News Blog

Progress pictures – November 2018

Posted by Robert Hampton on 20th November 2018 at 8:52 pm

Some brief progress pictures to share with you, these pictures were taken at Burscough on Sunday as we were preparing for our AGM.

The pictures show the new cab of 29896 taking shape rapidly, the badly corroded metal having been stripped out and new panels welded in place. Compare to the photo of 29896 at Tebay back in 2010 and I’m sure you’ll agree there is a huge difference.

Photo of cab of class 502 vehicle 29896, with scaffold in front

We have also started installing new flooring in the passenger saloon of 29896, the seats and other fixtures have been stripped out, and the new metal floor panels has been fixed in place and given a coat of paint to guard against corrosion.

Photo of interior of vehicle 29896, stripped out but with freshly installed metal flooring

If you are interested in helping out with the unit’s restoration, please do get in touch.

502 in Railway Magazine

Posted by Robert Hampton on 5th October 2018 at 7:20 pm

If you have picked up the October 2018 issue of The Railway Magazine, you may have spotted that our humble Class 502 is featured in a special four-page report, written by one of our members, Martyn Hilbert.

Low-res picture of the Railway Magazine article headlined "Back from the Brink"

A small taster of the article can be found online at, but for the full story, with lots of great pictures, buy a copy of the magazine from your local friendly newsagent, or get the digital edition.

As the article introduction states, preservation of electric multiple units is often overlooked. We’re glad that The Railway Magazine has redressed the balance a little.

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Progress pictures

Posted by Robert Hampton on 28th June 2018 at 8:07 pm

Recently posted to our Facebook page, the image below shows the amazing progress on the cab exterior which has been completely rebuilt.

You will have your chance to see the completed work up close at the MTT Open Day on 8th July! Hope to see you there.

Welding in progress on the 502 cab

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MTT Open Day 2018

Posted by Robert Hampton on 28th May 2018 at 10:49 pm

A date for your diary: the Merseyside Transport Trust open day will be held this year on 8th July from 10.30am until 4.30pm.

As well as the usual array of vintage road vehicles, the Friends of the 502 Group will of course be there. The 502 vehicles will be open and available for people to inspect our work over the past year.

Many vintage buses will be running, including a service from Ormskirk bus station and Burscough Bridge railway station for those arriving by public transport.

More information will be published closer to the time here and on the MTT website –

70th Anniversary of British Railways

Posted by Robert Hampton on 12th January 2018 at 9:45 pm

A (slightly belated) happy new year to all our members and supporters!

The first event of the 2018 calendar is the 70th Anniversary of British Railways event taking place on 13th January at Crewe Heritage Centre. This event has been organised by the Woodhead Railway Heritage Group to commemorate the anniversary of the railways’ nationalisation on 1st January 1948.

The Friends of the 502 Group will be one of many organisations represented at the event, and of course all the Heritage Centre’s regular attractions will be on view as well.

The Heritage Centre is located on Vernon Way, Crewe, CW1 2DB. It is just a short walk from Crewe railway station. It is open from 10am to 4pm and admission is just £3 for adults and £1 for children.


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Friends of the 502 Group AGM

Posted by Robert Hampton on 1st November 2017 at 8:53 pm

The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the 502 Group will take place on 18th November at 4pm, at the MTT building in Tollgate Road, Burscough.

The AGM is open to members only, so if you wish to attend and are not currently a member, please see our Membership page for details of how to sign up.

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Electric Railway Museum open day

Posted by Robert Hampton on 10th October 2017 at 8:26 pm

Many of our readers will be aware of our sister unit, the Wirral Class 503 EMU, part of the SERA fleet, which has been housed at the Electric Railway Museum (formerly Coventry Railway Centre) for many years.

Unfortunately, as we reported back in July, the museum site is to be closed and cleared. The collection will be scattered to various sites across the country.

The final open day at the site was held on 8th October, which was the last opportunity to see the museum’s collection of electric trains in one place. The event was well-attended, with over 1,000 people reportedly attending.

