a train driver means that tragedies like this may well happen to you whilst simply going about your everyday work.

Maghull Station as it used to be

Maghull Station, on Merseyrail’s Northern Line, is now a modern and very well used facility. Indeed, it is so busy that the addition of a new Maghull North Station (to be built between the School Lane and Park Lane railway bridges) is now almost a certainty since the Coalition Government put up £6.2m towards the presently estimated cost of £7m.

Yes, I know, I also heard that Maghull Labour councillors were celebrating the massive grant from the Coalition; money the last Labour Government did not come even close to stumping up! Funny old world is it not. Reminds me of them also celebrating the Coalition putting up the money to build the Thornton – Switch Island Link Road which Labour never got around to funding when running the Country either. Funny old world again is it not!

But I digress, the purpose of this posting is to publish a couple of old photos of Maghull Station, from the days when Maghull was very much a rural community. The first one is undated but looks to be Edwardian era. I purchased it recently:-


The second is not very good quality as it is reproduced from a photo sent in to the former Liverpool Daily Post Newspaper, which sadly closed down a few months ago. I have tried, so far unsuccessfully, to track down the original photo which was sent in to the Paper from an Aughton household. I am informed that the photo dates from 1940 and it looks to have been quite a cold and wintery spell indeed:-


Maghull Station was originally a Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway outpost and those with longish memories will recall the Scottish expresses running through it at speed until the late 1960’s when some fools decided to break the rails at Ormskirk to stop through trains to Preston and beyond.

The photos are amongst my Flickr shots at:-

Ormskirk Station in times gone by – Now a shadow of its former self

Flicking through my photo collection the other day and I found a photo of Ormskirk Station which I must have bought some time ago and forgotten about. The reverse says it is from the John Ryan Collection and the copyright is held by J A Peden, so due recognition here to them both.

The picture is undated and is taken from the Preston bound platform looking south towards the Derby Road bridge which crosses the tracks at the end of the platforms.


I have recently bought a second old photo of the Station, this time the view is from the Derby Road bridge looking northwards. It is also undated:-


Ormskirk was indeed a grand station in times gone by. You can see the former bay platform in this second shot – to the right. I understand that this is where the Liverpool local trains would run to and from.

Of course you could also get a train to Skelmersdale from Ormskirk, but sadly no more. My recent posting about the proposals to bring a railway back into Skem’ can be read at:-

But what about the Station now, in 2014? Well every picture tells a story and here is the picture. Hardly grand any more when compared with the two old photos:-

End of the line - Ormskirk Station in 2014

End of the line – Ormskirk Station in 2014

The photos above are amongst my Flickr shots at:-

The Bootle Gas Works Branch Railway/Langton Dock Branch (Midland Railway)

The remains of this long gone branch railway are still visible in various places not least of which is the former tunnel that took the branch under what was Marsh Lane Station but is now Bootle New Strand Station on the Merseyrail network.

The trees in the foreground mask the now pedestrian tunnel which runs  under the the first carriage of this Merseyrail Electric Unit which is sat at New Strand Station

The trees in the foreground mask the now pedestrian tunnel which runs under the the first carriage of this Merseyrail Electric Unit which is at at New Strand Station

This former branch is probably a mile or so south of the North Mersey Branch (and travelling east to west like it) which I posted about on 2nd May.

The tunnel is now a pedestrian link under the present railway/station which gives access to an ASDA Superstore. What drew my attention to it was the wall-art on the tunnel walls and I posted a piece with a photo from that wall-art associated with the Borough of Sefton being 40 years old this year on 29/03/2014. I would add that the tunnel has been substantially filled in so the ground level you walk on through the tunnel is much higher than the original trackbed.

There are quite a few depictions of things associated with Bootle life on the tunnel walls and here are a few more shots of the wall-art.




An internet search about the old branch threw up an interesting web site which carries photo’s and some description of the efforts made by people to access these long closed tunnels, where this may still possible. The link below gives details.

The former Midland Railway built branch line left Langton Dock and headed directly inland in an easterly direction, travelling under the Southport – Liverpool Line, under Stanley Road, under Marsh Lane and then under Hawthorne Road. Various tunnel/retaining/parapet walls can easily be seen on Marsh Lane and where the line passed under Hawthorne Road. A high vantage point allows you to trace much of the line further east where it was in a cutting between houses and businesses. The parapet walls where it passed under Southport Road are still in place for example.

A fascinating point here is that the line passed under Marsh Lane, not across it at an angle, but following the same line as Marsh Lane for a fair distance. Marsh Lane from Litherland Road to Hawthorne Road is in effect a long unseen viaduct as the closed railway tunnel is still below it.

Here are a couple of shots of the remaining blue engineering brick parapets:-

This Southport Road looking east with the line being in a cutting both sides of the over-bridge

This is Southport Road looking east with the line being in a cutting both sides of the over-bridge

e shots of the remaining blue engineering brick parapets etc.

This is Hawthorne Road looking east with the former line being in a cutting until Hawthorne Road.

This is Hawthorne Road looking east with the former line being in a cutting until this point.

Some of the photos in this posting are amongst my Flickr photo’s at

Merseyrail passengers have their say on future trains

New research has revealed that passengers in Merseyside like to sit facing each other during journeys.

This research, Future Merseyrail rolling stock – what passengers want, was carried out to provide an insight into what customers would like to see in a modernised Merseyrail fleet. The current Merseyrail fleet is approaching 40 years old and is one of the oldest operating in the UK. All options, which include a new fleet or extensive re-work of the existing stock, are being considered.

A Merseyrail Electric Unit at Sandhills

A Merseyrail Electric Unit at Sandhills

In picking out seats, 50 per cent chose to sit in the existing pod-style seats, facing each other in twos. The reasons given were that it allowed them to sit as a group and talk to family and friends. Even those travelling on their own felt it gave them an opportunity to make conversation with strangers.

The railway has seen strong growth in passenger numbers over the last 10 years and this looks set to continue. As a result, the research recommended that a mix of seating, including the pod-style, airline and possibly longitudinal, like on London Underground trains, would best address capacity demands.

Other improvements passengers suggested were making trains more spacious and ‘open plan’ with areas for bikes, wheelchairs and pushchairs. Security issues were also of paramount importance to passengers, including increased visibility of CCTV cameras and the installation of help points. Calls were also made for Wi-Fi and bins on the trains.

Passengers’ feedback and ideas will feed into the specification and design for any new or modernised trains.

My thanks to passengerfocus for this report