Damaging A Locomotive Engine

William Steevens was charged, on the complaint of William Thomas Mosley, of West Monkton, with having on the 7th of September contracted with John Logan to serve him as an engine-cleaner, and also that, having entered into such service, he was guilty of misdemeanour and ill-behaviour, to wit, that he did by negligence and misconduct damage a locomotive engine, thereby doing injury to the amount of £100. Mr H. Trenchard appeared for the complainant, and Mr Taunton for the defendant.
Mr Trenchard having explained the circumstances of the case, called Mr Mosley, who said that he lived at Bathpool and was the superintendent engineer and manager of the Taunton and Chard Railway. The defendant was in his employ, and was paid by the week. His duty was to clean the engine at night, and to light the fire in the engine in the morning, about two hours before it commenced work. The defendant had no right to put the engine in motion. In consequence of some information witness saw the engine which was under the care of the defendant, on Thursday morning, near Thorn Water. It was very much damaged, which was caused through water not having been pumped into the boiler. This arose through the engine having been used by some one who could not put on the feed-pipe to convey the water from the tank into the boiler. Supposing a fire were lighted and the water were exhausted, an explosion of the boiler‘ would take place. He found the tubes and boiler of the engine bursted; they were safe the night before. It was the duty of the engine-driver to leave sufficient water and coal in the engine at night for it to be fit for work the following morning. It was the driver’s duty to leave water both in the tank and the boiler. The defendant had been in his employ about two months. It was no part of the duty of the defendant to supply the engine with water.
James Needs said he was the driver of the engine named BUSY BEE, of which the defendant was the cleaner. He (defendant) had been engaged in that occupation about nine nights before Wednesday last. The duty of the defendant was to clean the engine at night, and to light the fire at half-past three in the morning, so as to get the steam up by the usual time. He had no right to move the engine after witness left it at night. He (witness) provided coal and water, and he left the engine in a proper state on Wednesday night for the fire to be lighted the next morning. Just as witness left his lodgings, about five o’clock on Thursday morning, he heard an explosion. He went to the spot where he left the engine and found all the water gone and the tubes bursted. There was plenty of water in the feeder to the boiler, which could have been put into the engine by a person who understood it. Moving the engine would consume the water much faster than if it were allowed to stand still. He left sufficient water in the engine to prevent any explosion taking place before he got to it if it had not been moved. Witness provided the usual amount of coal on the previous night. When he first saw the defendant he was lying in a dyke, near to the engine, with his hair standing up, as if he‘ were much frightened. The feed-pipes in the morning were shut off, as witness had left them on the previous evening. Some water was in the tank which he had not left there on the previous evening.
By the Bench: When he saw the defendant in the morning he said to him (witness) that he had been down to look for coals.
By Mr. Trenchard: He first saw the defendant about one hundred yards from the engine, in a field. Supposing coals were wanted, it was the duty of the defendant to go to witness and tell him of it. The defendant would have to go to Thorn Water for coal, and if he had burnt all the coal left by witness and fetched more he mast have lighted the fire two hours earlier than he was ordered to do.
John Bicker, stoker on the BUSY BEE, said that the night before the explosion there was plenty of water in the boiler, and the usual amount of coal left. If the engine had been lighted at the proper time, and was not moved, there was ample water in the boiler to prevent an explosion. It was not the duty of the defendant to drive the engine. He did not hear the last witness give the defendant any orders as to what was his duty.
John Godfrey, watchman on the line, said he heard an engine whistle on the line about two o’clock on Thursday morning. About a quarter to three o‘clock the BUSY BEE passed him with only one man on it. At a quarter past four o’clock the engine returned, and the steam at that time was blowing off freely. Witness could not tell who was on the engine.
For the defendant Mr Taunton contended that there was no more pretence for this charge than there would be if a servant of one of the magistrates, who was instructed to lead a horse into Taunton, rode it instead, and thereby an accident occurred. The fact was, that the defendant, acting as an energetic servant in his masters’ interest, rose up early In the morning in question, and, manifesting his energy and zeal without skill, went to get a sufficient supply of coal, which the engine-driver had not provided. There was no pretence for saying that there was any negligence in the case, the only thing against the defendant being over-zeal in the discharge of his duty.
Mr. Badcock said the magistrates thought the case had been proved, and the act of the defendant was fraught with immense danger, inasmuch as if he had driven on to the main line and come in contact with the mail train, the lives of many persons might have been sacrificed. They thought it necessary to make an example of the defendant, and should sentence him to one month’s imprisonment, with hard labour.

