Robert Hampton

Merseyrail Electric Railtour

Nine and a half hours on a 508 — what could be better? That was my thinking when the Branch Line Society announced that they were running a tour of the Merseyrail network on 24th June 2007. As well as covering all the main routes (with the exception of the Liverpool Central-Hunts Cross line which was under an engineering possession), it traversed various sidings and loops not normally used by passenger trains, including the Stock Interchange Line between James Street and Paradise Junction.

The pictures below show the tour at several locations en route, as well as some of the other workings that day. Click on the images below to view at a larger size.

(95K JPEG) Engineering vehicles on the line at Aigburth. The line from Liverpool Central to Hunts Cross was under a possession all day and therefore omitted by the tour.
(89K JPEG) 508122 stands at Rock Ferry platform 3 ready to set off. Note the BLS headboard.
(70K JPEG) 508139 was at the other end of the train, complete with “artistic” extra touch.
(44K JPEG) Reversing in platform 2 at James Street, the doors were released and we were allowed off to take pictures. The second picture (below) shows a view from the top of the exit staircase on James Street platform 2.
(46K JPEG) After a fast run to West Kirby (until we caught up with the service train at Manor Road) and a trip to Bidston siding, we were held up due to a points failure at Birkenhead North. As a result, the train reversed in the station rather than making the booked move via the crossover at the Park end.
(68K JPEG) We ran via the Stock Interchange Line to Liverpool Central Northern Line, where the second disappointment came: we were informed that the reversing siding was in fact part of the Hunts Cross line possession, and we would not be able to carry out the booked shunt move.
(94K JPEG) On a positive note, missing out this move meant we were able to make up the time lost at Birkenhead North, and arrived more or less on time at Southport. This is 508139 in platform 3 (after a move into the carriage sidings and back).
(80K JPEG) 508114 was stabled in the wall siding at Southport.
(84K JPEG) 507033 arrived with the service train from Liverpool Central. Quite a few photographers around to capture a shot of this!
(103K JPEG) Who stole our rollercoaster?
(80K JPEG) From Southport we ran via a reversal in the siding at Sandhills to Ormskirk (just in front of a service train, so another nice fast run). Picture shows 508122 and some of the charter passengers.
(85K JPEG) A second reversal at Sandhills, and to Kirkby, via the run-round line at Kirkdale EMU depot, enabling a close up view of the stabled units (508125 and 508120 here).
(68K JPEG) The carriage washer at Kirkdale, with more stabled units behind.
(70K JPEG) A second trip through the Stock Interchange Line took us to the slightly depressing station at Ellesmere Port.
(92K JPEG) And then back to Hooton, where we reversed in platform 1.
(84K JPEG) Another view of 508122 at Hooton.
(98K JPEG) While we were waiting, 507004 arrived with a Chester service.
(99K JPEG) And in the opposite direction, 507013 working from Ellesmere Port to Liverpool.
(61K JPEG) At Chester, the train ran right to the far end of platform 7. Normally, electric trains do not venture this far down.
(44K JPEG) We left Chester a couple of minutes late, but were able to run non-stop all the way to Rock Ferry, where the train stopped to set down, before a final trip round the Loop to Liverpool Central.

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