Passengers traveling to and from Liverpool may have spotted a small house in one of the underground tunnels along the train line. Although the miniature house, which sits between the tracks of Lime Street station, can easily be missed as its black brickwork camouflages itself in the dark.
The strange house cannot be visited because there are live train tracks on either side, making it dangerous to reach. However, when the station was closed for renovations in 2017, a worker was able to take a photo of the blackened house with its chimney.
It is believed to be over a century old and was originally built as a ‘mess shack’, according to Network Rail. Track workers used to take their breaks inside the hut during their shift – and there is always a bench and a fireplace inside, reports LiverpoolEcho.
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A Network Rail spokesman said: “We always knew it was there but many passengers may not know it. Due to its location and the angle when entering Lime Street you miss it on your journey through the station.”
The miniature house is located at the bottom of the tunnels that connect Liverpool Lime Street when coming from Edge Hill. Although the house is close to one of Liverpool’s busiest commuter lines, it is only accessible when trains are not running.
In 2018, ECHO was offered an exclusive glimpse inside the old structure in the early hours of the morning before services began. Looking at the dark building, it can be hard to imagine anyone spending any time inside.
The house has been disused for at least 50 years, with parts of the floor collapsing – but you can still make out some signs of the hut’s former use. Explaining the history of the property, Network Rail’s Graeme Whitehead said: ‘In years past track maintenance crews would have come here, had their lunch, a cup of coffee, lit the fire and waited between the trains.
“We have no intention of doing anything with it, it will stay here, it is protected under the tunnels and will remain locked in history forever. It is hard to see if you are a passenger in a train.
“If the light is in the right place, you can pretty much see the outline of it, but it’s a little gem that’s locked away and kept in the dark.”
Benches run along both sides, with a table in the center and a fireplace used by workers to keep warm between trains during the winter months. Engineers also found an old kettle, mug and tongs used to move materials up the chimney.
When ECHO was allowed to visit the shack in 2018, Network Rail was preparing for the second phase of an upgrade from June 2 to July 29, designed to allow Lime Street to accommodate more and more trains long. However, the cabin remained intact as part of the work.