This most illuminating account was extracted from the “Somerset County Gazette”, issue dated 9th September 1863. One can but wonder how present-day vandals would have been punished by the Courts.

(Industrial Railway Society Records)

“Atlantic Coast Express”

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The forerunner of the “Atlantic Coast Express” was the LSWR 11:00 am departure from Waterloo for Plymouth. This was quite a notable train in its day as, in 1904, it was running to Salisbury in 1 hr 32 mins, changing engines there, then on to Exeter in 1 hr 38 mins where, after another change of engine, it departed for the next booked stop, Devonport, where it arrived at 3:44 pm, followed by North Road, Mutley and finally Plymouth Friary at 4:05 pm. The LSWR advertised the service as non-stop from Exeter Queen Street to Devonport, though of course the GWR would never allow the train to pass through their St Davids station without stopping!
It was largely the success of this train that prompted the GWR to build two of its cut-offs, at Westbury and Castle Carey, to shorten its own route to London, then some 22¼ miles longer from Exeter. The LSWR supremacy, though, was not to be long-lived as in July 1904 the GWR intoduced the “Cornish Riviera Express” with its non-stop run from Paddington to Plymouth in 4 hrs 25 mins, some 19 minutes quicker than the LSWR train with all its stops and changes of engine.
No longer competitive on the time to Plymouth, the LSWR started adding extra stops, calling at Sidmouth Junction, North Tawton, Okehampton, Lydford and Tavistock, as well as acknowledging the stop at Exeter St Davids. Extra destinations were bolted on and with Plymouth no longer a competetive run, this portion became of secondary importance to the Ilfracombe portion and there were portions for Bideford, Bude and Padstow with through coaches detached for other places. Then in the late 1920s, by which time there were nine different destinations for parts of the train, came one of those PR masterstrokes for which the Southern Railway was known. A competition was held amongst staff to find a name for this many-destination train and one Guard Rowland of Woking came up with the winning suggestion, and the “Atlantic Coast Express” was born. The inaugral run under this name took took place on 19th July 1926, behind King Arthur class loco Nº779 Sir Colgrevance.
With the arrival of the Lord Nelson class locos through running from Waterloo to Exeter had been tried, but did not last for long and the Salisbury engine change was re-instated (though Wilton was used for the later “Devon Belle”). In 1939 timings were 1 hr 26 mins to Salisbury where five minutes were allowed for the change of engine, then on to Sidmouth Junction in 1 hr 23 mins and a further 18 times for the 11:00 Waterloo departure were: Torrington 3:58 pm, Ilfracombe 4:05 pm, Plymouth Friary 4:19 pm, Bude 4:39 pm and Padstow 5:37 pm. All this ceased for the duration of WWII, though there was still a 11:00 am departure from Waterloo.
Upon restoration of the “ACE” after the end of the war the railway now had its new Bulleid pacifics to call upon. The train would normally leave Waterloo behind a Merchant Navy which would go all the way to Exeter, though the stop at Salisbury was still required for water and a crew change, then a light pacific would take over for duties west of Exeter. Lack of proper maintenance during the war meant that initially schedules were slower than pre-war, but by the summer 1952 timetable timings had been reduced to lower than in 1939. Through the height of the summer season loadings were so great that the train would run in two portions, the main train left Waterloo at 11:00 am with portions for Ilfracombe, Torrington, Sidmouth and Exmouth whilst the relief train left at varying times just before or after this with portions for Bude, Padstow and Plymouth, also calling at Axminster to connect with the Lyme Regis branch. The up journeys were basically the reverse of the down with one exception, a through portion from Yeovil Town which called at all stations to Gillingham where it was added to the rear of the “ACE”, also only a brief halt at Sidmouth Junction was required as the through coaches from Sidmouth were attached along with a coach from Seaton, to the preceding 10:30 am ex-Exeter service. During the late 1950s traffic could be so heavy on summer Saturdays that there was a succession of trains needed to carry all those wanting to travel to the Devon and North Cornwall resorts but by the early 1960s this traffic was in decline. As the private motor car became more reliable and affordable so the numbers travelling by train dropped off rapidly with the result that the last ever “ACE” ran on 5 September 1964.
The “ACE” had no rival in the UK for the number of individual portions incorporated into one train, so much so that at times it almost seemed it consisted entirely of brake coaches! Leaving Waterloo a typical winter formation would be a second corridor and composite brake for Ilfracombe, composite brakes for each of Torrington, Padstow and Bude, second brake and composite for Plymouth, buffet, kitchen and open restaurant cars to be detached at Exeter, composite brakes for each of Exmouth, Sidmouth and all stations Salisbury to Honiton, the latter detached at Salisbury.
One sad footnote to the “ACE” story concerns Guard Rowland who moved from Surrey to live in Torrington in Devon where he was unfortunate enough to become the only railwayman ever to be killed on the Halwill – Torrington line.

