Station Name: CHILDWALL

[Source: Paul Wright]


Date opened: 1.12.1879
Location: North side of Well Lane
Company on opening: Cheshire Lines Committee
Date closed to passengers: 1.1.1931
Date closed completely: 6.8.1943
Company on closing: Cheshire Lines Committee
Present state: Demolished
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SJ418893
Date of visit: 21.7.2005 & 13.1.2013

Notes: Childwall station was situated on the Cheshire Lines Railway (CLC) North Liverpool Extension Line that connected the CLC Liverpool and Manchester line at Halewood to Aintree and, via a branch, to the north Liverpool docks at Huskisson Dock. The CLC was a joint railway with three partners: the Great Northern Railway (GNR), the Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR) and the Midland Railway (MR). All had wanted access to Liverpool which, by the mid nineteenth century, had become a major seaport. The CLC Liverpool and Manchester line, which opened on 2 September 1873, had given the three companies access to Liverpool, but only to the south docks. To north of the city new docks had been built to accommodate much larger vessels. The London & North Western Railway (LNWR) and the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (LYR) had access to the north docks and the CLC partners wanted the same. The most logical way for the CLC to gain such access would have been for them to extend their Liverpool and Manchester line by three miles from its Liverpool terminus. However this would have involved tunnelling under the city centre which would have been prohibitively expensive. The alternative solution was to build a line around the eastern edge of the city using agricultural land that was, by the 1870s, very cheap. The only significant engineering required was at Walton, north of Liverpool. The North Liverpool Extension Line and its branch to Huskisson were authorised on 30 July 1874 and opened from Halewood to Walton-on-the-Hill on 1 December 1879.

Childwall station opened with the line on 1 December 1879 and was half-a-mile east of the village from which it took its name. The station was on an embankment on the north side of Well Lane. The station building was on the west side of the line and was linked to Well Lane by a short driveway. It had a two-storey house, flanked to the north by a single-storey range which contained the booking hall and waiting rooms. The structure was of brick with sandstone dressings. The building was set back from the line space having been left for an additional two tracks should they be required. This was forward thinking by the CLC, but the line never was quadrupled.

From the building a pathway connected to the down platform (Aintree direction). The up platform had a timber waiting shelter.

Childwall had a goods yard with one siding, north of the station building and west of the line. There was a signal box north of the down platform between the up line and the goods siding. The area around the station was rural in nature and quite isolated. The CLC built a row of cottages for its employees on the south side of Well Lane.

At its opening Childwall was served by trains between Liverpool Central and Walton-on-the-Hill, a temporary terminus on the Huskisson branch as tunnels leading down to the docks had not been completed. They were ready by 1 July 1880, and from 1 August 1880 passenger services were extended to a new terminus at Huskisson. The CLC owned its rolling
stock but possessed no locomotives: all local CLC services were hauled by MS&LR locomotives.

On 11 August 1881 the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway (SCLER) was approved. The CLC backed the scheme which created a line from Aintree to the seaside resort of Southport and made an end-on connection at Aintree to the North Liverpool Extension line. A route to the seaside town with its promise of lucrative traffic would be created that the CLC had agreed to operate (although the SCLER would be a separate company). The SCLER line opened on 1 September 1884. The racecourse station at Aintree opened for public services at the same time. Childwall gained services that ran between Southport and Manchester, Liverpool and Stockport. The station at Huskisson proved unremunerative and closed on 13 July 1885; thereafter Walton-on-the-Hill became the terminus for local services.

The December 1895 timetable showed Childwall as having ten up and eight down trains Monday-to-Saturday as shown by the table below. On Sundays there were four trains in each direction.

Up Trains December 1895

Destination

Down Trains December 1895

Destination

6.14am 

Liverpool Central

10.39am

Southport Lord Street

8.53am

Liverpool Central

2.10pm

Southport Lord Street

11.19am

Liverpool Central

3.43pm

Walton-on-the-Hill

1.13pm

Liverpool Central

5.41pm (Saturdays Only)

Southport Lord Street

3.12pm

Liverpool Central

5.58pm (Saturdays Excepted)

Southport Lord Street

5.01pm (Saturdays Excepted)

Liverpool Central

6.38pm (Saturdays Only)

Aintree

6.17pm

Liverpool Central

6.43pm (Saturdays Excepted)

Aintree

6.28pm (Saturdays Only)

Liverpool Central

8.17pm

Walton-on-the-Hill

6.54pm

Liverpool Central

10.49pm

Walton-on-the-Hill (onwards to Southport on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday)

8.04pm

Liverpool Central

11.17pm

Walton-on-the-Hill (onwards to Southport on Monday, Tuesaday and Saturday)

10.24pm

Liverpool Central

 

 

On 1 August 1897 the MS&LR changed its name to the Great Central Railway (GCR).

On 1 January 1918 the service between Liverpool Central and Walton-on-the-Hill was withdrawn. Despite the loss of this service the July 1922 timetable showed five up and five down trains calling at Childwall on Monday-to-Saturday as seen in the table below. There were no Sunday trains.

