Merseyrail Class 502 Unit Under Restoration in Burscough – An Update

The long-term restoration of the Class 502 EMU, which used to run on the Northern Lines of the Merseyrail network, continues at the premises of Merseyside Transport Trust in Burscough by the Friends of the 502 Group.

It really is a huge task for the volunteers who are undertaking the work as the two car unit reached Burscough in terrible condition due to age and it being stored in the open. Rust is unsurprisingly the main problem, so fabrication of new parts is the major headache. Here are some photos of the present state of the works:-

Good luck to the Friends of the 502 Group in their endeavors.

Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day in Burscough – Memories of the 502’s

A 502 in LMS livery – They were constructed at the start of the 2nd World War!

Sunday 9th July was the annual open day of Merseyside Transport Trust’s huge warehouse type building in Burscough, West Lancashire.

A couple of the vintage buses on display

This is where they store their numerous old buses that previously operated across Liverpool and Merseyside but the draw for me was to check on the slow but determined progress to bring a Merseyrail Class 502 EMU back up to operating standard.

Are you old enough to remember the trains that ran on the Ormskirk – Liverpool and Southport – Liverpool lines until the late 1970’s?

The 502 (together with the Wirral line 503’s) were withdrawn in the late 1970’s being replaced by the present (and soon to be replaced themselves) 507/508 EMU’s.

The state of decay in the 502 that the Friends of the 502 Group are working on has to be seen to be believed and its going to take another 5 years and more, at least, for the volunteers to rebuild the unit – They have been working on it for 5 years already. Here’s some shots of 502’s in their operating days – both are from Southport – one taken in the station itself and one in the carriage sidings:-

And here are a couple of shots showing the present state of 502 unit being worked on:-

My recollection from rides into Liverpool from Maghull as a teenager and young man back in the day is that the 502 seats were really comfortable and they were filled with horse hair I assume.

And finally, here’s a link to the Friends of the 502 Group’s web site:-

www.class502.org.uk/

Burscough – Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day – Sunday 9th July

Please click on the image above to enlarge it for reading

I’m looking forward to seeing how the volunteer work to rebuild the former Merseyrail Class 502 EMU is progressing. Here’s a shot of a 502 at Ormskirk Station back in the day.

And another in LMS Maroon:-

The work is being done by the Friends of the 502 Group. Their web site is at:-

www.class502.org.uk/

Merseyside – Where to see its preserved Locomotives and Rolling Stock – Posting 2

The Lion otherwise known as the Titfield Thunderbolt!

The Lion otherwise known as the Titfield Thunderbolt!

My first posting on this subject is available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/07/07/merseyside-where-to-see-its-preserved-locomotives-and-rolling-stock-posting-1/

It concentrated on the ‘Whiston’ colliery loco now based at the Foxfield Railway in deepest rural Staffordshire and the long-term refurbishment project of the former Merseyrail Class 502 EMU in a warehouse in Burscough.

This posting is about an historic locomotive and a LOR motorcoach both of which are in the care of NML (National Museums Liverpool) and on display in the new Museum of Liverpool.

The first is the world famous Lion, pictured above. It probably became so well known because it was the star of the Ealing Comedy film The Titfield Thunderbolt. At one time it was also displayed on a plinth at Lime Street Station.

This is what NML says about the Lion – follow link below:-

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/collections/transport/item-269597.aspx

The Overhead Railway motorcoach displayed at the height it ran at until the 1950's when it sadly closed.

The Overhead Railway motorcoach displayed at the height it ran at until the 1950’s when it sadly closed.

This OO scale model is a superb representation of the Overhead Railway taking in the Herculaneum area of Liverpool. I came across it at a model railway exhibition.

This OO scale model is a superb representation of the Overhead Railway taking in the Herculaneum area of Liverpool. I came across it at a model railway exhibition.

The second one in this posting is the Liverpool Overhead Railway motorcoach No.3 that is displayed on a replica piece of overhead track also in the Museum of Liverpool. See photos above.

