Merseyrail class 503 housed at Margate’s 1:1 museum to be scrapped with just motor coach retained

Just the motor coach of the Merseyrail 503 will be retained Photo Graeme Gleaves

By John Horton

The Merseyrail class 503 train currently housed in the 1:1 museum at Margate is to be scrapped with just the motor coach, which houses the driving cab, to be retained for possible future restoration.

Built in 1938, the Class 503, known as “Wirral units” were unique in having power operated sliding doors to access/ exit the train.

The three car units were introduced to services between Liverpool and the Wirral lines of Rock Ferry, New Brighton and West Kirby. The unit was active until withdrawal from British Rail in 1985.

Owners Heritage Electric Trains Trust say: “There is no prospect of the unit ever running again under its own power. The infrastructure that would permit this does not exist and the unit will never be of the standard required for main line running. The absence of any spare parts makes this prohibitively expensive.

​“The support needed to fund the continued existence of the unit has failed to materialise to a significant level and current support will only fund the monthly cost of very basic storage of one coach.

​“There is no alternative site for the complete unit and the opening of Margate as the One:One Collection Museum means that a poor condition unit cannot remain in store there.

“The trailer cars are in very poor condition and would require extensive renovation to be brought up to display standard. HETT feels the display of a single vehicle in the future will offer the same interpretation value as a full unit and the reduction in associated costs will make that a more viable option over the next decade.”

The two coaches not to be saved will be stripped of all reusable parts before being removed for scrap which is likely to be within the next two months.

If any other group is interested in purchasing them they must first be aware that they need to also pay for their removal to a new home.

Interested parties can contact HETT for further details at [email protected]

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