Class 503 driving car 28690


Appeal for tools

Posted by Robert Hampton on 9th September 2017 at 1:51 pm

We have reached the point of needing to acquire some new hand tools and tooling – particularly “Whitworth” spanners and sockets.

Our Unit was designed and built in late 1930s using the established British Workshop equipment, well before the influx of American tooling during Second World War and subsequent movements into Metrication.

Does anyone have (or know of) any old tool boxes and their contents that might include Whitworth open spanners, ring spanners, sockets or socket sets that might be donated to us please?

Everything that holds doors in place, pipework attached to frames, substructure of seat bases etc is Whitworth threaded. We will arrange to collect if that would help.

Please contact our chairman at if you can help. Thanks.

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Save the Class 503

Posted by Robert Hampton on 13th July 2017 at 7:07 pm

We were saddened to hear about the forthcoming closure of the Electric Railway Museum in Coventry. The museum announced in a Facebook post that they will close to the public after their final open day on 8th October.

The museum has a variety of rolling stock, but of most interest to readers of this web site will undoubtedly be the 502’s sister unit, the Wirral Class 503, which operated over the LMS/Mersey Railway electric network (now the Merseyrail Wirral Line) from 1938 until 1985.

The last surviving 3-car set is now part of the collection of the Suburban Electric Railway Association. SERA also owns Liverpool Overhead Railway trailer car, no.7, one of only two LOR vehicles in existence and the only surviving example of a vehicle renovated under the railway’s modernisation scheme.

With the closure of the museum, the future for SERA’s fleet is once again uncertain. SERA is exploring alternative sites, but to meet the costs of moving all their vehicles, they will require funding.

A JustGiving page has been set up at to try to raise £10,000 towards the costs of moving all the vehicles to new homes.

This train survived Hitler's bombs, Beeching's axe, and the destruction of all 42 of its classmates. Will you help save it one more time?

Over the years, SERA and its members have been very supportive of the Friends of the 502 Group. To return the favour, please help them out by donating if you can, and spreading the word on Facebook or Twitter.

Meanwhile, why not take the opportunity to visit the museum in Coventry, while you still can? The museum will hold its open days as planned on 13th August, 8th/9th September and 8th October. For more information see the ERM web site at

More information is also available on the Facebook pages for the Class 503 Unit and the Electric Railway Museum.

MTT Open Day 2017

Posted by Robert Hampton on 22nd June 2017 at 7:29 pm

UPDATED on 7 July with public transport information – see end of post.

MTT Open Day 2017 - Sunday 9th July, 10.30-16.30

It’s almost that time again! On Sunday 9th July 2017 the Merseyside Transport Trust will be throwing open their doors to the public. Come and see us – the event is open from 10:30am to 4.30pm on 9th July, and admission is free.

As always, the 502 will be open for you to inspect the progress we have made over the past year, and members of the Friends of the 502 Group will be on hand to answer all your questions (and accept your donations).

The usual collection of heritage vehicles will be on display, with visiting vehicles from all over the country. There will also be sales stands where you can pick up a bargain.

Bus links will operate from Ormskirk and Burscough Bridge stations to connect with rail services. If coming by car, the MTT is located just off Tollgate Road, Burscough, L40 8TG.

For more info see

UPDATE: Bus times for the free bus link, operated by the Merseyside Transport Trust.

From Ormskirk Bus Station:
1020, 1050, 1120, 1150, 1220, 1250, 1320, 1350, 1420, 1450, 1520, 1550, 1620.

From Burscough Bridge Station (opposite Tesco):
1033, 1133, 1213, 1313, 1413, 1513, 1613.

Please note that due to industrial action on Northern Rail, there will be no trains to Burscough Bridge on Sunday. An alternative, for people travelling from Wigan or Southport directions is Arriva bus service 375 which calls at Ormskirk bus station.

Merseyrail is not affected by strike action on Sunday and trains from Liverpool to Ormskirk will run as normal.

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