Storeton Woods: Tramlines
This was a single track, standard gauge railway which was used to transport stone from the 3 quarries at Storeton to Bromborough Pool. From there it was taken by barge to Birkenhead and Liverpool to be used in the construction of buildings.
Before the railway was built, horse drawn wagons and gravity were used. This took about 3 weeks for the total trip of two and a half miles. This was due to breakdowns and the need for blocks to be cut to ease handling.
The idea of constructing such a railway dates back to the late 1820’s, when in 1828 George Stephenson visited the quarries. He was looking for stone to complete the Sankey Viaduct. Construction of the Storeton line began in April 1837 and was completed in August 1838 at a cost of £12,000.The original name was Sir Thomas Massey
Stanley’s Railway or The Stourton Railway (original spelling of village) In the quarries latter years it was known as Storeton Quarries Tramway. After closure it became known as Storeton Tramway. However, now it is remembered as Wagon Line.
The line serviced three quarries, Storeton North, Storeton South and Jackie’s Wood Quarry which was on the East side of Mount Road. It started at the North Quarry, then past the South Quarry, over Rest Hill Road, through Hancock’s Wood and into the 60yd tunnel under Mount Road. It emerged in Jackie’s Wood Quarry. Then across Bracken Lane, Cross Lane and Church Road (near to St Andrews Church) and onto the Quay at Bromborough Pool. There was also a branch line onto the Birkenhead to Chester line. From the quarries to Mount Road the wagons were hauled by horses, but from then on they were propelled by gravity at speeds of up to twenty miles per hour. Horses providing the power for the return journey at a more sedate speed. The old journey time of three weeks had been reduced to less than 30 minutes by changing from horse drawn road wagons to a railway.
By the 1890’s quarrying stopped at the North Quarry and the line was removed. The South Quarry and Jackie’s Wood Quarry were the only active ones. The last wagon was in 1905, and the tramway was then abandoned. The advent of efficient powered vehicles had been the death of the old tramway. The two disused Storeton Quarries were filled in using stone from the excavation of the Birkenhead Tunnel. Jackie’s Wood being filled in used stone from the Wallasey Tunnel.
During the Second World War, the Mount Road tunnel was converted into an air raid shelter by a local man, Mr Jacques; fitting bunks and a protective door. Stone excavations at this site caused a collapse and it became two shorter tunnels.
As the years pass, the remains of the tramway become less and less. You can still see the cutting which approaches the west entrance to the Mount Road tunnel. Also parts of the cutting to the North quarry are still visible. Also the stone sleeper blocks used to secure the rails. These blocks, distinguishable by four bolt holes, have been incorporated in walls around the area.
'Fish Belly' Track
Storeton Woods Tramway was built using one of the earliest forms of railways originally patent in 1820 by John Birkinshaw the so called “fish belly” track was made out of cast iron and were made in short lengths, with each track laid on a fixed stone block and a stone locking chair to hold the track in place.
Short Section of original “fish belly” type rails, being T-shaped in section, the upright of the T was fixed to stone blocks by slotted stone chairs, the joints fell on the chairs eliminating the need for fish plates. The rails point towards the Great Cutting/North Quarry.