‘Ghost’ Steam Engines !

There have been countless stories about a top secret batch of ‘ghost’ steam engines for many years. These retired British rail engines are supposed to be stored serviceable in an unknown underground location to this day. These engines are commonly known as the (S.S.R) ‘Strategic steam reserve’
Sixty steam engines were supposed to be kept in reserve in the event of a nuclear attack on Britain. It was thought that a nuclear attack would render all electric circuits useless, due to the electromagnetic radiation given off. The new diesel engines would be well and truly out of action.
During the late 1960’s steam engines began to be replaced by diesels. Rumour has it that a number of these withdrawn loco’s were hid away in suspicious circumstances. It is said that these engines are the Stanier 8 and 9F class, some of which were only 10 years old when retired, they have a design life of 50+ years.
As the mass scrapping of Britain’s steam trains began, loco’s were sold to the scrap men. Sixty loco’s of the Stanier 8 and 9F class still remain unaccounted for. There are countless eyewitness stories of steam engines being stored in sidings long after they were withdrawn. Locos been spirited away in the dead of night, Drivers been sent home early from work, there engines never to be seen again.
The Strategic steam reserve has been repeatedly linked to Box Hill Tunnel in Wiltshire. Box Hill tunnel has a narrow gauge tunnel running parallel to it leading to mineral workings. These workings were taken over by the military and used as an ammunition store until after the Second World War. Rumours abound of secret tunnels branching off from the main tunnel leading to huge underground caverns.

