But First, An Introdtuction

The little video is a snapshot of trains at Hamilton Square, the main and busiest station in Birkenhead. Its distinctive feature is its tower …

… offering “frequent electric trains”. And they are frequent. 

Hamilton Square is just along the road from the Woodside ferry terminal …

… which was home to trams and later buses.

With the decline in the traditional “Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey” the Woodside interchange is but a shadow of its former self with just a smattering of Arriva buses as in this aerial shot.

Here a busy scene at Woodside today:-

Back at Hamilton Square and “down below” there are three platforms. One is for all trains into Liverpool and round the “loop”; the others are for a split in services to the Wirral coast …

… with each terminus having a 15 minute frequency.

The other platform handles the trains via Rock Ferry, once the terminus of the electric lines …

… with an old Mersey unit terminating and a diesel arriving from the south.

Now you trundle electrically all the way to Ellesmere Port or Chester.

Here we have a train every 15 mon from Chester …

… and half hourly from Ellesmere Port.

There is also a “connecting service” from Bidston to Wrexham …

… which runs at an infuriating and very forgettable every 45 minutes. fbb guesses that the line would carry more passengers if it could be configured to run every hour.

It is interesting (yes it is – don’t complain) to go back and see how it once was.
The line from Chester via Bidston was part of the Cheshire Lines Committee network..

… trans ran through. Now they terminate on one side of the island platform.

They have to get out of the way quickly to avoid the 15 minute Merseyrail trains.

The West Kirby and Wallasey lines were operated by the Wirral Railway.

West Kirby is off the map left …

… and New brighton off the map top centre. 
They both look like very sweet market town termini, a far cry from big city suburbia.
When we get into Birkenhead centre things get a bit more complicated.

Black colour is for the Mersey Lines, carrying today’s yellow trains under the river. The dotted red/yellow track is labelled Birkenhead Joint; see “Explanation” below.

There is also a now-closed branch to Seacombe.
fbb’s particular interest at Birkenhead, however, is the network of yrack served historically by the Birkenhead Docks Lines.
There were plenty of twiddly bits which survived quite late in the history of the Birkenhead rail network.
And that other tower? The reveal is postponed until tomorrow …

… where it fits better. It is called careful advance planning!”

 Next Birkenhead bridges blog : Tues 23rd Jan 

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