The last of the galleries in the new Museum of Liverpool have just opened and therein illustrate two of the regions early railway treasures.
In 1837 the Liverpool and Manchester Railway ordered two locomotives to haul luggage trains, which were later called 'Lion' and 'Tiger'. They were the first locomotives built by Todd, Kitson and Laird, who used a conventional 0-4-2 wheel arrangement with inside cylinders. After restoration at the Crewe railway works she took part in the centenary celebrations of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1930, pulling a replica train. In 1980 Lion took part in the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway at Rainhill running under her own steam. In 1989 she was withdrawn from steaming for conservation reasons. Now she takes pride of place in the new museum.
Standing above the Lion is a coach from the Liverpool Overhead Railway, also known as the Docker's Umbrella as the route of the railway was along the length of the docks from Seaforth Sands to the Dingle. It was the world's first electrically operated overhead railway. The railway was carried mainly on iron viaducts, with a corrugated iron decking, onto which the tracks were laid. The railway opened in 1893 and closed in 1956 when, during surveys, it was discovered that expensive repairs would be necessary to ensure the line's long term survival, at a cost of £2 million. The Liverpool Overhead Railway Company could not afford such costs and so the railway was closed and demolition started in 1957.
I have vague memories of riding the line during my early childhood and staring in awe at the many liners and cargo ships that could be sen in the docks.
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