Thanks to Bourne’s lithographs, the western portal of Brunel’s Box Tunnel is well known, but the eastern portal is less so. The latter is decidedly less ornate. Brunel had gone over budget during the construction of the Great Western Railway and the directors were demanding economies. So not many people are familiar with the eastern portal or know that it also has a small side tunnel to the north which led into a underground quarry used by the railway contractor as a source of the fine Bath stone used to embellish many of the buildings and civil engineering structures along the line.
The area had been quarried for many centuries, leaving behind an enormous complex of galleries and tunnels where the stone had been removed. In both the first and second World Wars, the quarries were used to store ammunition. The complex was named the Central Ammunition Depot, Corsham. It encompassed the underground quarries at Ridge, Monkton Farleigh, Eastlays, Browns, as well as the Tunnel Quarry at Corsham. During WWII, the adjoining Spring Quarry was converted at enormous cost into a Ministry of Aircraft Production factory. While Ridge Quarry was used almost ‘as is’, the quarries at Tunnel, Monkton and Eastlays were comprehensively re-engineered. A major underpinning exercise allowed adits to be straightened and rectangular storage bays to be constructed. Air conditioning, electricity generation and sewerage systems were installed.
After de-commissioning in the 1960s, the complex was broken up, Eastlays was used as a bonded warehouse, Monkton became a museum, was then closed and trashed by scrap thieves, parts of Monkton Farleigh were leased to a security company. Part of and in later years a store for the Royal Navy was developed as one of the Hawthorn Central Government (War) Headquarters sites. Tunnel Quarry remained in MoD hands. Part became the Corsham Computer Centre and part is used by RAF Rudloe Manor. The portion with the rail link to the ex GWR main line was used to store the strategic steam reserve – a means of hauling MOD trains in the period immediately after a nuclear attack.
Carefully selected BR standard and ex GWR locomotives locomotives were subject to heavy overhaul and were withdrawn shortly after running in their bearings.
They were taken at night to Farleigh Down sidings by a special crew – half dozen BR drivers and firemen who had undergone security vetting and had signed the Official Secrets Act. From Farleigh Down they would be taken on to the underground storage sidings at Tunnel Quarry by Ministry of Defence (MOD) crews. Here the engines would be mothballed according a special process developed by MOD scientists. Boilers would be drained, then flushed with dry air and then filled with nitrogen to inhibit corrosion. All bright metal surfaces were smeared with a special lithium-based grease to inhibit corrosion. The humidity in the tunnel was carefully controlled by means of special air dryers fitted into the air conditioning systems.
The strategic steam reserve would probably have continued into the 21st century had it not been for the problem of training the next generation of MOD locomotive crews. With the closure of the Longmoor Military Railway in 1969 the MOD had lost its own in-house training facility. The MOD drew up a specification for a steam locomotive simulator similar to those used to train aircraft pilots. The project was originally budgeted at £15 million, but the USA DoD demanded that as this was a part of a strategic defence system it should be programmed in ADA. The new specification was put out to tender which was won by Praxis Systems of Bath with a bid of £25 million. The system was ready for delivery when the MOD discovered that whereas they had specified a driving simulator, they had forgotten about the work of the fireman. Praxis were asked to submit a supplementary estimate for the additional work required. At this stage the paper trail gets decidedly cold and after receiving a few midnight phone calls from the “If you know what’s good for yer mate… ” brigade, enquiries were discretely dropped!
The steam locomotives of the strategic steam reserve were very quietly cut up and with the evidenced disposed of and the remaining witnesses sworn to secrecy the MOD put about the story that the SSR is just an urban myth.

(Thanks to Phill Davison & The Englishrail Blogger)

The Steam Bus 1833-1923

Until the rise of the tramway, the majority of stage carriage services in Britain were provided by the horse bus, but with the advances in steam and especially with the success of the railway network, application of steam to road transport was also tried.

Sir Goldsworthy Gurney experimented with steam road traction from 1823 onwards and at least one of his four-wheeled steam tractors hauled a coach between Gloucester and Cheltenham several times daily. The nine-mile journey, operated by Sir Charles Dance, was undertaken in as little as 45 minutes, but the apparent success alarmed other operators. On June 23rd 1831, piles of loose stones were scattered across the road and resulted in the coach breaking its back axle. Consequently the Turnpike Trusts imposed additional tolls on self-propelled vehicles and the venture came to an end. The opposition of the Turnpike Trusts (whose apparent dislike for these vehicles stemmed from an opinion that the roads were inadequate for this type of vehicle, even though a House of Commons Select Committee had found that the wheels of horse-drawn vehicles were more likely to damage the roads than those of the steam-drawn vehicles) proved the downfall of many innovative ideas. Some idea of the excessive nature of the tolls can be illustrated by the toll of 48 shillings demanded for steam carriages operating between Liverpool and Prescott, whilst that for horse coaches was just 4 shillings.

