Liverpool’s lost tram lines that still run deep below your feet

These picture provide a fascinating glimpse back in time to when trams used to run through the streets of Liverpool.

Earlier this month old tram lines were found deep under a street in Old Swan after a burst water main unearthed them.

Engineers were called out to work on a section of Prescot Road, near the Tesco superstore, to fix a major pipe.

In order to do so, engineers had to cut through old tram lines hidden beneath the road – revealing the historic transport system.

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A spokesperson for United Utilities said at the time: "We didn't expect to find the old tram tracks and we are having to cut through these very carefully before we can continue digging onto the pipe."

And the find inspired one local enthusiast to contact the ECHO to share a photo of what Old Swan looked like back when the trams were still running on the unearthed tracks.

Old tram tracks beneath Prescot Road in Old Swan have been revealed by workmen digging to reach a water pipe that burst over the weekend. Image: United Utilities

Wirral-based transport archivist and author Charles Roberts shared a 65-year-old photo of the tram track which was causing problems for United Utilities in Old Swan.

The photo is a step back in time, as a tram with the number 41 can be see making its way through the streets.

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Parts of Old Swan still look recognisable today in the photo, but with tram lines running overhead for a very different mode of transport.

Old photograph of the Liverpool 253, route 41 tram in Old Swan

Charles told the ECHO: "“The picture shows a tram on route 41 turning from Prescot Road into St Oswalds Street.

"The 41 was a workpeople’s service connecting Page Moss with factories along Edge Lane such as Meccano and Plessey, which only ran a few times a day.

"So it’s likely that photographer John McCann, had gone out specially to see it.”

Most of the buildings which exist behind the tram in the photograph still exist in one form or another, Charles added.

Picture of tram rotue 970, route 44 going down East Lancs Road

He said: "Kay’s is now a barber’s shop, while parts of the Midland Bank building are incorporated into today’s more modern HSBC branch.

"Note also the Liverpool Education Committee Austin Loadstar lorry which would have been taking supplies to schools."

Charles said the last 41 service ran on March 5, 1955.

The 10B service ended on the same day, marking an end to the era when trams ran the long stretch along Kensington and Prescot Road.

After these lines ended, trams still continued to operate in Liverpool, with some continuing to reach Page Moss via Thomas Lane and East Prescot Road for another two and a half years.

Old picture of tram routes in Liverpool

As well as sharing the picture from Old Swan, Charles shared more of his fascinating collection which archives the history of trams in our city.

Some pictures show parts of the city which are totally unrecognisable, as a tram can be seen going down Beloe Street in Dingle.

Charles said there is "nothing left" of the old street, although a couple of shops in Mill Street seen in the distance of the photo still survive

Another fascinating photo showed trams which would have been hugely popular during match days.

Charles said: "On the stretch of straight road between Everton Valley and Goodison Park, the trams had their own private right of way next to Stanley Park.

"On matchdays, there would be lines of trams after he final whistle to take supporters back into the city centre.

A tram going down Beloe Street, in Dingle

"Trams last used this stretch in November 1956 and the former tramway was taken over by road widening.

"Virtually all the buildings on the left have since been demolished, with the Abbey pub – just about visible beyond the advertising hoarding – being the only survivor."

Photos of "the hub" of the transport network also offer an insight into how the transport network used to operate.

Charles said: "The hub of the city’s tram network was at Pier Head, where tramcars terminated on three loops of track before heading to all parts of the city, such as this car on route 40 to Page Moss.

"Tram 765 is one of Liverpool’s pre-streamlined generation of cars dating from 1932."

Old picture of the Liverpool 765 route 40 Pier Head tram

Charles added: "The 25 was a long cross-city route from Walton to Aigburth Vale, which only skirted the city centre.

"This tram is at the busy Dingle junction, and is turning from Belvidere Road/Ullet Road into Aigburth Road towards the end of its journey south.

Old picture of the cross-city 25 tram route across Liverpool, from Walton to Aigburth Vale. Picture of the tram at a Dingle junction

"Those who know the junction will recognise the road layout today, but there is now modern housing in the background and the church on the right has been replaced by the Sandringham Medical Centre.

"Tramcars 818 to 867, built in 935/36, were known as ‘Marks Bogie’ cars after the tramways manager of the time."

Charles said hundreds of people flocked to see Liverpool's final service in 1957.

He said: "Liverpool’s last tram routes were the 6/6A to Bowring Park and the 40 to Page Moss, both of which finished on September 14, 1957.

Liverpool's last tram route, the 6/6A to Boweing Park

"This picture, taken two years earlier by a visitor from Chicago, is at the terminus of the 6A on Roby Road.

"On the last day, hundreds of people came to see the last tram and then, in early evening, to view the cavalcade of 13 ticket-only special trams, after which the tracks were ripped up.

"The house on the right are still there today but everything on the left went in the 1970s with construction of the M62 Huyton junction."

These pictures, as well as many more, will feature in a book Charles and Martin Jenkins are writing about the city's tramways from 1948 to 1947.

The book, called 'The Leaving of Liverpool' is due for publication next year and will feature many more documents about the tram system in our city.

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