North Mersey Branch

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North Mersey Branch
North Mersey Branch leaves Northern Line.jpg
Branch leaves the Merseyrail Northern
line south of Aintree Station
Type Heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Engineering trains only
Locale Sefton, Merseyside
Termini Aintree
Bootle New Strand
Stations 2, (Bootle New Strand,
Opened 1867
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) DB Schenker Rail (UK)
Rolling stock Locomotives: Class 60,
Class 66, MPV
Number of tracks Single (1)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Loading gauge W6
Electrification Not electrified
Operating speed 20 mph (32 km/h)
Route map

The North Mersey Branch (NMB) is a railway line that connected the Liverpool and Bury Railway at Fazakerley Junction with the Gladstone Dock. It was opened in 1867 by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.


From 1896 there was a junction to the Liverpool Overhead Railway between North Mersey Branch Junction and Gladstone Dock.

Aintree Racecourse station opened around 1890 as the only station on the line and saw its last service on 31 March 1962. It only operated on race days at Aintree Racecourse. Gladstone Dock station opened on 7 September 1914, when the section of track from North Mersey Branch Junction was electrified, and closed on 7 July 1924. Two more stations on the line opened on 1 June 1906 with the electrification of the line; these closed on 2 April 1951.


The section of the line between Sefton Junction and North Mersey Branch Junction is still maintained to basic Network Rail operational standards, although has no scheduled passenger services.

Occasional diesel-powered engineering/maintenance trains still use the branch to access the Southport line, without the need to reverse at Sandhills.

For trains to access the branch, a key must first be obtained in advance from the Merseyrail IECC signalling centre which unlocks the gate allowing access to/from the branch line at Aintree.

The line is largely single track and is not electrified.


Plans to open this section as part of Merseyrail's Northern Line have been put forward in Sefton's transport plan, with the first details to emerge about its possible reopening being published by the media on 28 February 2008. The Crosby Herald newspaper reported that the line could be reopened in conjunction with a proposed new stadium for Liverpool F.C., to provide additional transport links via the town of Litherland, likely to cost millions.[1] This was again mentioned in Merseytravels 30-year plan of 2014.[2]

North Mersey Branch
Junction Diagram showing railways around Liverpool. The North Mersey branch is shown in blue, running roughly east-west near the top. 
North Mersey branch looking east from crossing the Southport line 


  1. ^ Litherland in line for a new station[dead link]
  2. ^ Shennan, Paddy (28 August 2014). "Merseytravel plan to open or reopen host of new stations". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 

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