Liverpudlians are natural raconteurs. Critics say they often speak before they think but I like to think we can speak and think simultaneously. My mother used to regale us with fascinating stories of the ‘Cast Iron Shore’ and the iconic Liverpool Overhead Railway.
In the 1930’s she used to stand underneath the ‘Dockers Umbrella’ as it was affectionately known, every night at the Pier Head, for her Marine Engineer father. For those people, that have braced themselves, against the teeth shattering gales, that skate off the River Mersey, they will testify that this is no mean feat.
The Liverpool Overhead Railway, a marvel of ingenuity, engineering and commercial fortitude was built in 1893, transporting passengers and dock workers for over fifty years, until 1956, when the £2,000,000 repair bill was deemed too expensive.
There was uproar in Liverpool when it was demolished. Like many of Liverpool’s iconic structures, it was consigned to history, yet another symptom of poor management, rife in local government throughout the 20th Century. Great men built Liverpool. Many small men have tried to bring it to it’s knees. The fact is, they will never succeed. Liverpool and Liverpudlians possess an indomitable spirit and a zest for life.
In the integrated, environmentally conscious transport system, the world is seeking, the electric Liverpool Overhead Railway would have been perfect, especially as modern Liverpool is a Mecca for tourists and the Docks are about to undergo the biggest regeneration since the 19th century.
The last remnant of the railway, a fully restored carriage is on display in the new Museum of Liverpool Life and is a reminder of Liverpudlian genius.
Incredibly, a very talented graphic designer has created a computer generated rendition of this iconic railway. It can be seen at www.liverpooloverheadrailway.com.
If you have time, take a look – The Liverpool Overhead Railway is Dead, Long Live The Liverpool Overhead Railway!
If you had the privilege of using the railway, I would love to hear from you. My name is Steve Howard. You have been reading the Digital Circus.