Notes: Ford station was located on the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway’s (LYR) North Mersey Branch which ran from Fazakerley Junction, on the Liverpool Exchange to Wigan Line, to Gladstone Dock. The line was opened in 27 August 1866 as an important goods line linking the north Liverpool docks with the LYR route to the east. Connections from the North Mersey Branch to the LYR Liverpool to Ormskirk line where provided at Sefton Junction (Aintree) going from west to north and to the LYR Liverpool and Southport line at North Mersey Branch Junction (Litherland) going from East to South.
In 1906 the LYR electrified the North Mersey Branch from North Mersey Branch Junction to Aintree Sefton Arms and they opened two stations at Linacre Road and Ford.
At the time of opening Ford station was served by an electric commuter service that ran between Aintree Sefton Arms and Liverpool Exchange calling at all stations along route. On 7 September 1914 the LYR extended the electrification from North Mersey Branch Junction to Gladstone Dock where they opened a new station. From this date Ford station was also served by trains running between Aintree Sefton Arms and Gladstone Dock.
Ford station opened 1 June 1906. It was located on the east side of what became Netherton Way which passed over the line on a bridge. The main line was double track but there were also numerous sidings at Ford which formed part of the huge Aintree Sorting Sidings complex. The station was provided with two platforms which were constructed from timber. The eastbound platform had a simple timber waiting shelter. A footbridge provided a link to the westbound platform which was sandwiched between the main line and the area of sidings. There was also a simple wooden waiting shelter on the westbound platform.
At the west end of the North Mersey Branch a connection had been made with the Liverpool Overhead Railway (LOR) in May 1905. The LOR started to operate a service to Aintree Sefton Arms in 1906 which called at Ford. This provided passengers with a route that served all of the Liverpool Docks and through to Dingle in the south of the city. The service was short lived ending in September 1908. However on Grand National Day every year LOR trains once again ran through Ford Station as a special service was operated for race goers.
On the 1 January 1922 the LYR merged with the London & North Western Railway (LNWR). In July 1922 the LNWR were running weekday trains from Ford to Aintree Sefton Arms at 6.19am, 7.59am, 9.37am, 10.39am, 11.37am, 12.37pm, 1.37pm, 2.37pm, 3.37pm, 4.37pm, 5.39pm, 6.37pm, 7.37pm, 8.37pm and 9.37pm. To Liverpool Exchange there were weekday trains at 7.10am, 7.42am, 8.47am, 10.18am, 11.02am, 12.02pm, 1.02pm, 2.02pm, 3.02pm, 4.02pm, 5.02pm, 6.02pm, 7.02pm, 8.02pm, 9.02pm and 10.02pm. There was one less train in each direction on Saturdays and on Sundays there were nine in each direction.
On 1 January 1923 that LNWR was in turn merged into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS). The LMS withdrew the Gladstone Dock service on the 7th of July 1924 leaving Ford with only the services to Liverpool Exchange and to Aintree Sefton Arms. In the summer of 1932 the LMS provided Ford with twenty two trains to Liverpool Exchange and twenty trains to Aintree Sefton Arms. The first train was for Liverpool Exchange and departed from Ford at 6.17 am. The last was also for Liverpool Exchange and departed at 10.21pm.
By the summer of 1947 there were only five trains in each direction Monday-to-Saturday as shown in the LMS timetable below. There were no Sunday trains.
On 1 January 1948 Ford Station became part of the nationalised British Railways (London Midland Region). The May to September timetable for 1949 showed Ford as having only five weekday services to Aintree Sefton Arms and five services to Liverpool Exchange. Trains departed from Ford for Aintree at 7.09am, 7.26am, 8.50am, 4.37pm and at 5.37pm. ToLiverpool Exchange there were departures at 6.51am, 7.36am, 8.31am, 5.17pm and 5.54pm. On Saturdays there were only four trains in each direction, to Liverpool at 6.51am, 7.36am, 8.31am and at 12.25pm and to Aintree at 7.09am, 7.26am, 8.50am and at 12.37pm. The weekday departure from Ford at 8.31am ran only as far as Bank Hall and the Saturday service at 12.24pm ran only as far as Bootle Oriel Road where passengers had to change for an onward journey to Liverpool Exchange. British Railways discontinued the electric service through Ford on the 2nd of April 1951 and the station closed completely. The line remained electrified for the movement of rolling stock and to allow the LOR Grand National services to run once per year.They ceased in 1956 when the LOR was closed in its entirety. After 1956 passenger services did continue to pass through Ford station on Grand National day but they came from beyond the Liverpool area.
The demolition of Ford Station was completed on 1 May 1959 leaving no trace of it. The North Mersey Branch had been built with the primary purpose of moving goods and it remained an important freight artery to and from the Liverpool Docks until the mid 1960s when the decline began. On 2 February 1971 the route of the line from North Mersey Branch Junction to the docks closed. On 1 May 1977 the link with the Wigan line at Fazakerley Junction was also taken out. Only the section from North Mersey Branch Junction to Sefton Junction and to Fazakerley sidings which was by then an engineers depot survived.
In the late 1960s a Freightliner Depot known as the Aintree Container Base was built the rail entrance to which was on the site of Ford Station’s westbound platform. Since the 1960s the transport authorities in Merseyside had been developing plans to re-open the North Mersey Branch, including Ford Station which was to be renamed as Giro, to passenger services. When the connection was laid into the depot space was left so that a station could be constructed. The connection to the depot opened on 13 July 1969 but it is believed that trains did not start running straight away. Goods trains serving the Metal Box Factory at Aintree and engineers trains to Fazakerley sidings also passed through the site of Ford Station.
Grand National specials also continued to pass through Ford until 1986.
On 19 February 1986 the Freightliner Depot closed and on the 28th of that month the connection into the Freightliner depot was taken out of use. With effect from 13 April 1986 the line through Ford station was singled. In 1987 the short spur to Fazakerley sidings was closed and the Metal Box service had finished by 1991 leaving no regular goods services on the North Mersey Branch.
The line through Ford still survived in 2014 but in very poor condition.
Since the 1970s there have been plans to re-open the line to passenger services and the plan was still an aspiration of Merseytravel in 2014.
Tickets by Michael Stewart.
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stations on the North Mersey Branch click on the station name:
Linacre Road &