News Blog

Skipton Grassroots Giving – We need your support!

Posted by Robert Hampton on 6th September 2015 at 9:50 pm

The Friends of the 502 Group have been shortlisted for the Skipton Building Society Grassroots Giving programme.

Skipton Grassroots Giving

Skipton Building Society have a total fund of £81,000 to share between local groups and societies. If we win a share it will go a long way towards the train’s restoration.

Please support us by visiting and using the “Vote Now” button at the bottom of the page.

Please share this post with as many people as possible who you think would like to support us. Thank you!

Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day 2015

Posted by Robert Hampton on 10th July 2015 at 8:33 pm

12th July is the Merseyside Transport Trust open day, your annual opportunity to see the Trust’s collection of buses, as well as to look around the Class 502 unit.

The Friends of the 502 Group are keen to show off our handiwork. Much progress has been made in the past year on replacing decaying bodywork and we’re sure you’ll be pleased with how we are doing. Volunteers will be on hand to show you around — and accept any donations you may wish to make!

If you’re coming by car, there is car parking on site. The address is Tollgate Road, Burscough, Lancashire, L40 8TG.

For public transport users, regular bus services will be provided from Ormskirk and Burscough Bridge stations, connecting with rail services. These services will be operated by the MTT’s fleet of heritage vehicles.

For more information please see the Merseyside Transport Trust web site.

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MTT Open Day 2015

Posted by Robert Hampton on 11th June 2015 at 7:47 pm

MTT Open Day 2015 Poster

There’s just over a month to go until the Merseyside Transport Trust‘s annual open day at Burscough on Sunday 12th July 2015. This is a chance to see the MTT’s extensive collection of vehicles up close, and ride on some of their vintage buses. Other preservation groups will be bringing buses and trade stands to the event.

Of course, the Friends of the 502 Group will also be there and you will be able to look around the 502 and see the progress we have made over the past year. Our trade stand will be selling 502 merchandise and you will be able to chat to members and ask any questions.

The open day is held at the MTT’s building just off Tollgate Road, Burscough, L40 8TG. If you’re travelling by public transport, there will be free bus services running from Ormskirk and Burscough Bridge stations to connect with rail services.

For more information please see the Merseyside Transport Trust web site.

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“The Lettuce Line” – Report from the Night

Posted by Robert Hampton on 1st May 2015 at 6:10 pm

Wednesday’s specially prepared talk about the West Lancashire Railway enthralled an audience of 40 plus drawn from over a wide area. It is 50th years last September since the direct Southport to Preston railway line was closed. Keith vivid personal memories, photographs and records were woven together to produce an story that told as though the 50 years were only 12months. Starting with the 1880’s backgrounds Keith lead us through the formation, initial operational features, financial failure then rescue in 1890’s and survival through to early 1960’s. The images we were presented with on screen gave a vivid illustration of route, stations, traffic flows and relative lack of population (at least by today’s standards). The importance of moving the locally grown agricultural produce to the larger conurbations gave the route it’s most appropriate nickname.

Many of Keith’s images had not been seen hitherto in public. These were not limited to periods up to 1964/5 and encompassed through to 2014 views of surviving features.

We were treated not just to entertainment but to education, nostalgia and history all interlinked into where we are at now with the developing Railway scene in North West of England which unfortunately lacks the one vital link which died in 1964.

But there is still life around. On the final day of electric services from Southport to Crossens the unit owned by Friends of 502 Group was in service. This unit is being restored in Burscough and will be available for viewing on Sunday 12th July at Merseyside Transport Trust’s Open Day at Osprey Place Burscough, L40 8TG.

Those present generously supported 502 Group’s funds towards replacing the steel floor of Trailer Coach. This will be accessible in part on 12th July. The raffle was won by Joe Kennedy from Liverpool.

Tony Kuivala, Joe Kennedy, Keith Hick
Left to right -Tony Kuivala, Joe Kennedy, Keith Hick. Images from Dave Kuivala.