Whilst the first steam-drawn coaches were more closely allied to the stagecoaches of the time, the introduction to London, on the 22nd April 1833 of a regular steam carriage service marked the beginning of the history of the mechanically propelled bus. Walter Hancock’s steam omnibus named ‘The Enterprise’ was built for the London and Paddington Steam Carriage Company and ran between London Wall and Paddington via Islington. It was the first mechanically propelled vehicle specially designed for omnibus work ever to be placed into service. Although a dispute between Hancock and the operators curtailed this service, Hancock himself built and operated steam buses between 1833 and 1840. In 1836 he introduced the 22-seat ‘Automaton’ and ran over 700 journeys between London and Paddington, London and Islington, and Moorgate and Stratford, carrying over 12,000 passengers and reaching speeds in excess of 20 mph.

Hancock was not alone; pioneers ran steam buses in other parts of the country. John Russell ran 6 vehicles between Glasgow and Paisley on an hourly service in 1834. Built by the Steam Carriage Company of Scotland, they were an undoubted success, but sabotage caused a fatal accident and the service was abandoned.

A novel concept proposed by the London, Holyhead and Liverpool Steam Coach & Road Company, would have seen the construction of a stone pavement alongside existing roads upon which the Company would operate its own vehicles and charge tolls for other traffic, but the proposals came to nothing.
Frank Hills of Deptford built a 12-seater steam-powered coach in 1839, which made the return journey to Brighton in a single day, demonstrating that passengers could be carried at twice the speed of a stagecoach and at half the expense.

By 1840, however, the development of steam-powered road vehicles had lost impetus and the heavy tolls imposed by the Turnpike Acts had turned inventive talents away from steam. In London even Hancock was forced to give up the struggle and leave the way clear for the horse bus proprietors. There were those that continued on, but their talents were turned more towards traction engines and agricultural machines rather than road transport.

Harsh legislation from 1861 onwards virtually eliminated mechanically propelled vehicles from the roads of Great Britain. The Locomotive Act of 1861 imposed speed limits on ‘road locomotives’ of 5mph in towns and cities, and 10mph in the country. Four years later, the Locomotives Act of 1865 (the famous Red Flag Act), reduced the speed limits to 4mph in the country and just 2mph in towns and cities. In addition the act required a man bearing a red flag to precede every vehicle and at the same time gave powers to local authorities to specify the hours during which any such vehicle might use the roads. It effectively killed development of the mechanically propelled omnibus for some 30 years, although from 1879 street trams were authorised under licence from the Board of Trade.

Steam never lacked its proponents and in 1873 they managed to secure the introduction into Parliament of the Locomotives on Roads Bill, intended to remove some of these restrictions but fierce opposition led to its withdrawal. There were changes to the legislation introduced under the Highways & Locomotives (Amendments) Act of 1878, but these did nothing to encourage the development of mechanically propelled transport, although the need for the pedestrian preceding road locomotives to carry a red flag was removed.

It was not until the internal combustion engine achieved a modicum of success on the Continent that public opinion against mechanically propelled vehicles began to change, and, in 1896, the Government passed the Locomotives on Highways Act. This removed the most stringent restrictions and sanctioned a maximum speed of 14 mph, although this was later reduced by the Local Government Board to 12 mph. The Act came into force on the 14th November 1896 and from that date the mechanically propelled bus took a giant step forward.

Experiments with steam vehicles restarted. In 1899 a double-deck steam bus built by E. Gillett & Company of Hounslow was licensed for use in London, although it was basically a horse-bus body, seating 10 inside and 14 outside, mounted on a steam lorry chassis, with a light awning to protect potential passengers from soot and steam. In the event no regular service was operated with the vehicle.

