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Liverpool Overhead Railway 1948

Local History

The Liverpool Overhead Railway – The Dockers’ Umbrella

Closed on 30 December 1965 after more than 60 years of passenger service, the ovee’ or Dockers’ Umbrella, was officially called “The Liverpool Overhead Railway” (LOR).

Closed on 30 December 1965 after more than 60 years of passenger service, the ovee’ or Dockers’ Umbrella, was officially called “The Liverpool Overhead Railway” (LOR).

Map depicting the route of the original Liverpool overhead railway 1890 - Internet Archive Book Images
Map depicting the route of the original Liverpool overhead railway 1890 – Internet Archive Book Images

LOR had opened in 1893 to take workers to the docks and waterfront, and it was the first electrically-operated elevated railway in the world! It was the home to a number of first’s which you can read on the Liverpool Museums website (or better yet give the museum a visit!).

Liverpool Overhead Railway guide, c1935 - mikeyashworth
Liverpool Overhead Railway guide, c1935 – mikeyashworth

It originally ran from Alexandra Dock to Herculaneum Dock, around 5 miles, but was extended as far as Dingle and to Seaforth & Litherland. During it’s operation it was clearly popular and stations opened on a regular basis, and of course, the line was extended.

However, during the Second World War the line saw a great amount of damage and this saw stations close and repair bills become huge. Also, popularity decreased as services were often said to be unreliable.

Liverpool Overhead Railway 1959 - 70023venus2009
Liverpool Overhead Railway 1959 – 70023venus2009

At its peak almost 20 million people used the railway every year.

In 1955 a structural report showed many viaducts needed repairs that the company simply couldn’t afford. The railway closed at the end of 1956, despite then ongoing public protests. The LOR began to be dismantled a year later.

Cover image – Workers on the Liverpool overhead railway 1948 –bahcodeclub

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Andy is the Editor of iNostalgia and is a regular contributor the exploring history & nostalgia category, with a love for community nostalgia.

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