Issued by Tony Kuivala on behalf of Friends of the 502 Group.

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Latest report from Burscough

Posted by Robert Hampton on 12th April 2015 at 10:04 pm

Here is a quick update on some of the latest work that has been taking place at Burscough.


When we took the flooring up in the trailer car this exposed the rear bogie and it was clear that they would need all the mud and rust scraping off. This was a particularly dirty job carried out over the winter period but once it had been cleaned the metal was in very good condition. It has now been painted in red oxide followed by a coat of black bitumen paint and the condition now looks as good as new.

The roof

At the same time that the rear bogie was being attended to, work started on the roof. All the old paint has now been painstakingly removed up to the double doors at the front of the train and red oxide has been applied. The roof is in good condition but work is required on most of the guttering. All the air vents have been removed and are now being fabricated separately.

We are always looking for volunteers to come down on Saturdays. There are plenty of things to do. You may well get dirty but it is very rewarding. Contact Martin Webb at

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The Lettuce Line – Talk by Keith Hick

Posted by Robert Hampton on 2nd April 2015 at 8:01 pm

Following on from the success of last September’s 50th Anniversary of Closure Tour of Southport to Preston railway route, Keith Hick will be presenting an illustrated talk with his unique personal images and knowledge at Southport Football Club’s Grandstand Bar, Haig Avenue, Southport PR8 6JZ commencing at 7.30pm on 29th April 2015. Keith Hick is a well known Southport local historian, author and railway enthusiast.

The evening is for the benefit of The Friends of 502 Group who are restoring the sole surving 502 Unit in Burscough. These electric multiple units were built in Derby in late 1930’s for Liverpool-Southport-Crossens and Liverpool-Ormskirk services. They were superseded by the present 507 and 508 units in the late 1970s.

Our unit ran on the Southport-Crossens service on the final day of electric services, Saturday 6th September 1964. Upon withdrawal from service in 1982 the unit became part of the National Collection in ownership of National Railway Museum who donated it to the 502 Group for restoration in 2011. In March 2012 we moved into Merseyside Transport Trust‘s large undercover facility in Osprey Place on Burcough Industrial Estate.

There is no charge for admittance but there will be ample opportunity for donations to the 502 Group’s Steel Appeal. We are about to order the new steel floor for the trailer coach. The first new sections should be delivered and in place for our open day on 12th July.

For more information contact Tony Kuivala,

EGM – 26th March 2015

Posted by Robert Hampton on 20th March 2015 at 6:41 pm

The Committee of the Friends of the 502 Group would like to announce that an EGM will be held in Southport on Thursday 26th March.

Current members have been sent full details, while prospective members are invited to send in a membership form and come along!

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Rainhill Model Railway Show 2015

Posted by Robert Hampton on 4th March 2015 at 8:30 pm

As you know, our stall visits railway and transport shows around the north west, offering people the chance to talk to group members about the latest progress and to buy merchandise. Our first outing of 2015 will be this weekend at the Rainhill Model Railway Show, at Rainhill Village Hall.

For more information and directions to the hall, please visit the Rainhill MRC web site.

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Merry Christmas!

Posted by Robert Hampton on 24th December 2014 at 3:50 pm

Seasons greetings to all our members and supporters. We wish you all a very happy 2015.

Merry Christmas from Friends of the 502 Group

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Rainhill MRC show, 29 November 2014

Posted by Robert Hampton on 27th November 2014 at 7:38 pm

Our final outing this year will be at Rainhill Model Railway Club‘s Christmas Exhibition, to be held this Saturday at Rainhill Village Hall on Weaver Avenue. The show is open from 10am until 5pm.

At our stand we will have our usual range of merchandise on sale and you will have the opportunity to chat to members of the group about the progress we are making.

The venue is close to Rainhill station and, in addition, a vintage bus service will run to and from the North West Museum of Road Transport in St Helens. For further details please see Rainhill MRC’s web site.

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