The Dover & East Kent Motor Bus Company Ltd. (formed on the 9th March 1899) operated three Lifu steam buses between Dover and Deal, but the Company failed.
In 1901, the Potteries Electric Traction Company bought two Straker steam buses, which were built at the Vulcan Ironworks in Bristol, and started work in April of that year. They were fitted with double-deck bodies with glass windscreens to protect the upper-deck passengers, but the pinion drive proved noisy and unsatisfactory. They were ineffective against the steep hills in the Potteries, eventually being sold in March 1902.

On the 17th March 1902 an experimental service between Hammersmith and Oxford Circus via Shepherd’s Bush using a Thorneycroft coke-fired steam bus was inaugurated by the London Road Car Company. The vehicle had coachwork based on a horse bus body, but was adapted to seat 36 passengers by elongating the upper deck over the driver. It had steel tyres and carried sandboxes, but was uneconomic in operation and only ran until May. Single-deck steam buses were introduced by the London General Omnibus Company and the London Road-Car Company, both of whom used Chelmsford (later renamed Clarkson) steam chassis, but all were withdrawn by 1905 because of heavy losses.

By 1909 the London General Omnibus Company had abandoned steam, although the inventor, Thomas Clarkson [1864-1933], formed his own company called the National Steam Car Co. Ltd, which commenced services on the 2nd November 1909 with four steam buses. The fleet was gradually built up and in 1914 it was operating a total of 184. However this was to be the pinnacle of the steam bus era, which was never able to compete satisfactorily against the rise of the petrol engined bus.
The vehicles soldiered on through World War 1, but when the question of renewal arose the Company chose petrol vehicles; the last National steam bus ran in London on the 18th November 1919 and although one or two continued to work in the provinces until 1923 the age of the steam bus was over.

Compiled by Peter Gould

Peckett’s Only Fireless Loco

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When the Co-operative Wholesale Society‘s Irlam Soap, Candle and Starch Works, near Manchester, found another locomotive was needed, they at first envisaged a diesel, but at that time no builder could satisfy their needs with regard to wheelbase, tractive effort, and immediate power. As there were several stationary boilers on the premises it was suggested that an 0-4-0 fireless locomotive be obtained, and this was delivered in 1955 by Irlam‘s traditional builder, Peckett & Sons Ltd. of Bristol, works number 2155. It is unique and represents Peckett‘s one and only entry into the fireless market. In relation to other fireless locomotives its boiler is comparatively small, but in actual fact was of the same size as those fitted to Irlam‘s more conventional engines, a pair of 1951 Peckett 0-4-0 saddle tanks. The Fireless managed to perform its duties satisfactorily and proved quite reliable but, owing to its relatively low weight, the tractive effort was limited. Wheel slip easily occurred and only a small number of vans could be moved round the rather sharp curves inside the works. Since most of the curves were left-handed, the tyres wore rather badly on the flanges and had to be changed every two years. The steam reserve of the Fireless, although quite considerable, naturally had a limit, and the receiver pressure had to be watched lest it fall too low for operation at some place remote from the charging point. This was not unknown in the early days and the Fireless had to be towed back for charging at some inconvenience by one of the other engines. One charge was supposed to last four hours, but generally two hours were the limit.
The Fireless was in regular use for internal shunting of vans until early in 1960 when a rearrangement of the works‘ departments resulted in a large reduction in the amount of shunting which needed only one locomotive per day to cope with it. This had to be done by one of the Peckett saddle tank locomotives as one of the remaining duties was the haulage of loaded vans up the steep gradient to the mainline sidings at Irlam station. The small power reserve of the Fireless rendered it unsuitable for this job, and it was taken out of service. When efforts to dispose of this locomotive proved unsuccessful, consideration was given to the possibility of improving its efficiency by increasing the power reserve, selling one of the saddle tank engines and retaining the second as a spare. The Fireless had shown itself to be an economical proposition and experiments were carried out using compressed air as motive power. A fairly large contractors‘ type of air compressor to charge the steam receiver through a flexible hose was mounted on a flat truck. This most unconventional combination worked much better than expected on the level, but the steep gradient proved to be a major problem. By using a compressor large enough it is clear that this difficulty could have been overcome, but the size and cost of the equipment would have been considerable. After due consideration it was concluded that this would not be justified under the present circumstances, and the Fireless was offered for sale at a sum of £500.
(Industrial Railway Society Records)

