The 8D Association

CLC North Liverpool Extension

Halewood to Walton on the Hill, Huskisson and Aintree (for Southport).

Passing Gateacre Station is 'Black 5' No 44717 on M602 from Manchester. Given the date of the image, 29th March 1958, heading to Aintree Central for the Grand National perhaps? Photograph the late J.A. Peden.

A Brief History of the Line

The Cheshire Committee Lines North Liverpool Extension was a line that connected with the CLC line at Halewood to Liverpool North Docks at Huskisson. Initially when line was opened to passengers on 1st December 1879, it served five stations at Gateacre, Childwall, Knotty Ash, West Derby and Walton on the Hill. To get beyond Walton on the Hill, three tunnels had to be burrowed in order to reach the North Docks. This was completed by July 1880 and goods trains operated to and from the new constructed Huskisson Goods Depot. 

During 1880 another station opened at Aintree for excursions to serve the race meetings and in September 1884, the line was extended again to Southport which operated under the name of Southport and Cheshire Lines Extension Railway (S&CLER). In 1885, the passenger station at Huskisson was closed. 

On 13 May 1881 , a locomotive depot opened at Walton on the Hill, built next to the station, initially a four road shed until 1885, increased to four, then under British Railways, reverted back to four in 1952. The shed finally closed on 15 December 1963.

A route map of the CLC North Liverpool Extension Line

Other stations opened at Clubmoor in April 1927 and Warbreck in August 1929 but less than two years later the station at Childwall was closed. The original stations had goods yards and line was also busy with goods train operating to and from Huskisson Depot to all over the United Kingdom. 

Another feature of the line was the triangle at Halewood giving access to Liverpool and Manchester, which created large a span of sidings to marshal the numerous goods trains. A triangle was completed at Walton too, allowing Huskission Goods depot to have north and south access to the CLC line at Walton. 

Having just come under Thomas Lane bridge, Broad Green, BR '9f' No 92009 of Rowsley Shed (17C) working long mix goods train. Photograph by J.F.Ward 

The line to Southport from Aintree was closed to passengers in July 1952 but for the remainder of the decade and the early 1960’s, Aintree Central as it was named then, always became a hive of activity during the Grand National event, locomotives on the trains being service by Walton on the Hill Shed.

On 7 November 1960, passenger trains between Aintree Central and Gateacre were withdrawn and those stations closed in consequence. Passenger trains to Gateacre continued to be served from Liverpool Central until 15th April 1972 when the CLC line to Garston was closed.

On the last of service, A BR Class 108 dmu awaiting to depart Gateacre Station for Liverpool Central Station or if the reporting code is correct empty train may be to Allerton Depot?  At this time the station was still complete including the signal box but in a run down state. 15th April 1972. Photograph by G.Sykes.

Goods traffic to and Huskisson continued to operate during the 1960’s although the line between there and Walton on the Hill was singled in June 1966. The line was further singled to Knotty Ash in 1969, with Aintree Central by this time had already closed and singled further to Gateacre in October 1972. Goods trains continue to operate to Huskisson until mid 1975 then line was then closed. The final sections of the CLC were lifted in February 1979. 

Nowadays, most of the former trackbed has now been transformed to form part of the Trans Pennine walk although with the odd exception, eg West Derby Station and numerous bridges, there is no trace of any railway remains. 

A Merseyrail Class 508, No 508108 on a Ormskirk to Liverpool Central train, crosses the remains of CLC line coming from Walton to Aintree Central. Since this image was taken, this has been infilled and no trace remains. 7th March 1996. Copyright: Doug Birmingham

For further information on the line

Disused Stations Website - Click on the links below for further information.

Aintree Central - Warbreck - Huskisson - Walton on the Hill - Clubmoor - West Derby 

- Knotty Ash - Childwall - Gateacre - 

Huskisson Goods Station - Walton on the Hill Engine Shed

Additional information 

See 'On Shed' Journal, Volume 3, No 1 March for article by Paul Wright

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