"150 years of tracked pier-based trundling, give or take a year"
1860 - 3,600 foot long pier built, opened on 2nd August.
1863 - 3'6" (1067mm) gauge tracks built along centre of pier to allow porters to push baggage trucks to ships at the pierhead.
1865 - Baggage trucks replaced by cable traction tramway, powered by a stationary steam engine, carrying passengers and baggage.
1865 - Mrs Frances Bateman thrown from tramcar and killed; pier owners sued for £650.
1905 - Tramway converted to electric power.
1936 - Pier taken over by Southport Corporation.
1939 - Tramway closed because of the war.
1950 - 1'11" (597mm) gauge track installed down the left side of the pier, with a passenger service using two diesel-electric Silver Belle trains.
1973 - Silver Belle trains retired, replaced by English Rose.
1998 - Pier closed for safety.
2002 - 3'6" (1067mm) gauge installed track along the centre of the now widened pier as part of first stage of restoration.
2005 - New articulated twin car tram starts operating.
Postwar Rolling Stock
Above left: Silver Belle with power car facing the pierhead. Postcard 18745 (The Pier, Southport), unnamed publisher.
Above right: Silver Belle with rear power car near the land-side station. Postcard PT19355 (The Pier, Southport), unknown publisher, posted 29 May 1969.
Above: Silver Belle with rear power car passing the camera on the way to the pierhead. Frames from 8mm cine film taken by Derek Shepherd, 29 May 1969.
Above: Silver Belle deteriorating at Steamport, photographed by Derek Shepherd, 5 August 1979.
Silver Belle was a 21 inch gauge diesel-electric locomotive built by Harry Barlow, who also built the locomotives used on the nearby Lakeside Miniature Railway. Passengers had a choice of covered or open carriages to ride in.
There were two Silver Belle trains, one with the power car facing out to sea, and one with the power car facing the land. As there were no facilities for turning the trains, the sea-facing vehicle had to reverse back to land, and the land facing one had to reverse to get to the end of the pier.
After retirement from the pier, the Silver Belle trains spent some time at Steamport (a steam museum in Southport), eventually ending up at the West Lancashire Railway for conversion into carriages for the narrow gauge line.
Above: English Rose crossing the Marine Lake.
Postcard S.0541 (The Pier Train, "English Rose", Southport)
published by Dennis Productions in 1974/75.
Above: English Rose at the land-side station, photographed by Derek Shepherd, 31 July 1996.
Above: English Rose at the pierhead stop, photographed by Derek Shepherd, 31 July 1996.
English Rose was an enlarged 'Western' diesel built in 1973 by Severn Lamb. Like the Silver Belle, English Rose had open and closed carriages for the passengers and had the same problem and solution about turning at the end of the pier.
The English Rose was sold after the pier railway was closed for safety reasons in 1998. It is now used in service at the Milky Way Adventure Park in Devon.
UK Loco Ltd pier tram
Above: UK Loco Ltd tram at the end of Southport pier, 6th September 2012.
The current tram running on Southport Pier was built as a one-off by UK Loco Ltd, entering service on August 1st, 2005. It is articulated, battery-powered, 21.8 m long, and can carry 74 passengers.