AN exciting new dimension will be added to Wirral's U-boat adventure with the creation of a replica conning tower for the U534 at Woodside.

The rusting hulk of the German submarine, torpedoed during World War 11, once lined up with other historic warships in a tourist attraction at Wirral docklands.

Lack of funds forced the closure of the exhibition and the vessel was moved to Woodside where high-quality glazed panels were installed to allow visitors to see inside the submarine from specially-built viewing platforms.

Planning approval has now been given for a full-sized replica of the submarine's conning tower to be built at Woodside to give visitors the chance to stand on the bridge, look through the periscope and imagine the thrills and the terrors of fighting a war beneath the waves.

Neil Scales, chief executive of Merseytravel, who operate the exhibition, said: "We would have liked to allow visitors to climb the conning tower of the U534, but given the age of the vessel and the cosrts involved in making her safe enough to do so, this new attraction will be the next best thing.

"In fact this will give visitors the perspective of being on board a new U-boat."

The Woodside attraction - U534 shares the spotlight with a full-sized movel of Resurgam, the world's first submarine - has been a great success with more than 70,000 people visiting the complex since its opening less than two years ago.

Merseytravel hope to have the new feature in place early next year.

Launched in 1942 U534 was never involved in active combat in World War 11, but used for meteorological purposes.

It was heading towards Norway without flying a flag of surrender in May 1945 when it was attacked by Liberator aircraft from RAF 547 Squadron which dropped depth charges.

U534 suffered heavy damage and began to sink by the stern. Of its 52 crew 49 survuived, including five who escaped via a torpedo hatch as she lay onthe sea bed.

Merseytravel contributes more than £34m a year to the region's tourism economy through Sapceport at Seracombe, the Mersey Ferries and associated attractions, supporting the equivalent of 742 full-time jobs.