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#522902 - 24th May 2011 12:41pm In Some Corner of a Foreign Field...the Class 503.
billy_anorak59 Offline

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Registered: 4th Feb 2009
Posts: 210
Loc: Cambridgeshire
With apologies to Rupert Brooke (1887 – 1915):

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever Wirral….


Well, not foreign - Coventry actually…
The other day I went to the Electric Railway Museum at Coventry, to specifically see the last remaining Class 503 Wirral Electric Multiple Unit, and I thought that it might be interesting for the Wiki peeps to see what it’s like nowadays. The museum is short of funds and manpower, but they live in hope that this small site will be the start of something bigger. Shame the Wirral Transport Museum didn’t take it and put it under cover where it could be conserved out of reach of vandals and the weather: Just another old train to most I guess. 50 years service to the people of Wirral? So what? Scrap it. thumbsdown

I suppose that preserved electric railway traction will always be overshadowed by the pull of steam (and even diesel nowadays), but like the loss of the Overhead, someday what the people at this museum are trying to preserve will become very significant in the story of British railways. I hope they succeed against the odds.
Therefore, a shameless plug for them - If anyone is interested further see: Electric Railway Museum

The 503 is considered to be very restorable, and has just been reformed into it’s correct formation for the first time in about 20 years, so it’s good to see everything back where it should be. For something built 73 years ago and a lot of time spent in open storage, it’s not too bad. They are just starting to push for it’s cosmetic restoration now.

The interior took me back 30 years plus – and but for the lack of noise from the compressors, motors and track, and none of the rocking from side to side these trains used to exhibit, I could have been staring out of the window as the train descended the gradient between Rock Ferry and Green Lane all those years ago. Nostalgia at its best! (I could have started rocking, but I might have been carted off in a coat with buckles… help )

Anyway – some pictures - exterior first:


Attachments: Viewing Permissions May Apply. Click Me
503Exterior1.JPG

Description: Exterior 1

503Exterior2.JPG

Description: Exterior 2

503Exterior3.JPG

Description: Exterior 3

503Exterior4.JPG

Description: Exterior 4


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#522903 - 24th May 2011 12:44pm Re: In Some Corner of a Foreign Field...the Class 503. [Re: billy_anorak59]
billy_anorak59 Offline

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Registered: 4th Feb 2009
Posts: 210
Loc: Cambridgeshire
...And the interior pictures....


Attachments: Viewing Permissions May Apply. Click Me
503Interior1.JPG

Description: Interior 1

503Interior2.JPG

Description: Interior 2

503Interior3.JPG

Description: Interior 3

Overhead.JPG

Description: Interestingly, coupled to the back was this ex-neighbour, last remaining 'Modern Car' from the Liverpool Overhead (very fragile).


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#522955 - 24th May 2011 3:27pm Re: In Some Corner of a Foreign Field...the Class 503. [Re: billy_anorak59]
CVCVCV Offline
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Registered: 4th May 2010
Posts: 1452
Loc: ex Wallasey now Atlanta GA USA
I am sure I very likely must have sat in those very seats - what a weird sense of connection I just got, seeing those pictures... (although the red livery is very odd to see...!) As you say it is very sad, "Just another old train to most I guess. 50 years service to the people of Wirral? So what? Scrap it..." Well, I for one, am glad to see that this one at least, has a chance of being saved and preserved. Way too much of my past, growing up in Wallasey, has already been destroyed or ruined.

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#522958 - 24th May 2011 3:48pm Re: In Some Corner of a Foreign Field...the Class 503. [Re: CVCVCV]
billy_anorak59 Offline

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Registered: 4th Feb 2009
Posts: 210
Loc: Cambridgeshire
Quite true CV - actually sitting in the seats strikes you even harder (and weirder). Somehow, I looked out of the window with the sun streaming in and I wasn't looking at Coventry - it was Rock Ferry or Hamilton Square in say 1977....

Incidentally, I've got some sound recordings of 503s in my posession - I've spoken to Mark, and we hope to get them up on Wiki soon. The sound dimension really adds to and brings the past to life. Watch, sorry, hear this space...

Cheers,
Billy.
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#522960 - 24th May 2011 3:51pm Re: In Some Corner of a Foreign Field...the Class 503. [Re: billy_anorak59]
Pinzgauer
Unregistered


When the driving trailer car was at Pacific Road, I was one of the small (very small) team of folk who made a start on the restoration work. It was indeed a shame that WBC "didn't want to know" about saving a bit of local History.

An even sadder thing was the total indifference shown to the restoration work by local people. One chap came from New Brighton (a BR Signalman) and THAT was the total local input. I travelled down by train from Scotland for the work parties. A couple of guys came up from Kent and someone from the outskirts of London. Great eh ??

There's a Class 502 (L'pool/Southport) 2 car train rusting away alongside the M6 at Tebay that needs some tlc too !

Our local History and heritage is disolving away folks !

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#522962 - 24th May 2011 4:01pm Re: In Some Corner of a Foreign Field...the Class 503. [Re: billy_anorak59]
Pinzgauer
Unregistered


Well done Billy ! I thought I was the only oddball that made sound recordings of the 503's. Just before they were replaced I used to blag my way into the cab with a cassette recorder. Very much against the rules but most drivers were happy for you to do a few trips with them. They were glad of a chat. If there was known that there were any "bosses" around, you dived back into the saloon via the emergency door, much to the puzzlement of some passengers.

If Mark can put some up, I'll throw in some of my stuff as well. (Got dozens of tapes).

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#533399 - 15th Jun 2011 1:31pm Re: In Some Corner of a Foreign Field...the Class 503. [Re: ]
billy_anorak59 Offline

Addict

Registered: 4th Feb 2009
Posts: 210
Loc: Cambridgeshire
OK - let's hope this works...

I thought it would be good for peeps to be able to actually hear what these old electric trains sounded like - I reckon it adds a whole new dimension to the past - for those that actually experienced them, and those too young to remember. We probably aren't going to hear the like in operation again, so settle back and enjoy a trip from Rock Ferry to Central or if you wish from Birkenhead Park to North

Gasp at the squeeks and rattles! Marvel at the squealing of the brakes! Soak up the atmosphere!! Turn the sound up and rock slightly from side to side!! help

Each clip is just over 4 minutes I think.

The recordings were made in 1984 by a chap called Andrew Phillips who had the foresight to do such a thing. I've tried to contact him for permission, but both his website and email address are now defunct, so was unable to. If he is reading this please get in touch if you're happy (or not!) to leave these available.

Thanks too, are due to Mark for making the files available on Wiki for me to link to.
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#552885 - 28th Jul 2011 9:32am Re: In Some Corner of a Foreign Field...the Class 503. [Re: billy_anorak59]
Erainn Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 28th Jan 2011
Posts: 555
Loc: London
Hi smile Thanks to all for the images and audio, amazing to be transported back to distant days.

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