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Liverpool Overhead Railway facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

The Liverpool Overhead Railway (known locally as the Dockers' Umbrella) was an elevated railway in Liverpool which operated along the Liverpool Docks. It opened in 1893 with lightweight electric multiple units. The design of an overhead line probably originated from the New York High Line which was authorised in 1847. Just five years later, in 1852, the need arose in Liverpool for a similar solution. The railway had a number of world firsts:

  • first electric elevated railway,
  • first to use automatic signalling,
  • first to use electric colour light signals
  • first to use electric multiple units
  • had one of the first passenger escalators at a railway station.

It was also the second oldest electric metro in the world. The only earlier one was the 1890 City and South London Railway. In the early 1900s electric trains ran on the electrified Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway to Southport and Aintree. Special trains to Aintree for the horse race meetings ran twice a year after regular services were withdrawn. Being a local railway it was not nationalised in 1948.

In 1955, a report into the structure of the many viaducts showed major repairs were needed that the company could not afford. The railway closed at the end of 1956. Despite public protests the structures were dismantled in the following year.

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Liverpool Overhead Railway Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.