News Blog

Rainhill Christmas Show 2023

Posted by Robert Hampton on 23rd November 2023 at 7:22 pm

Some people may think its too early to mention the dreaded C-word, but — like it or not — Christmas is just around the corner.

The perfect curtain-raiser for the festive season is the Rainhill Christmas Model Railway Show. Organised every year by Rainhill Model Railway Club, this year’s show takes place this Saturday, 25th November, from 10am to 4pm.

There will be layouts, traders and society stands. We will be there in our new guise as the Class 502 Preservation Trust, and it’s an ideal opportunity to pick up a copy of our calendar or book, to put under the tree for that rail enthusiast in your family.

The venue is Rainhill Village Hall, just off Warrington Road, Rainhill. The hall is just a short walk from Rainhill station, and there is a free vintage shuttle bus to the North West Museum of Road Transport in St Helens.

For more information see the Rainhill MRC home page.

Rainhill Model Railway Club Presents A Christmas Model Railway Show. Rainhill Village Hall, Weaver Avenue (Behind shopping precinct, off Warrington Road, Rainhill). Saturday 25th November 2023, 10am - 5pm. Admission: Adults £4.00, Children £5.00 -includes a visit & gift from Santa. Layouts, Traders, Refreshments & Santa Claus. Free Vintage Bus Between the Show and the North West Museum of Road Transport in St Helens.

The 5:08 Sunset

Posted by Robert Hampton on 28th October 2023 at 5:13 pm

We will be aboard tomorrow’s Class 508 farewell tour, The 5:08 Sunset, organised by the Branch Line Society in conjunction with Merseyrail.

The tour is completely sold out, but timings are available on the Branch Line Society website for those of you who wish to follow the tour around the network tomorrow. For those of you lucky enough to get tickets, we will have a selection of items for sale to benefit the 502 group.

Members of the 502 Group in front of a Merseyrail train

Wirral Transport Show

Posted by Robert Hampton on 29th September 2023 at 8:50 pm

Our trade stand will be out again, at this Sunday’s Wirral Transport Show. It’s the perfect opportunity to chat to our 502 group representatives and pick up your 2024 Class 502 Calendar, or your copy of Merseyrail: 50 Years of Progress, if you haven’t already bought one from our shop.

Photos of stands at the 2022 Wirral Bus & Tram Show

With the Birkenhead tramway and museum still closed, this year’s event has a slightly different format and will be centred on the Pacific Road venue. However, there will be still be lots to see, including visiting buses and trade stands.

The show will be open on Sunday 1st October from 10am. Pacific Road is easily reached from Hamilton Square Merseyrail station or Woodside ferry terminal. More info available on the MTPS events page.

Make a date with the 502

Posted by Robert Hampton on 22nd August 2023 at 8:44 pm

Brand new in our online shop is our 2024 calendar. With 12 pictures of the class throughout their illustrious career, it is the perfect thing to hang on the wall of any rail enthusiast.

Photo of the July 2024 page of the calendar, showing a 502 arriving at a station

Buy it now in our online shop for just £11. If you are a member of the 502 group, quote your member number and get £2 off!

And, if you still haven’t bought our 2021 release Merseyrail: 50 Years of Progress, now is the perfect time. Buy the book and calendar together and save £2.50 compared to the cost of purchasing them separately.

Prices quoted on the shop page include UK postage. If you are outside the UK, please contact us first to discuss postage costs.

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MTT open day 2023

Posted by Robert Hampton on 29th July 2023 at 12:00 pm

Reminder that tomorrow is the Merseyside Transport Trust’s annual open day at Burscough. Running from 10.30-16.30, the event promises the opportunity to view the MTT’s collection of vintage buses, as well as visiting vehicles from other preservation groups.

Of course, the Friends of the 502 Group will be there too, ready to welcome you aboard to inspect the restoration progress made over the past year. Our sales stand will also be available with the usual variety of souvenirs and second-hand items. Who knows, we may have something NEW on sale for the first time.

