Liverpool Overhead Railway electric units

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Liverpool Overhead Railway electric units
Seaforth Sands railway station 1.jpg
Liverpool Overhead Railway electric train approaching Seaforth Sands
In service 1893–1956
Manufacturer Brown, Marshall & Co.
Metro-Cammell
Constructed 1892–1896
1916–1918
Scrapped 1956
Number preserved 2 cars
Formation 1–3 cars
Operator Liverpool Overhead Railway
Specifications
Electric system(s) 500–630 V DC[a]
Current collection method Third rail
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Liverpool Overhead Railway carriage in the Museum of Liverpool, 2014

The Liverpool Overhead Railway opened on 6 March 1893 with 2-car electric multiple units, the first to operate in the world. Each lightweight car had a 60 horsepower (45 kW) motor that took power from a third rail. In 1902 these were replaced with two 100 horsepower (75 kW) motors, which reduced the travel time. After 1945 some trains were modernised, replacing the timber body with aluminium and plywood and fitting power operated sliding doors under control of the guard. The trains were all removed from service when the railway closed in 1956. An original example was retained by the Museum of Liverpool and an example of a modernised carriage is stored at the Electric Railway Museum, Warwickshire.

Service[edit]

The Liverpool Overhead Railway was an elevated railway operating in and around the dockside of Liverpool that opened on 6 March 1893 with the first electric multiple units operating in the world.[1] The railway opened with 15 two-car trains, built by Brown, Marshall & Co, each lightweight car with a 60 horsepower (45 kW) motor and 45 feet (14 m) long, 8 feet 6 inches (2.59 m) wide with seating for 41 in second class and 16 in first.[2] Power was provided by a third rail between the tracks[a] and air brakes were fitted, the pressure topped up at terminus stations.[3] In the early days a single motor coach would run off-peak.[4]

A further 4 two-car trains were built in 1894, these were only 40 feet (12 m) long, followed by enough motor cars and trailers were built in 1896 to allow 15 two-car trains and 8 three-car trains to be formed.[2][4] These newer motor cars were fitted with 70 horsepower (52 kW) motors. To meet competition from the electric tramways that offered a faster service, in 1902 the motor cars were fitted with two Dick, Kerr & Co. 100 horsepower (75 kW) motors, which reduced the travel time from end to end from 32 minutes to 20 minutes.[2] At the same time, ten motor cars were widened to 9 feet 4 inches (2.84 m) to increase accommodation.[5]

Originally first and second class accommodation was provided, but after the L&YR began running over the railway in 1905 this become first and third.[6] The conductor rail was moved from the central position to outside the running rails at the same time. The two-car trains were lengthened to three-car with additional trailers built in 1916–18.[2] The cars were now arranged with transverse seating, the unpowered central coach was fitted with leather-covered seats for first class passengers; third class passengers had wooden seating.[7] The motors were replaced in 1919 by 75 horsepower (56 kW) motors, and the travel time increased to 31 minutes.[7][2]

In 1945–47 a three car train was modernised, replacing the timber body with aluminium and plywood and fitting power operated sliding doors under control of the guard.[8] New trains were considered too expensive so six more trains were rebuilt.[9] The trains were all removed from service when the railway closed in 1956. An original example was retained by the Museum of Liverpool[10] and an example of a modernised carriage is stored at the Electric Railway Museum, Warwickshire.[11]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Marsden 2008, p. 68 states the voltage as 600 V DC, whereas Gahan 1982, p. 34 says the LOR was 500V so when LOR units later ran on the L&YR 630V system their motors had to be in series mode.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Liverpool Overhead Railway". Our Transport Heritage. The Transport Trust. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Marsden 2008, p. 68.
  3. ^ "Accident at Dingle 20 December 1898". Railways Archive. Board of Trade. 26 January 1899. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Gahan 1982, p. 30.
  5. ^ Marsden 2008, pp. 68, 71.
  6. ^ Gahan 1982, p. 29.
  7. ^ a b Gahan 1982, pp. 29–30.
  8. ^ Gahan 1982, p. 31.
  9. ^ Gahan 1982, p. 32.
  10. ^ "Liverpool Overhead Railway motor coach number 3, 1892". Museum of Liverpool. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  11. ^ "Liverpool Overhead Railway Car No. 7". Baginton, Warwickshire: Suburban Electric Railway Association. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]