Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Rock Ferry Station, Birkenhead

Rock Ferry station was opened in 1891 as the terminus of the Mersey Railway's line from Liverpool via the Mersey Railway Tunnel, when it was extended from its previous terminus at Green Lane station to the north. Electric train services began in 1903, when the line was electrified. Until 1967 it was the first stop out of Birkenhead Woodside on the former GWR's main line from Birkenhead to London Paddington, and all long-distance services stopped to make connection with the Mersey railway for Liverpool passengers. From then until 1985 after the closure of Birkenhead Woodside it was the terminus for services from Chester and Helsby, giving a connection to services on the Mersey section. Further electrification in the 1980s and 1990s allowed electric train services to be extended, first to Hooton in 1985, then to Chester in 1993 and finally Ellesmere Port in 1994.

Lowry refers to the station in his short story 'Through The Panama';" - a letter came on board causing me much anxiety: my brother reports my mother is seriously ill in England. this is the first time i shall have seen her, as I hope to, in 20 years. Last time I saw her was at Rock Ferry Station, Birkenhead (where Nathaniel Hawthorne was consul), when she saw me off on the London train." (Pgs. 100-101). This incident maybe based on a real event though Lowry's last visit to England was in 1934 which is outside the timescale as 'Through The Panama' is based on a voyage made by Lowry in November 1947.

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