© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
"It's a lovely sunny day - let's go out somewhere
and take a picnic" suggested my wife.
"That's a good idea - I can think of just the
place". I'm not certain that the venue for the
picnic was quite what she had in mind, but the
view across the Mersey from Woodside to
Liverpool's striking skyline was most impressive
on this day of clear skies and sunshine.
Birkenhead was apparently the first place in Europe to operate a
dedicated passenger tramway. I didn't realise that until I began
investigating this setup, which is well documented on the web
(see below), but it does make the recent developments seem
Our picnic over, we managed a few photos of a departing service
before packing away the remains of lunch, joining the next tram
for a ride skirting the former dockland. The
tramway follows Shore Road to the still-operable
(apparently, though it didn't look as though it had
seen action recently) Egerton bascule bridge.
Here, a sharp left takes the tramway across a
main road and around the back of a pub ("The Old
Colonial") to the Merseyside Tramway Preservation
Society's depot and museum in Taylor Street,
where a number of vehicles ancient and modern
are on display. Two new cars, built in 1992, were
imported from Hong Kong for the opening of the
line; today's service was in the capable hands of
Birkenhead No. 20, built in 1900 for the
electrification of the original tramway.
The line isn't long, and after a good look around
the depot, we walked back. I was hoping to get
one or two photos along the way, but failed
miserably - we were back at Woodside before the tram.
Tram-riding over for the day, we turned to the ferry terminal.
We'd seen the ferries plying back and forth - we ought to have a
ride (not the right word, I know), if only to prove whether it's
possible without Gerry and the Pacemakers. It isn't! Apart from a
little musical accompaniment, £5.60 a head buys a trip across to
Liverpool, then out towards the sea for a little way, before
turning back to Seacombe terminal (where we nearly got off in
error!) and finally returning to Woodside - with an
informative commentary throughout. Great fun,
concluding an excellent day out, hugely better
than "we went to Birkenhead" would suggest,
when comparing notes at work the following
Merseyside Tramway Preservation