People taking a train journey in or out of Liverpool may well have caught the faintest glimpse of a tiny house deep underground.
The little house sits between the train tracks at Lime Street station, and is easily missed in the dark station cutting. The house is also dangerous and difficult to get to as there are busy, live railway tracks on either side.
But back in 2017, while the station was closed for 23 days for renovation works, one worker was able to take a photograph of the blackened, eerie little house complete with its chimney. The house is thought to be more than a century old and was originally built as a “mess hut” according to Network Rail.
Track workers would take their breaks inside the hut while on shift – and there’s still a bench and fireplace inside. A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We’ve always known it was there but many passengers may not. Due to its location and the angle when entering Lime Street you would miss it on your journey through the station.”
The miniature house is located deep in the tunnels running between Liverpool Lime Street station on the way from Edge Hill. While the house sits close to one of Liverpool’s busiest commuter lines, it can only be accessed when trains aren’t running.
Back in 2018, the ECHO was offered an exclusive look inside the eerie old structure in the early hours, before services started. Looking at the dark building, it can be hard to imagine anyone spending any length of time inside the haunting little house.
The house has been disused for at least 50 years, with parts of the floor crumbling away – but you can still make out some signs of the hut’s former use. Explaining the history of the property, Graeme Whitehead from Network Rail said: “In years gone by track maintenance gangs would have come here, they’d have had their lunch, a cup of coffee, lit the fire, and waited in between trains.
“We have no plans to do anything with it, it will stay here, it’s protected beneath the tunnels and will remain locked in history forever more. It’s difficult to see if you’re a passenger on a train.
“If the light’s in the right place you can just about see the outline of it but it’s a little gem that’s locked away and kept in the dark.”
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Benches run down both sides, with a table in the center and a fireplace used by workers to keep warm between trains in the winter months. Engineers also found an old kettle, a cup and tongs used to move materials in the fireplace.
Do these awaken any memories for you? Let us know in the comments section below.
When the ECHO was allowed to visit the hut in 2018, Network Rail were preparing for the second phase of an upgrade from June 2 to July 29, designed to allow Lime Street to welcome more and longer trains. However, the hut remained untouched as part of the works.
It’s not the only piece of history workers have uncovered as part of Lime Street improvement projects over the years. In 2019 a historic piece of the station which remained hidden under passengers’ feet for years was uncovered by builders carrying out renovation work.
Three stone slabs which formed part of the original 1836 platform surface were unearthed during the £ 140 million upgrade of the station.