REGULAR contributor Kevin Henegan dropped me a line about rail bridges along Garswood Old Road.

He wrote: “It is just beyond the point where the St Helens to Wigan railway line crosses the viaduct near Carr Mill Dam. It gave access to land belonging to Old Garswood Hall.

“Further along Garswood Old Road at Hollin Hey is another railway bridge built of blue bricks and crossing the road at an angle towards Garswood. The skill of the men who built it is astounding; indeed I’d be surprised if any bricklayers today could even approach it.

“Hollin Hey, by the way, was an enclosure made of holly bushes where the Gerard family kept deer to be hunted through Carr Mill Wood. Any deer that could reach Glade Hill at Laffak was allowed to go free.

“An old man I knew was once given half a crown for returning such a deer to Hollin Hey. He also remembered hearing Lord Gerard swearing at Lady Gerard for making risky jumps while hunting.

“The railway owes its origins to the desire of local colliery owners in the 19th century for better connections with their markets in east Lancashire and docks on the upper Mersey estuary at Widnes and Garston, where shipping charges were cheaper.” The route of the line between St Helens and Wigan was authorised by the Lancashire Union Act 1865. This particular section follows the route previously taken by the tramroad constructed by Samuel Stock to transport coals from his Blackleyhurst Colliery to the Upper Basin on the Blackbrook Branch of the St Helens Canal. The line opened to goods traffic on 1 November 1869, and to passenger trains on 1 December 1869. Another company – the London and North Western Railway- extended the line to Huyton, and passenger trains began running between Liverpool, St Helens and Wigan from 1 January 1872.