Maghull – It’s 2nd railway station opens tomorrow 66 years after it lost its original 2nd station

Maghull lost its original 2nd railway station when it closed on 7th January 1952. That station (Sefton and Maghull) was on Sefton Lane and was a part of the former Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway.

I’m told by an old Maghullian in the know that the first talk of a 2nd station for Maghull, on the Liverpool – Ormskirk line, was just after World War 2, so its taken a while you might say to get it built.

The serious talk has been going on for I suppose over the last 25 years and it took some time to secure the station site. My good friend and former Sefton councillor for Maghull, Roy Connell, had a hand in that effort and the battle was won some 10 or more years ago when the rest of what was then called the Ashworth South Site* was down to have a prison built on it. That prison, which was never built of course**, is not to be confused with the temporary prison (HMP Kennet) which did operate from the former Ashworth East site for just under 10 years until quite recently.

Maghull North Station site – 27th September 2017

Construction of the new station (somewhat unimaginatively called Maghull North***) started last September and when it became apparent that it was due to open alongside the May 2018 railway timetable changes some of those in the railway know scratched their heads and said ‘that’s not going to happen’ or words to that effect. And indeed it did not and the opening was put back a month until 18th June.

This photo shows, on the left hand side the shortish back gardens of the Mersey Avenue houses.

The building of the new station has not been without considerable upset though for the residents of Maghull’s Mersey Avenue, who will have the station at the bottom of their back gardens. Noise, overnight working and the height/scale/position of the lift towers became huge issues and it led to demands for compensation payments which remain unresolved I understand. So it’s worth those standing on the platform of the new station taking a few moments to think of the troubles of the Mersey Avenue residents.

Having fought for the station to be built for more years than I care to recall I’m obviously pleased that it’s finally arrived. Now we want Merseyrail’s Liverpool – Ormskirk Line extended to its logical end of Preston. The present arrangement of a poor and unreliable service by Northern Trains onward from Ormskirk is a hang over from the decline of our railways in the 1960’s. I hope I’m still breathing when Northern are kicked off that line and we can all once again travel the length of the Preston to Liverpool railway.

Welcome Maghull North, your birth has been a long and tough one but you should be of benefit to many future generations.

* Former site of the world famous former Moss Side Hospital which pioneered the treatment of shell shock during and after World War 1.

** When the new prison was cancelled @2010 the site was designated for housing and presently the Poppy Fields and Pavilions housing estates are being built on the site.

*** Campaigners seeking to acknowledge the world groundbreaking medical history made at Moss Side Hospital wanted the new railway station to be called ‘Maghull Moss Side’ but the dead hand of railway administration was having none of it. They had made a decision and we were stuck with it so to speak just as they refused a quite sensible request to change the name of the old Maghull station (which was once called Maghull & Melling) to ‘Maghull Hornby’ in recognition of former Maghull resident and world famous toy maker Frank Hornby.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Lydiate/Maghull – Their former Cheshire Lines railway stations

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.

Memories…….

*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.

Ainsdale – Sculpture of Lockheed Electra aeroplane

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I recently photographed this rather excellent sculpture of a Lockheed Electra aeroplane, above a stylised New York skyline, which is sited on the Southport Coastal Road traffic island next to Pontins.

Ainsdale Beach 1

The site and indeed the Coastal Road itself sit on the former track bed of the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway, which closed in the 1950’s

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The sculpture of this twin engined monoplane commemorates a transatlantic flight made from Ainsdale beach to New York in 1937.

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Ocean Parcs made a £40,000 donation towards the project.

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them

The photos above are also amongst my Flickr shots at:-

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

Old Map of Southport – 1958 – Some of it’s former railways were still on the map

I mentioned a few days ago (see link below) that I had come across an old Ordnance Survey Map of Liverpool from 1958.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/04/07/old-ordnance-survey-map-of-liverpool-in-1958-maghull-lydiate-the-cheshire-lines-railway/

The map also covers Southport so let’s have a look at that part of the map which I have scanned:-

Southport 1958

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.

Old Ordnance Survey Map of Liverpool in 1958 – Maghull & Lydiate & the Cheshire Lines Railway

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:-

Maghull 1958

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.

Altcar and Hillhouse Station

Altcar and Hillhouse Station

This follows up a number of previous postings about the long-gone railway from Aintree Central to Southport Lord Street which closed well before Mr Beeching had a hack at Britain’s railways.

This station, on the old Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway, was between Lydiate and Mossbridge Stations. It opened in 1894, closed for a couple of years during the First World War (along with a number of other stations along this line) and survived until the line was closed in 1952. Rail access was still retained until 1960 to serve private sidings on the Station site.

The photo above was taken in June 1959 when a railway enthusiasts special was run.