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Work on Aigburth Station halted in tracks

Light at end of tunnel as Network Rail boss steps in

Written by . Published on April 2nd 2013.

Work on Aigburth Station halted in tracks

NETWORK Rail’s biggest boss has stepped into the campaign – revealed exclusively on Liverpool Confidential – to save historic Aigburth Station.

It wasn't in time to save the large cast iron canopy (pictured below) from removal. Nevertheless, further work on the Victorian platform, with its ornate pillars, has been put on hold.

And while campaigners are far from blowing whistles and waving green flags, the intervention by CEO David Higgins is seen as offering a glimmer of hope the station will be spared a facelift that will remove any more of its historic features.

So how did Mr Higgins become involved in what is, after all, one of many hundreds of “branch line” stations across the country?

Blame, or rather celebrate, the chairman of the powerful House of Commons Transport Committee, Louise Ellman.

Aigburth Station BeforeNow you see it

Aigburth station comes within her Riverside Constituency and at a meeting with local residents and councillors at the station last week, the Labour MP was there to add her weight to the campaign.

That meeting ended with regional Network Rail people agreeing to go away and having a re-think. But in reality, those present at the meeting did not hold out much hope that the now-removed large canopy would ever see the light of day again.

Mr Higgins sent a message to Mrs Ellman, telling her he had been following the meeting at Aigburth Station.

He said he had asked Network Rail’s regional director, Martin Frobisher, who also attended that long encounter at Aigburth Station, to review options and any implications in terms of budget and programme.

Aigburth StationNow you don't

He promised Mrs Ellman he expected Network Rail to be able to go back both to the local authority and the community within the next month. 

Mossley Hill councillors Tina Gould (Lib Dems) and Patrick Hurley (Labour) were also at the meeting.

The proposal was to remove the lengthy canopy, replace it with a smaller one and take away a number of historic and ornate pillars – all had survived since 1864 when the station was opened.

Mrs Ellman said: “I am delighted Network Rail has listened carefully to the views we put forward, especially those of the local community and station users. We will now await the follow up meeting to hear their proposals.”

Cllr Hurley is also delighted with the outcome, so far.

He said: “We were able to put forward a strong argument for the retention of the station, especially the restoration of its original canopy which has sheltered generations of station users.

“It’s clear Network Rail were taken aback by the strength of feeling in the local community, and the strong passion for the local railway station.

“Like Louise, I will await details of the proposals from David Higgins. I hope Network Rail will listen to what has been said and fully restore the station to its original form. They can also learn from this next time they want to alter a station – speak to the station users and local communities first. If they had done that in Aigburth all of this upset could have been avoided.”

Meanwhile the Save Aigburth Station Campaign wants people to continue to add their names to the petition. The campaigners hope is for the station to be restored to its former glory so there will be plenty to celebrate as it heads towards its 150th birthday in 2014. More details at www.saveaigburthstation.org.uk

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AnonymousApril 2nd 2013.

Did Network Rail bother to ask local people if they wanted a 'heated waiting room'. Waiting rooms can attract gangs of youths which could be unpleasant. The canopy at Aigburth was ideally big enough to offer good shelter to everybody, even at busy times when it is crowded with I M Marsh students. I'd have sooner had a repaired (original) roof, paid for by not having a waiting room. The trains are every 15 minutes, almost almost running to time, so nobody is ever hanging around for long. Just give us back. our much loved roof please, and you can scrap the other jobs.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Susie MacApril 2nd 2013.

You are absolutely right! :)

AnonymousApril 3rd 2013.

yeah wouldnt want young people on the railways, that would be terrible.

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