A close up of Lydiate Signal Box
I have blogged about the isolated former Lydiate railway station before but to recap it was not even in Lydiate Civil Parish but just over the border in Altcar Civil Parish off Carr Lane*. It closed on 7th January 1952 and all trace of it has effectively gone. Interestingly though Lydiate does have a Station Road which joins Southport Road adjacent to the Scotch Piper Pub and does eventually lead to the former station.
Lydiate Station sat on the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway and the tracks were lifted after June 1960. The station site is still accessible though as it is on the Trans Pennine Trail/Cheshire Lines Path and the station site is one of the access/parking points on the footpath/cycle path. Here are a couple of signs that have been placed on the station site:-
I bet there are folks still around who can recall getting the train from Lydiate Station to Southport or indeed Liverpool. Indeed, when I moved into Sefton Lane, Maghull in 1968 an elderly couple next door would tell me of their travelling by train from the former Sefton and Maghull Station on the same line. That station has also gone now although the platforms were still there in 1968 – it’s all now part of Sefton Lane Industrial Estate. Then around 1970 I met a chap called Jack Petty who taught at Ormonde Drive Secondary Modern School (now Maghull High); he was my form teacher. He told stories of using the railway after the war to get from his Southport home to work in Maghull and how he was often the only person on the train and the station staff at Sefton & Maghull made him a brew each morning when he got off the train.
*Altcar Civil Parish was split as a consequence of local government reorganisation in 1974 and the part in West Lancashire is now called Great Altcar Civil Parish – The part in Sefton Borough is called Little Altcar Civil Parish and its the most southernmost part of what most folks will think of as Formby.
It’s hard to believe that the two photos below were taken from pretty much the same vantage point i.e. the top of the former over-bridge that took Sefton Lane over the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway by Sefton & Maghull Station. Both shots look towards Aintree although the height of the present day buildings precludes the background now.
The bridge parapet was taken away in the 1990’s and the trackbed underneath filled in so what was a bridge is now a mound. I understand it was more cost effective for Sefton Council to do this than to remove the embankments and return Sefton Lane to its original pre-railway line ground level. Older residents will recall the former Koters factory which slowly took over the site of Sefton & Maghull Station and the smell of the waxed bread wrappings they made.
Sefton and Maghull Station opened on 1st September 1884 being originally named as just ‘Sefton’. It was renamed in 1886. It then closed for 2 years during WW1 (1/1/17 – 1/4/19) and continued in use until final closure of the line on 7th January 1952. The tracks were taken up in June 1960.
Photo credit of the black and white shot, which I understand to be from 1930, is to D Thompson. Credit for the station opening and closing details to Rob Gell and his book ‘An illustrated Survey of Railway Stations Between Southport & Liverpool 1848 -1986 published by Heyday Publishing Company.
Click on the photos to enlarge them
I came across an old Ordnance Survey map of Liverpool the other day in the most unlikely of places – Bewdley Station on the Severn Valley Railway. The map was published in 1961 but in reality the last full revision of it was in 1958. Oh, and it was sold for Five Shillings & Sixpence.
Having scanned the Maghull/Lydiate section of the map it is worth looking at not least because it shows that the Southport and Cheshire Lines Extension Railway was still active as far north as Altcar. Here’s that part of the map:-
Click on the map to enlarge it.
Sefton and Maghull, Lydiate and indeed Altcar & Hillhouse Stations are all noted as closed – denoted by the white circles. Open Stations are red circles as Maghull Station is denoted on the Liverpool – Ormskirk Line.
Maghull and Lydiate were much smaller communities back in the late 1950’s but this posting is not the place for another rant about building on high grade agricultural land.
But back to the Cheshire Lines Railway. As many will know the line from Aintree to Southport closed in July 1952 but rail access from Liverpool was retained up until 1960 to serve private sidings on the Altcar & Hillhouse site.
Interesting to see how much this part of Liverpool’s northern commuter belt has changed in less than 60 years.
I have recently posted about Aintree Central Station (02/12/13) together with Sefton & Maghull (22/11/13) and Lydiate (28/11/13) Stations. Aintree was the starting point for the long gone Cheshire Lines Extension Railway to Southport. Here, via the link above, we have the holiday town destination of Southport Lord Street Station.
This fascinating site has some good photos and accurate historical facts.
We will have a look at the other stations between Lydiate and Southport in a future posting.