[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 7.9.1914
Location: West of Rimrose Road (A565) in MDHB Dock Estate
Company on opening: Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway
Date closed to passengers: 7.7.1924
Date closed completely: 7.7.1924
Company on closing: London Midland & Scottish Railway.
Present state: Demolished
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SJ330962
Date of visit: 14.4.2012

Notes: Gladstone Dock station was situated on the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway’s (LYR) North Mersey Branch railway which ran from Fazakerley Junction on their Liverpool and Wigan line to North Mersey Goods station. The line also had connections to the Liverpool and Preston line at Aintree and the Liverpool and Southport line near to Litherland (at North Mersey Branch Junction). The North Mersey Branch had opened for goods only on 27 August 1866 before the Liverpool docks had even reached North Mersey but the LYR had realised that it was only a matter of time before they did and by the end of the 19th century the goods station was one of the busiest in the Liverpool area.

The LYR was one of the pioneers of electrification their Liverpool and Southport line first seeing electric passenger trains on 22 March 1904 using the third rail system. The success of the electrification of that line led to further developments and in 1906 the North Mersey Branch was electrified from North Mersey Branch Junction to Aintree. Electric services between Liverpool Exchange and Aintree LYR began on 1 June 1906 and two additional stations were opened at Linacre Lane and Ford to serve them.

By the second decade of the 20th century the docks had spread northwards and work was underway on the Gladstone Dock complex. Hundreds of workers were employed there and the first section, a graving dock, opened in 1913.

A passenger line, the Liverpool Overhead Railway (LOR) which opened on 6 March 1893 served the area the nearest station being at Seaforth Sands (opened as part of an extension on 30 April 1894). The LOR ran south along the full extent of the dock system passing through the city centre. During the electrification of 1906 live rails had actually extended west along the branch from North Mersey Branch Junction to make a connection with the LOR at Rimrose Road Junction to the east of Seaforth Sands. This had been done to allow through running of services between the two systems (From 2 July 1905 many LOR trains continued to Seaforth & Litherland station where connections with Liverpool and Southport line trains could be made).

Many suburbs had grown up in the Bootle area to the north of the city and the LYR considered that there would be demand for a link to Gladstone Dock. To serve a new station at Gladstone Dock required only a short length of electrification from the junction with the LOR at Seaforth Sands to a point on the branch adjacent to Regent Road and its junction with Shore Street.

Gladstone Dock station opened on 7 September 1914. The station was located on a curving section of a brick arch viaduct on the west side of Regent Road. There was only one platform which was on the west side of the viaduct. It was a timber construction that protruded out from the viaduct supported by trusses. Access was via a set of steps that led up from Shore Street. Facilities were basic there being only a simple timber booking office.

The line through the station was double track but only the up line which served the platform was electrified. To the north of the station a crossover allowed electric trains approaching the station on the down line to access the up line which was bi-directional and thereby reach the station. Goods trains passed through the station on their way into and out of North Mersey Goods via the appropriate line. The line at Gladstone Dock was controlled by North Mersey High Level signal box. It was located on the south side of Shore Road on the west side of the line. The box opened with the station on 7 September 1914 replacing an earlier one dating from 1886. It was a small LYR box with a twelve lever frame.

Gladstone Dock was served by trains that ran to and from Aintree LYR. In 1922 the LYR was merged into the London & North Western Railway (LNWR). In July 1922 there were seven trains in each direction Monday-to-Friday and eight on Saturdays as shown in the table below. The journey to Aintree took only seven minutes. There were no trains on Sundays.

Departures July 1922 To Arrivals July 1922 From
6.45am Aintree 6.42am Aintree
7.10am Aintree 7.07am Aintree
7.39am Aintree 7.37am Aintree
8.15am Aintree 8.12am Aintree
8.45am Aintree 8.42am Aintree
11.45am (Saturdays Only) Aintree 11.42am (Saturdays Only) Aintree
12.20pm (Saturdays Only) Aintree 12.17pm (Saturdays Only) Aintree
12.47pm (Saturdays Only) Aintree 12.44pm (Saturdays Only) Aintree
5.25pm (Saturdays Excepted) Aintree 5.22pm (Saturdays Excepted) Aintree
5.52pm (Saturdays Excepted) Aintree 4.49pm (Saturdays Excepted) Aintree

On 1 January 1923 the LNWR became part of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). Gladstone Dock station had not lived up to the expectations of the LYR and was used by only a fraction of the passengers that used the LOR Seaforth Sands station. For this reason the LMS closed Gladstone Dock on 7 July 1924. The station can clearly be seen on a 1927 1:200 scale map but on subsequent maps it was absent. The station was still in-situ in 1937 but it had been demolished by the following year. The North Mersey High Level signal box closed sometime between March 1937 and 26 September 1938. The line between Gladstone Dock station and Rimrose Road Junction was de-electrified after the passenger service had ended.

Goods services continued to pass through the site of Gladstone Dock station until 2 February 1971 when the line between North Mersey Goods and North Mersey Branch Junction was closed completely (The LOR had already closed on 30 December 1956). North Mersey Goods closed in 1973 trains having to access it from the south by the dock board railway after 2 February 1971.

Since 1973 the area has been substantially altered and in 2013 the site of Gladstone Dock station was inside the Liverpool dock estate. Nothing survived of the station nor the line on which it had stood.

Box diagram from Tony Graham

To see the other stations on the North Mersey Branch click on the station name: Linacre Road, Ford & Aintree Racecourse

Gladstone Dock station looking north-east in September 1914 shortly after the station had opened. A lightweight LYR electric multiple unit is seen departing from the station en route to Aintree Sefton Arms. In the distance the Liverpool Overhead Railway station at Seaforth Sands can be seen.

The North Mersey Branch shown on a Railway Clearing House map from 1915. The darl blue lines were those of the LYR. The map was obviously drawn before Gladstone Dock station had opened as it is not shown. The light blue arrow indicates its location. The map also illustrates how well the north docks were served by railways.

Gladstone Dock station shown on a 1927 map after it had closed. Close observation reveals the steps that led up to the platform from Shore Road (next to the letters F.W). At the top of the steps is a small ticket office and attached to the west side of the viaduct the platform.

Gladstone Dock station shown on a six-inch scale map from 1928.

Gladstone Dock station looking south-west from track level in 1914. The crossover that allowed electric trains travelling towards Gladstone Dock on the down line to cross on to the up is seen to the right of the photographer. Live rails can be seen on the up and the crossover lines but not on the down line to North Mersey Goods station.
Copyright photo from National Railway Museum and SSPL

Looking north from the south end of Gladstone Dock station in September 1914. A train is seen arriving and a group of passengers are waiting to board it.

The Gladstone Dock station entrance looking north-east at the time of opening in 1914. The LYR were obviously very keen to promote their station as evidenced by the large sign above the entrance gateway. The ticket office can be seen at the top of the steps.
Copyright photo from National Railway Museum and SSPL

Gladstone Dock station seen fron the air in 1937. The blue arrow is pointing to the entrance. the ticket office was still in-situ at that time. By 1938 the station had been demolished.
Reproduced with the kind permission of Simmons Aerofilms Ltd

Looking east at the site of Gladstone Dock station on 14 April 2012. The entrance steps to the station would have been to the right of the view behind the fence.
hoto by Paul Wright




[Source: Paul Wright]

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