Always nice when we get to report on a new bit of urban transport infrastructure outside London: the new station in Merseyside is hardly Crossrail, but it's a start.
The first trains reached Maghull North early this morning. The new station lies just north of, well, Maghull, on the Ormskirk branch of Merseyrail's Northern Line. Trains run to the eponymous West Lancashire town in one direction, and Liverpool Central in the other. (Only trains on the Southport branch of the Northern line continue south to Hunts Cross. Don't say we never reach you anything.)
Here's are some pictures of the new station, which looks adorably like it was built out of lego:
After months of work, Maghull North is finally open on our Network today! pic.twitter.com/7R7lflViEa
— Merseyrail (@merseyrail) June 18, 2018
Plans for a station at Maghull, where a whole bunch of new housing is planned, have been on the table for more than a decade now. But its business case didn't win funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined authority until October 2016, and planning permission took another three months after that.
This is the first new station to open on the Merseyrail network since 1998, when it got two: Brunswick (just south of the city centre on the Northern line), and Conway Park (across the river, in downtown Birkenhead). Smartarses will try to tell you that other new stations have opened since – but Wavertree Technology Park, which opened in 2000, is only served by Northern Rail, and Liverpool South Parkway (2006) was actually an amalgamation of two existing stations at Allerton and Garston.
The network before Liverpool South Parkway, with its site circled. Click to expand. Image courtesy of Project Mapping.
The really exciting development, of course, would be for two new stations in the city centre to come off. Vauxhall lies to the north of the central business district, near to the site of the proposed new Everton Ground; St James lies to the south, in the Baltic Triangle creative district. Build both of those, and you'd end up with pretty comprehensive coverage of the Liverpool waterfront, as this map from our local correspondent Dave Mail shows:
Click to expand.
At present, both stations are just ideas in the authorities' eyes. But if Merseyrail is in a "building new stations" kind of a mood, then...
Anyway: I really just wanted to write something positive about train in the north of England. It’s been a while.