Up Trains July 1922

Destination

Down Trains July 1922

Destination

8.34am

Liverpool Central

10.50am

Southport Lord Street

1.05pm

Manchester Central

1.59pm

Southport Lord Street

3.59pm

Liverpool Central

5.49pm

Southport Lord Street

6.15pm

Liverpool Central

6.43pm

Aintree

7.53pm

Liverpool Central

7.55pm

Southport Lord Street

At the grouping of 1923 the CLC remained independent but its parent companies changed. The GCR and the GNR became constituents of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) whilst the MR became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). The LNER was given two-thirds of the CLC shares and the LMS one-third. Motive power for CLC services was provided by the LNER.

By the late 1920s the Liverpool Corporation tramways had reached Childwall offering a fast and frequent service to Liverpool. Buses also operated through Childwall serving destinations towards the east. Being in an isolated position Childwall station could not compete with the trams and buses, and the CLC closed it to passenger services on 1 January 1931. It remained open for goods until 6 August 1943. By that time the platforms had been partly demolished although the timber shelter on the up side was still standing. The signal box went out of use some time after 1944 and before 1948.

After full closure the station house was demolished. On 1 January 1948 the CLC became part of British Railways London Midland Region. Scheduled passenger services continued to pass through the site of Childwall station until 5 November 1960. After that date specials ran for the Grand National at Aintree until the mid 1960s. Excursion trains also ran to and from Southport Chapel Street.

The North Liverpool Extension Line had always been a busy freight route and it remained so into the second half of the 1960s.

On 22 September 1968 the line between Fazakerley South Junction and Aintree Central was taken out of use leaving only the goods services to and from Huskisson. On 30 November 1969 the line between Walton-on-the-Hill and Knotty Ash was singled. On 21 October 1972 the line through Childwall between Knotty Ash and Gateacre was also singled. By 1973 there was only one daily freight working from Edge Hill to Huskisson and return. It stopped running regularly in May 1975 and completely by August 1975.

By this time the Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority had come into being. Based on plans drawn up by the local authorities in the 1960s the line through Childwall took on a new significance. It was proposed that an outer belt line be created along the former CLC North Liverpool Line, and it was actually authorised by an Act of 1971. Housing estates had been built on both sides of the line near Childwall station during the 1950s and 1960s, and a new station to serve them was proposed. It was to be located slightly north of the original, near Childwall Valley Road. Although many of the lines proposed in the 1971 Act were created, the economic downturn of the late 1970s and early 1980s ended hopes for the belt line scheme. British Rail lifted the line through Childwall in the early months of 1979.

In the late 1980s a footpath and cycleway called the ‘Liverpool Loopline Path’, part of the Trans-Pennine Trail, was created through the site of Childwall station.

Ticket from Michael Stewart, Bradshaw from Chris Hind and route map by Alan Young.

Sources:

  • The Cheshire Lines Committee, by P Bolger, Heyday Publishing Company 1984.
  • Bradshaw Timetable December 1895.
  • Bradshaw Timetable July 1922.
  • Cheshire Lines Committee Signal Box Register, M J Addison & J D Dixon 1996.
  • Merseyrail Electrics the Inside Story, T B Maud, NBC Books 2001.
  • Roads, Rails & Ferries of Liverpool, J Joyce, Ian Allan 1983.

To see the other stations on the CLC North Liverpool Extension Line click on the station name: Aintree Central, Warbreck, Clubmoor, West Derby, Knotty Ash & Gateacre

See also Huskisson branch stations

Walton on the Hill & Huskisson

For stations on Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway click on the station name: Southport Lord Street, Birkdale Palace, Ainsdale Beach, Woodvale, Mossbridge, Altcar & HillhouseLydiate & Sefton and Maghull


Childwall station looking south in the mid 1930s. The station building is to the right, set back from the line. The degraded remains of the down platform can be seen between the station building and the line. To the left, just in view, is the timber waiting shelter on the up platform.
P
hoto by D Thompson from Stations UK


Childwall station shown on a 1908 map.

A public footpath sign at the north end of Well Lane on 28 August 1959. It still pointed to Childwall station despite the fact that it had closed 28 years previously.
Photo by Jim Peden

Looking south towards the site of Childwall station in early 1979.
P
hoto by John F Ward

A track-lifting train at Childwall in the early part of 1979.
P
hoto by John F Ward


Looking south on 13 January 2013 at the site of Childwall station from a similar viewpoint to the mid 1930s view, above.
Photo by Paul Wright


Childwall station site looking north on 13 January 2013.
Photo by Paul Wright


Looking east along Well Lane on 13 January 2013 towards the 'CLC North Liverpool Extension Line'. Childwall station was to the left of the bridge. The access road was at the point where the gate can be seen to the left.
Photo by Paul Wright

2005

2005

2013

2013

 

2013

2013

 

 

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

 

 

 

[Source: Paul Wright]




Last updated: Sunday, 13-Jan-2013 22:21:37 GMT
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