Shirdley Hill Station – Summer 1938
The small rural West Lancashire community of Shirdley Hill lost its trains to Southport and in a southerly direction towards Liverpool on 26th September 1938. The line closed 21st January 1952. However, the tracks remained in place until 1964 as they were used for the storage of Southport’s excursion stock.
The line was built as the Southport and Preston Junction Railway and the village station was on Renacres Lane. The line was often referred to as the Barton Branch and it was and maybe still is famous for a train called the ‘Alcar Bob’ which was a very small steam locomotive with a single coach. The coach had driving controls at the rear end so there was no need to turn the train. The fireman would stay with the engine when the train was running coach first whilst the driver would of course be in the cab in the coach.
I recently purchased the summer 1938 photo in this posting of a two coach train at the station.
The next station to the north of Shirdley Hill would have been Heathey Lane Halt and south of it New Cut Lane Halt. The southern end of the line Line joined the Southport & Cheshire Lanes Extension Railway at Hillhouse Junction just to the north of Altcar & Hillhouse Station on the S&CLER. At the north end of the line it connected through to Butts Lane Halt, Meols Cop Station and into Southport or onwards towards Preston.
There is no trace of the former station now although I’m told that there’s a plaque which marks the site. The link below takes you to a previous posting of mine about the 7 mile long S&PJR from May 2020:-
I mentioned a few days ago (see link below) that I had come across an old Ordnance Survey Map of Liverpool from 1958.
The map also covers Southport so let’s have a look at that part of the map which I have scanned:-
Click on the map to enlarge it.
The most noticeable thing is that the former West Lancashire Railway line from Southport to Preston is clearly still up and running. No way would that line have been closed now if it had only just survived the Beeching era. It was of course 3rd rail electrified from Southport to Crossens.
The trackbed of the former Southport and Cheshire Lines Extension Railway from Aintree is also just about visible along the coastline. It had been closed in July of 1952 and is now Southport’s Coastal Road from Ainsdale to near the old Lord Street Station. It also serves as the Cheshire Lines Long Distance Footpath which is part of the Trans Pennine Trail to Hull.
The former Liverpool, Southport & Preston Junction Railway (LS&PJR) line from Meols Cop/Blowick to Hillhouse Junction (on the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway) is still denoted as being in use as far as Shirdley Hill. Whilst the line closed in January 1952 it was retained as far as Shirdley Hill and used for the storage excursion carriages until 1964.
If readers want to no more about the West Lancashire Railway or indeed the LS&PJR there is an excellent book on it by J E Cotterall which was published by The Oakwood Press in 1982, that may be available in second hand book shops.
My 3rd posting based on this map will appear soon regarding railways around Ormskirk, Burscough and Skelmersdale.