Friday 27 June 2014

Planning Progress

St Helens Council has granted listed building consent for electrification work on Sankey Viaduct, with some conditions.

One of the conditions is that precise details of the method and materials shall be submitted to the Planning Authority and approved by them before work commences.

Reading between the lines, it looks like the Council are aware of the mess made of the work on the skew bridge at Rainhill, and want to ensure the work is done "properly" first time.

Meanwhile, at Huyton, Modern Railways reports that the acquisition of a small strip of land for track 4 is to proceed unopposed so there will be no need for a public enquiry.  Nonetheless, the postponement until "Winter 2017" is confirmed.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Huyton Countdown - 20 Days

Things are moving fast at Huyton.

The public subway re-opened sometime on Monday, albeit with some work remaining. 

The new stairs at the northern end are missing.  When I visited again on Tuesday they were being worked on.

The new subway roof seems close to being ready for tracks.

Here's the same shot as I took last week, along the edge of the future platform 3, showing a lot less rubble and a lot more platform edge.

P.S. Transport minister Baroness Kramer came to see the works at Huyton and Roby stations last Thursday (19 June 2014).  Unfortunately, I missed the visit.

Thursday 19 June 2014

319 Coming Tomorrow

A schedule appeared in the timetable today for

(K97571) 5X19 02:30 Bedford Carriage Sidings to Allerton Diesel Multiple Unit Depot

to run tomorrow (Friday 20 June).  According to the rumour mill (My thanks go to the stalwarts of North-West-Gen.) this is the delivery of our first 319.

Full details of the schedule can be found at


57306 did indeed haul 319361 to its new home, annoyingly running over 30 early, and I wasn't able to get there in time, so no pictures here, but there are plenty out on the internet, for example at

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Huyton Countdown - 26 Days

Things at Huyton and Roby are moving on nicely in the sunshine.  Thanks to David Hull for providing some of the following pictures.

At Huyton, installation of the lifts is well advanced.  This is the one outside the south side of the station.

The trackbed formerly obstructed by the temporary footpath and the old platform 2 ramp is being dug out, and today they were pouring concrete for the bridge over the extended public subway.

Note just one pillar of old brickwork survives,  isolated in the middle of the chaos.

This shot is from the temporary "bridge" looking east along the line of the future edge of platform 3.
At first glance, this looks like a major problem area, in 26 days trains should be calling at a platform here, but actually I reckon a couple of hours with a digger would clear all the rubble and a week of bricklaying would finish platform 3, so it's nothing to worry about.  All the drains, cable ducts and so on are already in place.
A similar view from the temporary bridge, this time along platform 4's edge.  Platform 4 is pretty much complete, but it'll be a couple of years before it sees any trains.

Huyton station subway looks usable throughout, but the steps at the platform four entrance are missing, so currently only the section between 1 and 2/3 is in use.

Meanwhile, at Roby, the lift shafts are ready for lift installation, and their brick cladding is going up.
Platform 4 lift shaft looks pretty much complete.

Monday 16 June 2014

Huyton Countdown - 28 Days

With 28 days to go until the new layout is operational, things are moving on as scheduled.  Today, the public subway was closed, and it is expected to be closed for a week.  The station subway re-opened, but only between platforms 1 and 2, the original section to platform 4 remains closed at the moment.  (None of the lifts are ready yet.)

There is a new temporary ramp, opened for the first time today, from Blacklow Brow leading to the ticket office and to the re-built stairs down to the subway.

The old ramp leading to platform 2 is closed and can now be demolished, along with the temporary footpath which is currently obstructing the new trackbed and the construction of part of platform 3.

So, a pedestrian wishing to walk from the south side to the north side starts with the new ramp, then down the stairs, through the subway, up to platform 2, along the platform towards Liverpool, across the "bridge" to platform 4, and then back along the full length of platform 4 to the new northern access.  I would advise any locals to go round via Archway Road - As indeed I will be doing this evening on my way to the pub.

Elsewhere in the area, there are plenty of new signals, mostly folded down but with one or two standing up.  Miscellaneous switch and crossing panels are stacked on the third track, near Huyton and at Roby Junction.  Mast bases are getting closer and closer, but so far they are avoiding Huyton Junction and Roby Junction.

Thursday 12 June 2014

Huyton Countdown

We hope that after the nine day blockade at Huyton which starts on the 5th of July we will have three track operation through Roby and Huyton stations.  (See track plans here - I'm not aware of any changes to these plans.)

A lot of work remains to be done at Huyton, and with only three weeks and one day to go before the blockade starts, things are beginning to hot up.  I even saw work under way in the evening, yesterday.

The next stage at Huyton comes next week, when the public subway is to be closed for a week.  This will require the station subway to be brought back into use.  Since the lifts are far from complete, pedestrians who are unable to use the subway steps will be shuttled to the other side of the station in a minibus - This service will be available 24 hours a day.

As you can see, the brick facings on the lift shaft and machine rooms are going up.

This "bridge" appeared last night.  It crosses the new trackbed linking the future platform 4 to the platform 2 and 3 island.  I'm guessing that this will be the northern access to the station next week, and therefore the only route between north and south while the public subway is closed.  You can see that the platform edging on platform 4 (On the right.) is almost complete, whereas there's still a lot of work to do on platform 3.  This did make me wonder if the three track layout is going be temporarily slewed to use platform 4 instead of 3, but the track already laid would seem to indicate otherwise.

This rather confusing shot is looking east from Huyton station along the line of the future track 4 (or Up Chat Moss Slow)  In the foreground is the bridge being constructed over the public subway.

Monday 9 June 2014

More wires

Wiring proceeds apace, with substantial lengths of catenary and contact wire between Carr Mill and Bryn and beyond.  Return wires are also up between Eccleston Park and Prescot.

A length of return wire has been erected between Broad Green and Olive Mount, the first wires on that section.