Although “Elevated” railways were common both in Europe and the USA, the cost of acquiring property,and negotiating rights of way were prohibitive in Britain for other than main line railways. The Liverpool Overhead was able to exploit the air space above the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board private railway lines linking the docks with each other, and with the main line railways. Running for just over six miles on a viaduct constructed from metal girders, the line opened in1893, and was the first in Britain to have automatic “daylght” electric light signals. As it provided a convenient covered way linking the various dock entrances, it was known locally as “The Dockers Umbrella”. It opened in 1893, and escaped being nationalized in 1948. After six decades of heavy use, the metal viaducts needed heavy repairs which the company could not afford. Improved bus services took away a lot of traffic, and “The Dockers Umbrella” closed in 1956.
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