Merseyside Transport Trust poster for 2023 Open Day, Sunday 30th July 2023, 10:30 - 16:00

See all our latest restoration work
Free bus rides around the countryside
Static vehicle display with visiting vehicles
Sales stands and refreshments available
See the latest progress on the Class 502 EMU
Easy links with public transport at Ormskirk and Burscough

See for more details
MTT base is located off Tollgate Road, Burscough L40 8TG

The MTT base is located off Tollgate Road, Burscough, L40 8TG. If you are travelling by public transport, there will be bus connections operated by the MTT’s heritage buses, from Ormskirk bus station and Burscough Bridge railway station. First buses are at 1040 and then every 30 minutes after that.

Note that there is engineering work on the Merseyrail Ormskirk line which means the first train from Liverpool to Ormskirk is at 1047, arriving 1122, with rail replacement buses prior to that. To assist visitors who want to reach the event early, the MTT is running a special bus to the event, departing at 0945 from William Brown Street in Liverpool City Centre (outside the World Museum).

For more info please see

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Model Rail says “Present Your Case” for the 502

Posted by Robert Hampton on 21st April 2023 at 7:35 pm

Model Rail magazine runs a regular feature called Present Your Case, where they identify an item of rolling stock that has not yet appeared in model form, inviting comments on whether there is a compelling case for manufacturing it.

Their latest subject is very close to home, as they have chosen to feature the 502!

Visit Model Rail magazine on Twitter or Facebook to have your say.

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Train trucking

Posted by Robert Hampton on 15th March 2023 at 9:35 pm

We’re flashing back to March 2012, when the 502 was moved from its temporary home at Tebay to undercover storage at the MTT in Burscough, where it remains to this day.

This video, by one of our members, Paul Gorton, shows the process of moving the two coaches onto low loaders for the journey.

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Rainhill Model Railway Exhibition

Posted by Robert Hampton on 12th February 2023 at 8:06 pm

We will be dusting off our trade stand for 2023 and bringing it to Rainhill Model Railway Club’s exhibition on 4th and 5th March. Details in the attached image, or see

Hope to see some of you there; we will be available to chat and answer any questions about the 502.

Rainhill MRC presents Model Rail 2023. Rainhill Village Hall, Weaver Avenue (Behind shopping precinct, off Warrington Road, Rainhill L35 4LU). Saturday 4th March 10am-5pm. Sunday 5th March 10am-4.30pm
Admission: Adults £6.00, Child £4.00, Families (2+2) £16.00. Layouts and various traders. Free Vintage Bus between the show and the North West Museum of Road Transport in St Helens on Sunday only.

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A train through time

Posted by Robert Hampton on 4th February 2023 at 11:30 am

We are featured in the March 2023 issue of Railways Illustrated with a six page article on the 502. The article was compiled by Martyn Hilbert with assistance from ourselves, and features many stunning photos as well as a history of the unit from the 1940s to the present day.

Picture of Railways Illustrated magazine open to the article about the Class 502. Main picture shows an illustration of the unit in green livery with yellow warning panels, drawn by Jonathan Clay.

Many thanks to Martyn for putting the article together, and to Railways Illustrated for publishing it. Railways Illustrated is available at all good newsagents, or digitally via

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502 New Year

Posted by Robert Hampton on 31st January 2023 at 8:29 pm

A belated Happy New Year to all our friends and supporters! 2023 promises to be another exciting year for the unit as restoration work continues apace.

This video produced by the Group’s secretary, Paul Gorton, shows the progress made during 2022. It also includes some shots of the brand new Merseyrail class 777 trains, which promise to be as revolutionary as the 502s were back in 1940.

Separately, we are working on improvements to the website, including updated content, secure HTTPS connection and a mobile-friendly design for all of you viewing on phones and tablets. We hope to go live with the new look website in the Spring. In the meantime, we would love to hear your suggestions as to what you would like to see on the website. Please post them in the comments box below.

Finally, we have joined the social network Mastodon. If you have a Mastodon account, you can find us at Our Twitter and Facebook pages also continue.

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