Another book arrived recently to add to my shelf-weakeningly huge collection of Merseyrail paraphenalia. Seaport to Seaside (out of print but obtained from a helpful Amazon marketplace seller) charts the history of the Liverpool to Southport and Ormskirk lines from their beginnings in the 1850s right up to the creation of the Merseyrail Northern Line in the late 1970s.
There’s lots of fascinating stuff in there which I wasn’t aware of. For example, when the line from Southport first opened, it only went as far as Waterloo, with passengers left to face a tortuous onward journey into Liverpool by road. (An experience that Merseyrail are trying to replicate every Sunday, judging by their upcoming engineering works page).
What did amuse me was some of the turns of phrase used in the book. It was published in 1981 or thereabouts, but occasionally feels like it was written 50 years earlier — it’s hard to read sentences such as, “telephonic communication is provided between driver and guard” (describing a feature of the new Class 507 trains), without hearing it in the voice of Mr Burns.
The saddest part is the plug at the end of the book for the now-closed railway museum at Southport, which makes specific reference to the old Class 502 train which was lovingly preserved there. Things have taken a turn for the worse since then.