Notes: The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (LYR) opened their South Docks Goods Station in 1882. As the name suggests the station served the southern docks of the Liverpool waterfront. The station was located on the east side of Sefton Street which ran parallel to the river to the east of the dock estate. The station was located close to Brunswick Dock which had opened in 1832.
The LYR had no main lines in the south part of the city. The company’s nearest main line link was at their North Docks Goods Station, opened in 1848, which was 2¾ miles to the north. Other railway companies including the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) and the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) partners had all established connections to the south docks by 1864 and the LYR wanted to be able to compete for traffic at the southern docks.
The Mersey Dock & Harbour Board had established a dock railway between Harrington Dock and Canada Dock by 1860 and it extended with the docks over the following years. The creation of that line allowed the LYR to establish its South Dock Goods Station as its North Docks station was connected to it.
The goods station offices were at the junction of Sefton Street and Warwick Street. They were located in a narrow-fronted three-storey building. Two lines curved into the station from the dock board line entering through a wide doorway adjacent to the office building (to its south). The lines passed into a large covered shed which extended from Warwick Street to an LNWR goods station. The roof was put up in 1884 and cost £12,888. A wall separated the two goods stations.
The double-track connection from the station to the dock railway faced north (the LYR having no reason to run trains southwards) which allowed wagons to be worked to their main line. At the time of opening all wagons were horse-worked.
On 4 February 1893 the Liverpool Overhead Railway (LOR) was opened and it ran directly opposite the LYR goods station. Brunswick station on the LOR was just north of South Dock Goods. The LOR ran directly above the dock railway.
In 1893 the LNWR opened a new goods station (Brunswick Dock Goods) to the north of the LYR facility. The original LNWR station was closed and became a stock warehouse.
From 13 May 1895 locomotive working throughout the dock railway was finally allowed. The LYR allocated one of its 0-4-0 ‘Pug’ tank engines to work trains to and from South Dock Goods. The engine used was number 1288 and it was converted to burn oil (deemed safer than burning coal in the dock estate, although within a few years coal-fired engines were permitted and became the norm). The first locomotive hauled train to arrive at South Docks Goods consisted of ten wagons. It took 40 minutes to travel from North Docks Goods.
Owing to heavy traffic in 1899 the goods station was enlarged.
The 1904 Handbook of Stations listed South Dock Goods as being able to handle general goods and equipped with a 10-ton lifting crane.
During the Great War (1914 – 18) the dock system at Liverpool was extremely busy and all of the goods stations worked to capacity.
On 1 January 1922 the LYR was taken over by the LNWR and a year later on 1 January 1923 the LNWR was taken over by the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). One company now found itself in the possession of a number of goods stations within the Liverpool dock system. The LMS concentrated specific goods at some of its stations to avoid duplication of facilities.
South Docks Goods remained busy throughout the 1930s and the outbreak of the Second World War on 3 September 1939 looked set to make it even busier. This time, though, Liverpool found itself in the firing line when bombing of the city started on 4 August 1940. On 26 September 1940 South Docks Goods was hit and completely destroyed. There were a great many railway wagons in the station and they smouldered for weeks.
It was a stupendous task to clear the site of South Docks Goods station and when it was cleared it was completely unusable as a goods station. Some of the sidings were cleared so that wagons could be stored there taking the pressure of the dock railway but the handling of goods was over and the station would never reopen.
The former LNWR Brunswick Goods station was also destroyed in the bombing.
In 1964 the site of South Docks goods station was developed as a road transport depot which lasted until 1988. The site was later developed as a car retail outlet and garage.
- An Illustrated History of Liverpool's Railways - Paul Anderson - Irwell Press 1996.
- Rails to Port and starboard – John W Gahan – Countyvise 1992.
- The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Volume 2 - John Marshall - David & Charles 1970.
- The Railway Clearing House Handbook of Stations 1904 - David & Charles 1970.
See also: Wapping & Salthouse Goods