RAILDATE 2024.01.12

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The Weekly Poser: Where is this?

An aerial view of rail links to two groups of tank farms, with a passenger service to the housing area in between. Where is it?

Last week's Where is this?

From the BR Blue era, two trains meet on the same platform, but there are bufferstops in between. Where is it?

Answer: Ormskirk. Congratulations are due to the following for their correct answers: Dave Goodyear, Ian Lowe, Colin Penfold, Richard Maund, Bryn Pitcher, Simon Wass, Jeremy Harrison, Paul Hopper, David Winter.

Photo by Keith Landon c. 1973 [RCTS Collection].

We did have a few wrong answers this week, including Kirby, West Kirby (Wirral), Hooton, and Rock Ferry - all places where Merseyside electrics handed off to diesel or steam connections at various times.

Once a mainline from Liverpool Exchange to Preston, the line was partitioned at Ormskirk in 1970 and the former bay platform for terminating EMUs lifted. The southern part - electrified by the L&Y as early as 1913 - offers a half-hourly service or better. The northern section is diesel, and much withered. At the time of the photo, electric services still terminated at Liverpool Exchange, with the new underground loop opening in 1977.

The distant train is a Class 502 EMU, built by the LMS at Derby around 1940 to replace the L&Y units. Air-operated doors in 1940 was quite a thing, but these units didn't last long after 1977, being unsuited to the gradients in the new tunnels. One of them has survived, and is undergoing restoration at nearby Burscough. Class 502 Preservation Trust

Ormskirk was formerly a junction, but the line to Skelmersdale closed in 1956. The closure was spectacularly bad timing because Skelmersdale New Town was designated just five years later. Skem (pop. 35,000) remains unserved by rail, one of the largest examples in the UK.


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©  Matthew Shaw 2024