Liverpool Overhead Railway
The sole relics of this historic railway are perversely the tunnel and underground station at Dingle.
Period of construction:
1850 - 1899
Transport Trust plaque:
Greens-Health and Fitness
1, Riverside Drive
The Liverpool Overhead Railway 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. It ran close to the River Mersey in Liverpool, England, following the line of Liverpool Docks. The railway opened in 1893 and closed in 1956.
As early as 1852 the railway had been suggested. Engineers Sir Douglas Fox and James Henry Greathead were commissioned to design it. From the outset in 1888 electric traction was chosen due to the possibility of sparks from the burning coal of steam power igniting the shipping cargoes in close proximity to the railway. The railway was thus the world's first urban railway designed from the outset for electric traction. The works commenced in 1889 and were completed in 1893. The City and South London Railway was the first railway to operate on electric traction in 1890; however cable traction was originally planned and it was during construction that electric traction was adopted in 1889, due to the cable contractor's liquidation.
In 1896 the railway was extended at the southern end through a 605 yd. tunnel to a new station constructed underground at Dingle. This tunnel survives as does Dingle station, though both are in private use.
Biddle, Gordon, Britain's Historic Railway Buildings, Oxford University Press, ISBN-10: 0198662475 (2003)
Bolger, Paul, The Docker's Umbrella, Bluecoat Press, ISBN 1 872568 05 X, (1992)
Box, Charles, E., Liverpool Overhead Railway, Railway World, (1959)
Jarvis, Adrian, The Liverpool Overhead Railway, Ian allan, ISBN 0 7110 24685 (1996)
The tunnel entrance is visible at all times from a car park
How To Find:
By rail:To Brunswick Station.
By road: From Albert Dock follow the A5039 towards Wapping then A 5036 Sefton Street. At the second roundabout take the first exit. The tunnel is visible ahead from the car park of Greens-fitness and health.
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