Liverpool Central

Liverpool Central Station opened as part of the Cheshire Lines Railway’s extension of their Liverpool and Manchester line into Liverpool’s city centre, it has previously terminated at the inconveniently located Brunswick station. The line, which ran from Brunswick, was entirely in tunnels or cuttings until it reached Central Station.
Being a relative latecomer to Liverpool the CLC had to make do with a very cramped site. Nevertheless they built an imposing station that had a grand three-story station façade behind which was a single arched train shed that reached a height of 65 feet. The station had three island platforms giving six platform faces.
By 1880 the CLC was offering the fastest journey times between Liverpool and Manchester at 45 minutes for a 34-mile journey. By 1883 this was reduced to 40 minutes. Within a few years of its opening Central Station offered services to Manchester, Stockport, Southport and shorter all stations workings along these routes. It also offered through the constituent parts of the CLC journeys further a field. The GNR ran services to Hull, Harwich and London Marylebone whilst the Midland ran services to London St. Pancreas.
On the 11.1.1892 the Mersey Railway opened Low Level platforms at Central Station which catered for its services that ran deep beneath the River Mersey to Rock Ferry and Birkenhead. This made Liverpool Central Station an even busier place, as interchange opportunities were very good.
In 1923 at the time of the grouping the CLC was left as an independent company but its shares became split between the LNER (two thirds) and the LMS (one third). The CLC had never owned any locomotives they had always been provided by the parent companies. After 1923 LNER types where the most dominant.
Services still ran to both London Marylebone (LNER) and London St. Pancreas (LMS) but the LMS tended to concentrate its London services on its route from nearby Liverpool Lime Street.

The station remained busy throughout the period from 1923 and well into the nationalisation period. In 1960 daily departures are listed to Aintree Central, Gateacre, Harwich Parkeston Quay, Hull, Hunts Cross, Leicester Central, London Marylebone, Manchester Central, Nottingham Victoria, Stockport Tiviot Dale, Tanhouse Lane, and Warrington Central. However despite this level of traffic Liverpool Central was listed for closure under the Beeching report as most of its services could be rerouted into Liverpool Lime Street Station via the Allerton Curve. This happened in September 1966 but it was not to be the end of the station. It was kept open to serve the hourly Gateacre Service.
In its later years the high level platforms at Central made for a sad spectacle. Only two running lines were left in situ straddling one of the island platforms. Other than the concourse that provided access to the low level platforms and remained busy the rest of the station took on a derelict air.
By the early 1970’s the station site was needed as a construction base for the planned Merseyrail Loop and Link underground system. On the 17.4.1972 the Gateacre service ended and the high level platforms at Central closed for good. On 28.7.1975 the Low Level Platforms also closed but for them it was only a temporary measure as they re-opened on 9.5.1977 as part of the new Link Line, which formed the cross-city section of the Merseyrail Northern Line. New Deep Level platforms also opened to cater for the former Mersey Railway Service by then the Merseyrail Wirral Line.

In January 1978 the original route east out of Liverpool Central High Level also re-opened but it was excavated out a few hundred metres from the end of the original platforms to allow trains to drop down to the low level platforms.
Today the High Level station has been swallowed up as part of a new shopping development. The name Central station still lives on through the Merseyrail Station that occupies the same site although trains are now relegated to below the streets. On a brighter note though the modern Central Station is probably as busy as it ever was.