Monday, 24 May 2010

Day Trip to Liverpool

A 'Desiro' photographed leaving Stafford on an earlier trip

On the 15th May 2010 I made a day trip to Liverpool for the Old Locomotive Committee (OLCO) Annual General Meeting. Although a London Midland 'Desiro' Electric Multiple Unit might not be my choice of motive power, honesty compels me to say that it was a fairly comfortable and fast journey.

I'm always a little sad as I recall all the sidings and signal boxes which have gone but I was cheered when passing over the trellis-work of the Runcorn Railway Bridge. Since 1868, this structure has safely taken trains over the Mersey (and, for a shorter time, over the Manchester Ship Canal). Wikipedia has an article on this remarkable feat of engineering.

I'd not been on this line since Allerton station had been totally rebuilt into a steel-and-glass transport interchange opened in 2006 called 'Liverpool South Parkway (for Liverpool John Lennon Airport)'. Once again, Wikipedia has more information. Before setting off that morning, I'd discovered that this new station offered an easier route to my ultimate destination, Bank Hall Station. Accordingly, I got off at the new station and made my way to the platforms on the third-rail electrified Hunt's Cross - Southport line operated by Merseyrail and called the 'Northern Line'. Within a few minutes, I was aboard a (fairly basic) Class 508 for the last leg of my journey to Bank Hall.

Bank Hall, showing my Class 508 leaving for Southport

From Bank Hall Station, I walked to the venue for the OLCO A.G.M. - the Museum Store where 'Lion' is being prepared for display in the new Liverpool Museum now being built.

'Lion' being prepared for display at the new Liverpool Museum. Coupling rods, outside springs and splashers removed.

My attention was drawn to another 'old friend' also in the Museum Store - the Mersey Railway 0-6-4 condensing tank 'Cecil Raikes'. I'd last seen this locomotive some years ago in the now-closed Steamport Museum at Southport. A fleet of these massive Beyer Peacock locomotives worked the service through the Mersey railway tunnel from 1886 until 1903 when the line was electrified. There's more on the Mersey Railway in Wikipedia here. The preserved locomotive is partly dismantled and the cramped quarters made photography difficult but I took a few pictures which are here.

Next to 'Cecil Raikes' was the preserved Mersey Docks and Harbour Board 0-6-0 saddle tank built in 1904 by Avonside. I last saw this locomotive in the Transport Gallery at the old Liverpool Museum in William Brown Street (now called the 'World Museum Liverpool'). Prior to that (when I was quite young) I remember seeing these engines at work around the docks. There are a few pictures of the Avonside here.

One other artefact in the Museum Store seized my attention - the preserved Driving/Motor Car from the Liverpool Overhead Railway. This railway was the first overhead railway in the world to use electric traction and it operated from 1893 to 1956. See the Wikipedia article for more details. My pictures are here. When young, I'd actually travelled on the Liverpool Overhead in cars like the preserved vehicle - there's a brief description here (the 0-6-0 dock tanks are also mentioned in this post).

The OLCO A.G.M. was rather poorly attended this year and I allowed myself to be appointed as Secretary for the forthcoming year. The Museum Staff had been most hospitable in letting OLCO Members study 'Lion' and providing the venue for the A.G.M. Once the Chairman had closed the meeting, the group of Members travelling by train walked to Sandhills Station to catch a train towards the City Centre. The Chairman and I got off at Moorfields and walked to Liverpool Lime Street station where we caught separate trains. I was able to take a Virgin service bound for London. We stopped at Runcorn and then Stafford, where I got off. The speed of this journey was also impressive. My railway pictures around Merseyside are here.

My pictures of 'Lion' are here. To see my various posts about OLCO, click here.