This is what NML says about the LOR motorcoach – follow link below:-

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/collections/transport/item-274241.aspx

Merseyside – Where to see its preserved Locomotives and Rolling Stock – Posting 1

A visit to the Foxfield Railway in Staffordshire recently, where I came across a preserved steam locomotive that used to work for the NCB on Merseyside, made me start to wonder where else you can see (or possibly not see) preserved examples of the now so called Liverpool City Region’s heritage and historic railway stock.

Let’s start this first of an occasional series of postings on this subject by looking at the National Coal Board 0-6-0 loco and the 502 3rd rail electrified unit that is presently being rebuilt in Burscough.

The colourful but powerful former National Coal Board (NCB) loco pictured below was seen on the Foxfield Light Railway in deepest rural Staffordshire. It has an interesting history and the name ‘Whiston’ gives away it’s Merseyside heritage. Read more about that here (when you have clicked the link below look for the name of the loco and click again):- www.foxfieldrailway.co.uk/steamlocomotives.php

Former Haydock, Cronton and Bold Collieries steam loco 'Whiston' working on the preserved Foxfiled Railway in Staffordshire.

Former Haydock, Cronton and Bold Collieries steam loco ‘Whiston’ working on the preserved Foxfiled Railway in Staffordshire.

Secondly, the excellent work of the 502 Group in a warehouse in Burscough continues although it will be a very long job to fully restore a two coach example of the electric units (known as 502’s) that used to run on the Merseyrail network until around 1980. Dating from the 1930’s this last surviving example is in a poor state indeed and I suspect it will take a few years yet before the works are completed by the volunteers. The 502 Group have open days at their Merseyside Transport Trust premises now and again so you will have to keep an eye out for the next one if you want to see how they are progressing. I took this photo during an 2015 open day:-

IMG_5156r

And this is what is should look like and indeed did look like in the 1980’s:-

502 in LMS Maroon

More to come on this subject in due course.

HMS Ringtail – Burscough

Royal naval memorial to those who served at HMS Ringtail, Burscough during WWII

This memorial is to Royal Naval Personnel who served at HMS Ringtail, Royal Naval Air Service, Burscough September 1943 to June 1946. HMS Ringtail was for radar training and as a base for squadrons disembarking or working up for shipboard operations during World War 2. Burscough, West Lancashire, UK.

www.lancashireatwar.co.uk/hms-ringtail/4586007873

I have always been vaguely aware that Burscough once had a significant airfield but it was only recently that I started to wonder about it.

This scan of a 1958 based Ordnance Survey map shows the airfield's location.

This scan of a 1958 based Ordnance Survey map shows the airfield’s location.

My first visit to the former airfield was to a Merseyside Transport Trust building on the site in 2015 to have a look at progress on rebuilding a former Merseyrail 502 EMU. Here’s a couple of links to the postings I did about that visit:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/07/13/merseyside-transport-trusts-burcough-open-day/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/07/19/friends-of-the-502-group/

My next reason to visit the former airfield was to take a look at the new Booths Supermarket which opened not so long ago and which occupies part of the site. Interestingly, it is also designed to look somewhat like an aircraft hanger.

IMG_7253

However, my attention was drawn to the memorial at the side of Booths to the servicemen and women who served at this Royal Naval Station, for it was not an RAF Station. The stone plinth with plaque sits opposite to a statue of an airman.

IMG_7251

The link under the 1st/headline above photo takes you to a ‘Lancashire at War’ web page which details the history of this fascinating Royal Navy Station. This lead photo was a very fortuitous one that I took as Burscough was having a wonderful sunset on 20th January 2016 which was reflecting in the windows of the new Supermarket. Another shot looking straight at the sunset with the Royal Naval airman statue in shot as well is below.

HMS Rigtal memorial set against sunset

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them

The 1st and 4th photos are amongst my Flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/