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.
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.
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
The sculpture of this twin engined monoplane commemorates a transatlantic flight made from Ainsdale beach to New York in 1937.
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:-
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.
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.
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.
The photo above was probably taken in the late 1940’s. It’s a long time since Lydiate had a railway station, 7th January 1952 in fact, and it was hardly close to the Village Green as was so often the case in rural England. In fact it was quite a way from inhabited Lydiate well down Station Road (and Punnell’s Lane) which joins the main drag (Southport Road) through present day Lydiate. Or put in a different way Lydiate is in modern day Merseyside, the station site is in modern day West Lancashire! The station was never within the Lydiate Civil Parish boundary.
As is well documented elsewhere the Cheshire Lines Extension Railway which ran from Aintree through to Southport was hardly a huge success, so much so that its closure was well prior to that man Beeching who decimated our railway network in the 1960’s.
There is no sign of the station now although the Cheshire Lines Path (part of the Trans Pennine Trail) lets you walk the former track bed of this long lost railway from Maghull (Sefton Lane) through to Ainsdale. From Ainsdale into Southport the track bed is now the Coastal Road but it long straight sections and sweeping curves give it away as being a former railway line.