Merseyrail’s Northern Lines – Posting 2 – The Southport Line

A random selection of photos taken along the Liverpool – Southport Line:-

Please click on the photos to enlarge them

Looking towards Bank Hall Station which is just beyond the road over-bridge.

Looking towards Bank Hall Station which is just beyond the road over-bridge.

This former railway tunnel once took a railway line under the Liverpool - Southport line at Bootle Strand Station. It is now a pedestrian walkway with the Strand Shopping Centre car park visible through it.

This former railway tunnel once took a railway line under the Liverpool – Southport line at Bootle Strand Station. It is now a pedestrian walkway with the Strand Shopping Centre car park visible through it.

A Class 507 EMU arriving at Formby Station from Liverpool.

A Class 507 EMU arriving at Formby Station from Liverpool.

Steps down to the platforms at Formby Station.

Steps down to the platforms at Formby Station.

Hillside Station clearly showing its LMS history.

Hillside Station clearly showing its LMS history.

A Liverpool bound 507 EMU approaching the Crescent Road level crossing in Birkdale, Southport.

A Liverpool bound 507 EMU approaching the Crescent Road level crossing in Birkdale, Southport.

Southport Station at night with a 507/508 EMU awaiting to depart for Liverpool.

Southport Station at night with a 507/508 EMU awaiting to depart for Liverpool.

Photos 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7 are also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

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

My 1st posting on the Liverpool – Ormskirk Northern Line is available via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/02/07/merseyrails-northern-lines-posting-1-the-ormskirk-line/

Southport – The changes at the stabling sidings

You don’t see many carriages being stored at Southport these days and certainly no wagons but it is not that long ago that the scene looked quite different . A glance back to the 1970’s and this is what you saw back then:-

Southport stabling sidings

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Quite a number of the old Merseyrail 502 units in the stabling sidings and beyond them many coal wagons. Only just visible is a sign in the background for the former Steamport Museum. An MK1 Ford Transit van gives away the time period too!

I purchased this print recently from the Friend’s of the 502 Group.

The photo is amongst the shots on my Flickr site at:-

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

Southport Chapel Street Station in old photos

I picked up some old photos of Southport Station not so long ago from the collection of the National Railway Museum and a visit to the excellent Atkinson on Southport’s Lord Street also brought me face to face with another old photo of the Station. Here they all are, reminding us all of how important the Station has been to the Southport community over the years:-

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

From a display in The Atkinson - Lord St. Southport

From a display in The Atkinson – Lord St. Southport

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The last 3 photos were taken in May 1919. The others are of unknown date.

The photos are amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Southport’s almost forgotten railways and a Town forgotten by Sefton Council.

As well as Southport’s excellent rail service to Liverpool and the (let’s be charitable) it’s less than excellent service to Wigan and Manchester, the Town has two other railways that carry the public around.

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The obvious one is the Pier Tram but a lack of ambition and forward planning by Sefton Council, in particular, means that what could be a useful east – west passenger carrying line still simply shuttles up and down the Pier.

End of the line or the end of Sefton Council's ambition?

End of the line or the end of Sefton Council’s ambition?

The aim of the Town’s Lib Dem councillors is to extend the line to either Southport Railway Station or even to the Central 12 retail park but is anyone in power listening? It seems not as our request for the plan/project to be be included in Sefton’s Local Plan for the Borough has been dismissed. A lack of ambition for the Town can be the only sad conclusion from Bootle based/biased Sefton Council.

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The other line is the Lakeside Railway that has long been a summer-time tourist attraction. Sadly it is looking rather down at heel these days but maybe that is because it is not running past enough places that trippers want to visit? A line around the whole Marine Lake with stations at appropriate places may well be more in keeping with what Southport’s present day tourists require? Just an idea.

What all this tells me is that with Sefton Council now withdrawing behind it’s Bootle barricade Southport is unlikely to prosper if it’s future is left to Bootle Town Hall or even worse Liverpool Town Hall, should a Metro Mayor be imposed on Merseyside.

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England’s Classic seaside resort sadly seems to need to find a way forward despite Sefton Council with its lack of ambition for the Town.

STOP PRESS – Since I penned this posting Sefton Council has also decided to build houses on the Kew Park and Ride car park site instead of looking to the future and using the site for parking cars using a new railway station on the Southport, Wigan, Manchester line. I despair!

The photos above are amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Southport – Trains to Manchester Airport – Under threat?

Southport has long benefited from good rail connections with Manchester but since the Beeching era there has been some significant chipping away at the level/standard of service. Indeed, Southport grew partly because Manchester business people liked to live in the town and commute to Manchester due to its once excellent rail connections.

Often these days Southport – Manchester trains can be overcrowded, slow and made up of the ‘Pacer’ units that people like John Pugh MP have campaigned to have removed from the British railways network. Of course the get rid of the ‘Pacers’ campaign has recently been won as we all know.

But sadly another threat is on the horizon and it could well mean that Southport will lose it connection with Manchester’s Piccadilly Station and Manchester Airport. You see as part of the Northern Hub project which is aimed at getting more trains per hour through congested tracks in Manchester there is talk of Southport’s trains going into Manchester Victoria Station only. Presently some go to Victoria and some to Piccadilly and Manchester Airport.

This is a serious threat that rail campaign groups like OPSTA and John Pugh are trying to fight off but are we close to seeing train departure boards at Southport Station no longer showing trains to Manchester Airport?

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The Southport – Wigan – Manchester line desperately needs greater investment not being downgraded further!

Movember – A train with a ‘tash’ at Southport Station

www.northernrail.org/news/7539

Northern Rail – see link above – joined in the 2014 men’s health campaign and here, snapped at Southport Station, is one of their 150 diesel units with facial hair:-

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In fact it is the very unit that they launched their charity campaign with for November 2014.

The photo above is amongst those on my Flickr site at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/