Special charter train on Merseyrail’s Northern Lines

Branch Line Society charter train at the new Maghull North Station 08 12 19

To follow up my posting of yesterday (linked below)

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/12/08/maghull-north-branch-line-society-charter-train-on-ormskirk-line/

here are two videos which have been published on You Tube of the special train on the Ormskirk and Southport lines:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZdtJOZZ1o8

www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB9wn8pel8Q

Maghull North – Branch Line Society Charter Train on Ormskirk Line

At lunchtime today a Branch Line Society charter train came through Maghull on the Liverpool – Ormskirk Merseyrail Line and I was there to see it at the new(ish) Maghull North Station.

Unexpectedly it stopped at Maghull North for 15 minutes allowing photographers both on and off the train to take photos. Here are my shots of the unique event. It is very rare to see anything other than Merseyrail’s own Class 507/508 EMU’s on the line. Indeed, this could well be the first charter train to visit and stop at Maghull’s new station. Please correct me if I am wrong here:-

The 4 coach train was topped and tailed by two West Coast Railways Class 47’s – 47 245 & 47 826.

The 2nd photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Merseyrail’s new Stadler HQ and train servicing facility completed at Kirkdale

A mock-up of a Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s

Place North West has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/stadler-rails-21m-depot-completes-in-kirkdale/

Another shot of a mock-up of a Class 777 Stadler EMU as displayed in Birkenhead a while back

The new Class 777 Stadler EMU’s should start to arrive in the UK very soon.

Note:- My understanding is that the photo in the Place North West article is of the Kirkdale site before the works to upgrade it were done.

How Preston’s transport plan could benefit Southport & the Ormskirk Merseyrail Northern Line

The graphic above*, which you will need to click on to enlarge for reading, is an extract from the recently published Preston City Transport Plan. It’s an important document because it discusses much needed transport, in this case rail, improvements to the south and west of Preston.

If you look closely the document is promoting the re-connection of the Burscough North Curve so that trains can once again travel between Preston and Southport. This is what the curves looked like when they were in place in the 1960’s:-

The Burscough Curves are in West Lancashire. This historic shot of them is from when they were in place, in 1960’s.

OPSTA, the Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travelers Association has been promoting the re-connection of the Burscough Curves since the 1980’s and they have been the driving force behind improving the Ormskirk – Preston Line and the reopening of Midge Hall Station. But it’s been an uphill struggle with Lancashire County Council (the Transport Authority) seeming being at best lukewarm about the line the present train operator (Northern) struggling to deliver the present basic service reliably.

Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Northern trains meet.

Another way forward is for Merseyrail to run trains all the way from Liverpool Central to Preston via the removal of the buffer stops at Ormskirk and other signaling/track improvements. To me this has always been the most sensible solution to bring the Ormskirk – Preston Line up to its true potential, together of course with the introduction of Southport – Preston trains. The fact that some of Merseyrail’s soon to arrive Class 777 Stadler rolling stock will now have battery operation facility (this had been in doubt previously) then them operating on the line without the need for expensive electrification equipment opens up real opportunities.

A mock-up of a Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s

Graphic Notes:-
* ‘P’ is Preston – Numbers 2, 3 & 6 are points along the Ormskirk – Preston Railway Line – 2 is the proposed new Coote Lane Station – 3 being the proposed reopening of Midge Hall Station and 6 is where the connecting Burscough Curves are situated i.e. where the Ormsirk – Preston and Southport – Wigan lines cross each other.

Maghull – Book sharing scheme at the new(ish) Maghull North Station

The new mini library at Maghull North Station

Local resident Frank Sharp has launched a book sharing scheme at the new Maghull North Railway Station akin to the one that is run by the Station Volunteers at the original Maghull Station.

Maghull Station Library run by the Station Volunteers

Organisers hope it will encourage a sense of community and ownership of the new station. Frank thanks Merseytravel’s senior rail project manager Darren Hazlewood and Merseyrail’s Sally Ralston, for allowing the installation of a bookcase and books which have been freely donated by the local community.

The initiative follows on with similar initiatives at other railway stations (not just in Maghull) and the international Little Free Library organisation, which aims to increase book access and forge community connections.

Says Frank “The idea is simply to encourage the community to emulate other railway stations and organisations by taking a book or leaving one – anything you’ve read and would like others to enjoy. The more people use it, the more fun it will be, and the more it circulates. Hopefully, it will also encourage a sense of community and ownership around the new station, akin to the brilliant award winning work undertaken by volunteers at Maghull’s older station.”

Editor – It all sounds great to me so I’ll now share the books and magazines I donate to the old Maghull Station across the Town’s two stations. I hope others will join in too. Please try to remember to add a book when you take one, or soon afterwards, otherwise the system does not really work.