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.
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…
Anyway – some pictures - exterior first: