The 8D Association

A look back at the walks and visits from 2014.

Allerton Depot 12th January 2014.

Early on 12th January several members of the society visited Allerton depot. Having been invited back to view the busy Sunday morning scene with units awaiting maintenance, under maintenance and being despatched for their days work. We were again made very welcome by the team and wish to extend our thanks to them for making the visit both enjoyable and interesting. Joining us this time was 8D member Rod Dixon who worked from the depot during the B.R. era. He was impressed with the changes that had been made and with the general presentation of the depot.

The group shot outside the doors at the west end of the depot.
12th January 2014.
Photo by Helen Callaghan.

156429 inside the under chassis wash.
12th January 2014.
Photo by Robert Callaghan.

With the sun coming up 156491 stands at the east end of the depot awaiting movement inside.
12th January 2014.
Photo by Jamie Callaghan.

Hutchinson Street yard and Docks 12th April 2014.

Les Fifoot took charge for this lengthy walk around the site of Widnes Central station, Hutchinson Street yard and the Hutchinson Dock Estate. The area is due to see some massive changes with the construction of the new Mersey crossing approach roads. Several buildings will be demolished and the former yard at Hutchinson Street will be obliterated. An enjoyable and well attended walk saw us take in the site of the dock engine shed and the site of the former dock estate all the way down to the dock gates, which are the only surviving feature. 

The group making their way along Waterloo Road with Joe seemingly wanting to ask a question.

The site of the former engine shed of the dock estate.

Dock Estate shunter Lucy at rest in the shed.
Photo by Les Fifoot.

The group standing at the site of Hutchinson Street yard with the rear wall of the shunters cabin in the background.

The only skew arch built into the Ethelfleda bridge initially constructed for an extension of the St Helens canal but actually used to carry the railway into the estate.

At The Mersey with the two crossings visible.

The dock gates are the only surviving feature of the dock estate and are in remarkably good condition.

The original stations of St Helens 3rd May 2014.

A well attended walk around the former station sites of the St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway and its successors. Starting with the first station site close to the new Tesco supermarket we made our way to view the crossing point of the single line bridge over the Sankey Canal and then it was a short walk along the mothballed St Helens to Sutton Oak line to view the third station. An impromptu walk then took place along the trackbed of the afore mentioned line through to Ravenhead junction and then a short walk along the original trackbed. It has been mooted that if the Parkside freight terminal is to reopen then the line from St Helens Central to St Helens junction will be reopened and wired to allow freight trains from the north direct access to the terminal. Here's hoping!

At the site of the first canal bridge crossing which carried the line to a point near the Raven Arms hotel.
Photo by Tony Foster.

The location of the swing bridge can clearly be seen where the canal narrows slightly.
Photo by Terry Callaghan.

Making our way from the third station site along the heavily overgrown trackbed.
Photo by Terry Callaghan.

The group seen here on the double track bridge which gave access to the third station. Originally a swing bridge it was replaced by a fixed bridge in the 1960's.
Photo by Terry Callaghan.

Rob and Peter up the signal post of the final working signal on the former SH&RGR branch.
Photo by Terry Callaghan.

Crossing the Linkway bridge which was only constructed in the early 1990's.
Photo by Tony Foster.

The group at Ravenhead junction with the new Saints stadium occupying the site of the former United Glass Bottles site.
Photo by Terry Callaghan.

Tanhouse Lane Yard 5th June 2014.

A total of 25 members enjoyed a walk around Tanhouse Lane yard on a sunny Thursday evening. Led by Paul Wright the development, changes, decline and closure of the site were discussed. The whole site was covered including the former engine shed, which became a sub-shed of 8D. The area now is part of a linear park with the surrounding area due to be changed beyond recognition in the coming years.

The last section of track in the yard was incorporated into the walkway and grassed area and is just visible with Paul explaining the layout of the yard.

The group seen walking through the original yard site which has been landscaped into a pleasant open space.
Both pictures by John Wilson.

Rail Ale 2014 Birkenhead and Liverpool 21st June.

After meeting up beneath the famous clock at Lime Street we travelled to Hamilton Square station to view the site of Birkenhead Woodside station and what remains of it. Following this we retired to Gallaghers Pub and Barbers for a couple of excellent pints and a sandwich, you really can get your hair cut whilst enjoying a pint here. We then made our way back to Liverpool and Moorfields station to view the magnificent Exchange station with a swift pint in The Lion and The Railway pubs we moved to the other side of the city and visited The Swan, Ye Cracke and finally the exquisite Philharmonic Dining Rooms. All in all a very enjoyable day out was had by all and I made my train home this year!

The site of the platform ends of Birkenhead Woodside and the bricked up tunnel mouth.

View cross the Mersey from the front door of Gallaghers very pleasing to see a tram from the Birkenhead Tramway making its way to the museum.

Quick group shot outside Exchange Station.

  Inside The Lion pub with a fitting print on the wall.
All photo's Terry Callaghan.

8D Shed site visit 10th July 2014.

