Liverpool Overhead Railway

Liverpool Overhead Railway

Liverpool Overhead Railway

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The Liverpool Overhead Railway was the world's first electrically-operated overhead railway. The railway ran close to the River Mersey in Liverpool, England, following the line of Liverpool Docks. The opening was in 1893 with closure in 1956.


The Liverpool Overhead Railway Company was formed in 1888.


As early as 1852 the railway had been suggested, although it was not until much later that the railway came into existence. Engineers Sir Douglas Fox and James Henry Greathead were commissioned to design the railway.

From the outset in 1888 electric traction was chosen due to the possibility of sparks from the burning coal of steam power igniting the cargoes in close proximity to the railway, and the railway was the world's first urban railway designed for electric traction from the outset. The works commenced in 1889 and were completed in 1893. The City and South London Railway was the first railway to operate on electric traction in 1890; however cable traction was originally planned and during construction electric traction was adopted in 1889 due to the cable contractor's liquidation.

The railway was the world's first electric elevated railway and the first to use automatic signalling and electric signal lights.

Special advanced lightweight light-rail passenger cars were designed with each having an electric driving motor. This gave the cars the distinction of being the first light rail trains. These cars made up the world's first electric......
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