Man buys Merseyrail train for £1

Robert Hampton, 41, agreed to take charge of the three-coach Merseyrail train
-Credit: (Image: Robert Hampton/SWNS)


A man has bought a 1970s Merseyrail train for £1 – to save it from the scrapheap.

Robert Hampton, 41, agreed to take charge of the three-coach Merseyrail train in September 2023. The IT consultant had fond childhood memories of the network, which he used for trips to the sea and days out with friends across the city.

So when he heard that new state-of-the-art trains were destined to put the 46-year-old class 507 locomotives out of service, he took steps to preserve the ‘Scouse icon’.

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Robert negotiated with the owners, Angel Trains, to purchase one of the vehicles that Queen Elizabeth travelled on when she opened the network back in October 1978.

But the preservation society he founded now needs to raise £10,000 to move the roughly 180ft (55m) long train to a heritage railway by road.

Robert, from Liverpool, said: “It does feel like I’ve got my own massive Hornby train in a way. But I don’t think it will quite sink in until I’m standing there at the heritage railway and it's actually rolled off the back of the lorry and onto the track again.

“Since I was a little kid, I’ve always been interested in trains and rides on them. I’ve always been fascinated with how they work and things like that.

Robert said it took a bit of persuading for Angel Trains to agree to sell him one of the old models.
Robert said it took a bit of persuading for Angel Trains to agree to sell him one of the old models. -Credit:Robert Hampton/SWNS

“So to get to this point where we have everything in place is very satisfying. It’s been quite a journey and hopefully, we’re near the end of it.”

Robert said it took a bit of persuading for Angel Trains to agree to sell him one of the old models. He said: "Once I assured them we had a plan and the train would be in good hands, they were actually very helpful.

“They were very kind and keen to see one preserved as well, otherwise they are all going to go to the scrapyard.”

Robert said Tanat Valley Light Railway, in Nantmawr, Shropshire, had agreed to house the train once it came out of service in September.

And he had already begun helping to prepare the track where the train would be preserved for future generations.

Robert said he and his society would need to now find the funds to bring the train to its final resting place by road.

He added: “It’s a specialist job, it has to go on an 18-wheel lorry that can carry it. That’s where the expense comes in and that’s where we’re trying to raise money."

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