Liverpool Overhead Railway motor coach number 3, 1892

Please note that visitors will not be able to go inside the Overhead Railway coach from Tuesday 9 to Friday 12 December as it it will be closed for essential maintenance.  The rest of the gallery is open as usual on these dates.

railway carriage in elevated museum display

Trains on the Liverpool Overhead Railway consisted of three coaches, with a motor coach at each end and a trailer coach between them. This is one of the original motor coaches which has electric motors mounted beneath the floor, a driving cab at one end and third class accommodation with wooden seats. The unpowered central coach was fitted with leather-covered seats for first class passengers.

This coach is one of a batch built between 1892-1899. It served on the Overhead Railway until it closed in 1956 and was preserved by British Railways - the only example of a motor coach to survive. It was later presented to National Museums Liverpool by the British Railways Board.

The Overhead Railway was built to ease congestion along the docks but it was also marketed as a tourist attraction as it provided amazing views of the docks, shipping and transatlantic liners on the River Mersey. It was fondly known as the 'dockers' umbrella' as it also provided shelter from the rain. The coach is being displayed at the height it would have travelled at, so visitors in The Great Port gallery below can walk beneath it, as the dockers once did.

Historic journey

The coach was transported to its new location in July 2010, retracing part of the original route that it would have taken. See photos of its historic journey home on Flickr |.

Land transport top ten

This coach is one of the top ten vehicles in the museum's land transport collection. See the Land transport top ten |feature on this website for details of more.

Accession number 1961.127

visitors inside the overhead railway carriage

© Mark McNulty