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.

Lydiate Station – Cheshire Lines Committee (Southport Extension Railway)

rsz_lydiate_1949

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.

Sefton & Maghull Station – Cheshire Lines Southport Extension Railway

rsz_sefton_&_maghull_station_1966

My understanding is that this photo, which is looking northwards towards Southport, was taken around 1966. I came to live on Sefton Lane, Maghull in December 1968 at the age of 10 and recall the remains of the platforms being there but the station buildings had by then been demolished if memory serves.

You could not easily replicate this photo for a ‘then and now’ shot as virtually nothing looks the same now. The bridge parapets have been taken away and the void beneath them filled in so that all that is left is a mound that Sefton Lane travels over. The track bed and station site has a factory on it. The former Koters factory which you can see behind the station buildings in the photo, was extended onto the site many years ago. Koters, a company that made wax bread wrappers, has long gone itself with the factory serving other purposes these days.

North of the old bridge the track bed is intact and is the Cheshire Lines Path, part of the Trans Pennine Trail. My old mate former Maghull councillor Roy Connell often cycles it from his new home in Ainsdale back to Maghull where he used to live.

Southport and Chesire Lines Extension Railway

This fascinating railway which succumbed to closure well before the infamous Mr Beeching decimated our railway network was probably one that should never have been built.

Between Aintree Central and Southport it only served isolated rural communities and the reality is that it never reached anywhere near the business targets the promoters had hoped for.

Much of the track is now part of the Trans Pennine Trail long distance footpath with the part through the sand dunes in Ainsdale and Southport being a coastal road carrying hundreds of vehicles every day.

I shall probably return to this unique joint railway in the future but for now here is shot of a ticket from Aintree Central to Ainsdale.

rsz_aintree_to_ainsdale_ticket