SD5805 : Lion

taken 44 years ago, near to Wigan, England

1980 was the 150th anniversary of the original Rainhill trials. In May 1980 British Rail staged a re-enactment of these trials including a number of replica locos from those trials. Lion was not involved in the original trials but was in use on the route from 1837.

In 1837 the Liverpool and Manchester Railway ordered two locomotives to haul luggage trains, which were later called 'Lion' and 'Tiger'. They were the first locomotives built by Todd, Kitson and Laird, who used a conventional 0-4-2 wheel arrangement with inside cylinders.

In 1859 Lion was sold to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board and installed as a stationary pumping engine at Princes Dock. She was rescued by members of the Liverpool Engineering Society, to which body she was presented by the Dock Board in 1928. After restoration at the Crewe railway works she took part in the centenary celebrations of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1930, pulling a replica train. During the period prior to the Second World War Lion stood on a plinth at Lime Street Station but was removed in 1941 and not replaced.

Lion appeared in three films, 'Victoria the Great' (1937), 'The Lady with the Lamp' (1951) and 'The Titfield Thunderbolt' (1952), the latter making her something of a celebrity in view of its popular appeal.

Lion was stored at Crewe works and was not seen by the public, apart from her film appearances and railway publicity events. In 1967 she was loaned to Liverpool Museum (as World Museum Liverpool was then known) by the Liverpool Engineering Society. This was changed to an outright gift in 1970.

In 1980 Lion took part in the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway at Rainhill under her own steam. Afterwards she made a number of working appearances at railway heritage centres and museums until 1989 when she was withdrawn from steaming for conservation reasons.

Following a condition survey in 1992 which showed that Lionís original structure would need substantial modification if she were to be steamed again, the Trustees of National Museums Liverpool decided, on the basis of Lionís internationally important status, to conserve her for museum display only.

Staff from the National Conservation Centre are currently preparing Lion to go on display in the new Museum of Liverpool. She will go on show there as one of the key exhibits when the museum opens in 2011.

This photo shows her en-route from Steamtown in Southport to Bold Colliery where the locos were serviced during the event. She is seen leaving Wigan Wallgate.
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Category: Railway
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SD5805, 835 images   (more nearby 🔍)
David Ashcroft   (more nearby)
Date Taken
May 1980   (more nearby)
Sunday, 29 November, 2009
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 582 054 [100m precision]
WGS84: 53:32.6249N 2:37.9177W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 582 053
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
Clickable map
W Go E
Image classification(about): Geograph
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