Cheshire Lines at the Old Roan

I’ve been lucky to come across the two photos* below of the Southport and Cheshire Lines Extension Railway at the Old Roan via a couple of fellow local railway enthusiasts.

Old Roan 49434 With The Returning SLS** Special 6th June 1959

Old Roan S&CLER A59 Bridge Demolition c1966

The S&CLER stations had closed to passenger trains back in January 1952 but rail access from the Liverpool end was retained until 1960 to serve private sidings on the site of Altcar & Hillhouse Station. Part of the curved embankment that the train in the first photo is travelling over is still in place behind the modern day ASDA Store and across the M57 Motorway. In the second photo sections of the rail bridge carrying the Liverppol – Ormskirk line over the A59 can be seen in the background.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

* I’m not able to credit the photographer/s as I’ve been unable so far to identify them. If anyone can assist I would appreciate it.

** Stephenson Locomotive Society

Shirdley Hill Station

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:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/05/31/haskayne-the-views-from-old-lane-old-moss-lane-railway-bridge/

Altcar & Hillhouse Station – 1964

This posting is about Altcar and Hillhouse Station on the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway some 12 years after the line closed. The photo is from a collection held by former BR employee Neil Reston which has recently been passed on to me by his family.

The scene of ‘dereliction’ (the word used by Neil to describe it in his album) looks south towards the next station on the line (Lydiate) from the vantage point of the road over-bridge which still exists.

And a bit of background – The line and this station opened on 1st September 1884, the station closed for just over 2 years during the 1st World War and it closed for good on 7th January 1952. The line north of Altcar & Hillhouse (towards Southport) was lifted shortly after the line closed in July 1952, however there was rail access from the south to serve private sidings until 1960.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Maghull – An insight into its long closed Cheshire Lines railway & station

Maghull presently has two railway stations both on the Merseyrail Northern Line to Ormskirk but it once had what was then the town’s second station on the former Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway which ran from Aintree Central Station to Southport Lord Street Station. The station closed on 7th January 1952.

I’ve blogged about this long lost station, which was actually called ‘Sefton & Maghull’, previously and here’s the most relevant link back to one of my postings:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/11/22/sefton-maghull-station-cheshire-lines-southport-extension-railway/

I return to the subject of this station now because of some historic photographs from the 1960’s which have been passed onto me by the family of former British Rail employee Neil Reston. Here they are:-

This shot is noted as being taken on 28th February 1960. It looks southwards in the direction of Aintree. It will have been taken from the road over- bridge.

This shot of roughly the same area was taken in 2017

This shot also looks south and it’s noted as being taken in March 1960. It looks to have been taken from Cabin Lane which is between Lydiate and Sefton & Maghull Stations so the shot looks towards Sefton & Maghull. The occupation bridge in the shot, which still stands, as a continuation of Bells Lane where it turns sharply right to become Altcar Lane. My thanks to Alan Bolton for correctly identifying the location. This posting has been updated to take this into account.

Here’s a shot looking south from Cabin Lane as it looks now:-

This shot is taken from the bridge parapet which carried Sefton Lane over the railway. It’s looking north in the direction of the next station on the line Lydiate. It’s dated 28th February 1960.

This final shot is also looking north and the track has been removed. It’s dated March 1960.

The present view of the former trackbed looking north, replicating the final photo, is this:-

The telegraph poles are all that remain.

My posting about Lydiate Station using photos from the same collection and taken at the same times is available via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/12/14/lydiate-remembering-its-long-lost-railway-station/

Altcar – Light & shade on the S&CLER

Great Altcar Civil Parish in West Lancashire remains a predominately rural community to this day. It lost its very rural passenger service along the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway in 1952, well before Beeching came along.

The trackbed is now a part of the National Cycle Network, the Trans Pennine Trail and is known as the Cheshire Line Path.

The two light and shade shots in this posting were taken just to the north of the site of the former Altcar & Hillhouse Station. Both are looking south and from the same location – the next bridge north of the B5195 Wood Lane.

If you click on the photos to enlarge them you will see more detail. The first one shows the next bridge south (Wood Lane) and the former station would have been just the other side of it where a sewerage works now stands at the side of the Cheshire Lines path.

I love the stone and brickwork in these shots, built to last you might say. The line opened in September 1884, so these bridges are over 130 years old and still looking pretty much as good as the day they were erected.

The first shot is also amongst my Flickr photos at – www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Haskayne – The views from Old Lane/Old Moss Lane railway Bridge

On Downholland Moss there’s a lonely former railway bridge, just to the west of Haskayne Village, which still carries Old Lane/Old Moss Lane over the trackbed of the now long gone Liverpool, Southport & Preston Junction Railway and subsequently Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway branch. It left/joined the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway just north of Altcar & Hillhouse Station, at Hillhouse Junction, and headed off via Barton, Halsall, Shirdley Hill, Meols Cop etc. to swing around Southport.

Here are today’s views both west and east:-

Looking west and the curve of the line south can be seen by following the hedge line. The former junction just north of Altcar & Hillhouse Station being just a short distance away.

The eastern view, with the bridge parapet visible along the bottom of the photo, shows the line all but obliterated looking towards Barton.

And to help us orientate with the landscape here’s a scan of an old Ordnance Survey map dated 1992:-

Old Lane railway bridge is right in the middle of the map extract.

I took the photos whilst out on one of my solo fitness cycle rides recently.

Click on the photos and map to enlarge them