Since closure the shed site has been used by a scrap metal merchant and the land has recently been acquired by Halton MBC. The group made a visit to see what remained on a glorious July evening. A section of the former shed wall is still very much extant and the outer stones of the turntable pit are also easily viewed. For some of the group it was a return to their former place of work with many stories and anecdotes shared with the rest of the group. It will be interesting to see if Halton MBC can redevelop the site and make good use of it as a public open space. 

A great turnout for a Thursday evening walk with the group standing in front of the surviving section of the shed wall.

The entrance to the shed was from Croft Street and with the construction of the deviation line in 1869 the shed found itself bordered on either side by railways. Workers had to pass through this arch which carries the deviation line still today to get to work.

The group making their way back from the west end of the shed.

The surviving section of the southern wall of the shed.
All photographs by Paul Wright.

St Helens and Runcorn Gap walk 16th August 2014.

A well attended walk along the newly created foot/cycle path from a point close to the site of Farnworth and Bold station to the M62 overbridge close to the site of Sutton Manor colliery. One of the most interesting points of the walk was the discovery of the actual site of Union Bank Farm Halt which has been buried under vegetation for many years. The site was marked with waste product from the glass production process, thought to be a cheap source of hardcore for the railway as it was probably free! At the site of the five arches bridge a drain marker was found which has since been liberated and is now happily living in my back garden. The association have supplied several images to the Sutton Greenway project, who helped with the construction of the pathway and these are to be displayed on information boards along the route.

Standing on the Widnes side of the five arches bridge.

A relic from the days of the railway I remember reading this notice when walking the line when it was operational.

Waste from the glass making process used as hardcore for the site of Union Bank station.

Paul Wright with the drain marker.
All photos by Tony Foster.

Fiddlers Ferry Power Station 20th September 2014.

The visit to the power station this year gave us the opportunity to visit the coal discharge facility and to observe the unloading of a train. The 06.16 Liverpool Bulk Terminal to Fiddlers Ferry working was thankfully running late and this gave us the opportunity to watch the whole process from arrival to departure. Upon arrival the driver is handed a radio so contact with the power station staff is maintained during the unloading process. The loco and its train then passes through the discharge facility at a steady ½ mph using the Slow Speed Control with an operative inside the facility inserting a key into each hopper wagon and then, using the controls, opening the hopper doors at the appropriate moment. The coal, in this case Columbian, then drops into the large hopper beneath the track and is carried away, by conveyor, to the external coal store. A very interesting and slick process with the hopper doors now opened and closed via compressed air supplied by the train locomotive. We then travelled to the fly ash rail loading point to observe the empty train departing from the site. The association wishes to thank Merrill, Paul and SSE for their time and allowing us to watch an operation which usually goes unseen.

The obligatory group shot at the power station entrance.
Photo by Paul Cockcroft.

Lee Woods gets a picture of 60065 Spirit of Jaguar arriving from Liverpool Bulk Terminal.

The driver is handed his radio by a member of the power station staff.

The interior of the discharge facility. There are two lines through but only one train can be unloaded at a time.

Les waits for the hopper doors to open. The piping along the side of the hopper supplies the compressed air to operate the doors, supplied by the train locomotive.

60065 slowly emerges from the discharge facility.

Once the process is over the DB driver checks the train and if all is well can depart back onto the low level line towards Warrington. The rails in the foreground are the entrance to the rail fly ash loading point, now sadly unused.
Photos by Terry Callaghan.

Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th September 2014.

The 8D photograph display continued its tour of various locations with an appearance at the Vintage Steam Rally held at Victoria Park. Many people took an interest in the display showing pictures of the 8D shed to commemorate 50 years since its closure.

5 of the 8D members manning the display on the Saturday.

Brunswick 18th October 2014.

Our final outdoor walk of the year was the area around Brunswick to see what was left of the rich history of railway lines in the vicinity. Making our way from the new Brunswick station we first visited the site of the CLC's original terminus which is now a car dealership. There is one remaining piece of the terminus building in the form of one of the gate posts on the corner of Sefton Street and Northumberland Avenue. Following this we walked to the refurbished walkway built by the Liverpool Health Committee in 1866 to provide access to the docks from Horsfall Street. A quick look at the surviving rals from the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company lines which were situated beneath the Liverpool Overhead Railway Company's Brunswick Station. A short walk from here reveals some sections of the cast iron supports for the overhead system and the portal of the Dingle tunnel. There are many storage lock ups located beneath the tunnel and as one was open and empty we took a look inside. Hewn out of the sandstone which surrounds the city it was very impressive. Following a walk along Grafton Street to admire the panoramic view across the Mersey we ended our walk back at Brunswick station. A good turn out of 15 members and the excellent weather made for a pleasant morning.

The group at the Liverpool Overhead Railway Dingle tunnel portal.

The only surviving piece of the CLC's Brunswick terminal is this anonymous looking gate post.

A plaque giving details of the building and refurbishment of the walkway from Horsfall Street to the Docks.

Mersey Docks and Harbour Company lines in situ at the site of the Overheads Brunswick station.

Close up of the Dingle tunnel portal.

The interior of one of the lock ups beneath the tunnel.

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