Tag Archives: Liverpool

Bits of the old L&Y

Incorporated in 1847, one hundred years before I was born, the L&YR was, for many years,  being persued, in predatory fashion, by the much larger London North Western Railway, ‘the Euston Confederacy’ as it was sometimes referred to. The L&Y’s resistance only ended on 01/01/1922 and a year later the LNWR too became part of a bigger whole, the London Midland & Scottish Railway.

The L&Y itself, grew by acquisiton and grew out of amalgamation and absorbtion – some of its constituents were, oddly, owned jointly with the rival LNWR. Not content with running railways they also had their own fleet of ships and sailed to Europe and Ireland, from Goole, Hull, Fleetwood and Liverpool. They were also the first British railway company to introduce electric trains; with a service from Liverpool to Southport in 1904.

Before the opening of Horwich Works, the L&Y’s principal workshops were at Miles Platting, just up the bank from Manchester Exchange/Victoria. Railway workshops are never going to be situated in the ‘nice’ parts of town but, they must have been a dodgy lot around Miles Platting in the 1850s as an entire locomotive boiler was stolen, ‘spirited away in the middle of the night’, from the Works. Quite how this was achieved is a bit of a mystery, especially as  road transport was still at the horse and cart stage.

The coach behind the engine is Club car 47, a classic example of British snobbery in action. A bunch of Fylde coast ‘business men’ persuaded the L&Y, for a fee, naturally, to provide them with what was essentially a ‘private coach’ between Blackpool and Manchester, just so they didn’t have to travel alongside the ‘great unwashed’.

If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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Shunting with the Pug


Yesterday’s post was about an 0-4-0ST with connections to Durham miners,  a black sheep in the Lambton family, and Beamish. Today’s 0-4-0ST has connections of a different kind – hanging around on the side of docks or loitering in factory sidings was what the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway built them for – and from 1891 until 1964 that is what members of this class did, in Goole, Hull, Liverpool, and Salford. Post Nationalisation they searched out new docks and wharves to ply their trade, in Swansea, Bristol and Bangor.

Affectionately known to many as ‘Pugs’, these are such chumbly little engines that I have a model of one, made from coal, on the shelf next to my desk. In the photograph, a scan from one of my slides, No.51218 is dragging the former Metropolitan Railway coaches out of the sidings alongside the Vintage Carriages Trust Museum at Ingrow. Unlike the other surviving Pug L&YR No.19, which was sold on by the LMSR in 1931, No.51218 remained in, LMS and British Railways service until 1964, when she was withdrawn, from her final allocation to 87A Neath MPD, before being sold and moved to the K&WVR in 1965.

Currently in the queue for overhaul, at Haworth Works, hopefully it won’t be too long before she is, once again, rattling up and down the line at the K&WVR.

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You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running.


or for British readers.

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‘Rainhill, next stop Rainhill’


Good morning customers, I’m your train manager and I’d like to welcome you all to the 18.29 service from Liverpool to the future.  Please have your travel documents ready for inspection, customers traveling 3rd class air conditioned are standing in coach D, towards the rear of the train, anyone wishing to travel in the quiet carriage please proceed towards the front of the train, the restaurant car will be added when we leave 1879. Our driver today is Mr. George Stephenson, he’s the bloke in the top hat, with his hand on the regulator. On the shovel, and suitably cloth capped, one of Mr. Stephenson’s pals from Tyneside.

(In those early railway days the men on the footplate were often recruited  Pit enginemen from Tyneside, Wales, or Cornwall – they became what one of my former Nine Elms colleagues, Clive Groome, described, in his book the Decline & Fall of the Engine Driver, as ‘the footplate clan’.)

There is no doubting that from Rocket to the Javelin is ‘one giant leap’ in less than 200 years. However, by far the greatest part of that leap has taken place in the last 40 years. No.92220 Evening Star was, for the most part, Rocket on steroids. Over the 131 years between Rocket in 1829, and 1960 when No.92220 became the ‘last steam engine’ little changed, yes there were a few tweaks here and there but coal, water, and human sweat produced the steam which powered them both, and, almost, the entire rail travel machine, from 1804 to 1968. After 1968 it wasn’t just the steam locomotives which were swept away, engine sheds, coal towers, signal boxes and goods sheds, coal yards and sidings, stations, branch lines,  a railway landscape and a railway architecture disappeared too.

Not everything changed though, for the customers, there’s surprisingly little difference. Men in top hats still control things and those in cloth caps still do their bidding. Just one head peeps through the window in first class luxury, 3rd class is rammed – barely room for the train manager to stand!

The Rocket replica with its replica train, suitably costumed crew and firmly entrenched class system, is departing from Quorn & Woodhouse Station en route to Loughborough during the Great Central Railway’s Golden Oldies gala.

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, you might enjoy my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”

These are some of the totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:  ‘ treated myself to a copy of “Gricing” for Christmas, excellent reading.’  ‘I’m enjoying your book. It’s a real page-turner, thought provoking and great photos, to boot.’  ‘ I bought and enjoyed “Gricing” etc and would heartily recommend it to readers’. – and from another ‘satisfied’ reader’ – ‘ I was given what I believe to be your book called Gricing the other night.  Very much enjoyed the book if it is yours!’

This is the link to my book “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751


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White Rose – Red Rose


Lancashire & Yorkshire, ancient foes locked together to make money from mines and mills served, by the invention of the age, the railways.  There was nothing cloth cap about the L&YR, well not once it acquired some decent motive power and a capable CME. The L&YR came into being as the Manchester & Leeds Railway in 1836, with the line from Manchester as far as Litteleborough opened in 1839. Despite some opposition from the Liverpool & Manchester Railway the Manchester & Leeds began running into Manchester Victoria Station, in 1844. By 1847, through amalgamations, the M&LR had morphed into the Lancashire & Yorkshire.

In the 1870s the much bigger LNWR made attempts to amalgamate  the Lancashire & Yorkshire, only government opposition prevented this from happening, until 1922, that is,  when the LNWR did amalgamate the L&YR only for both to become constituents  the LMSR, in the Grouping’ of 1923

Before it was swallowed up, the  L&YR had a network of lines which crossed the country from the North sea ports on the Humber to the Atlantic ports on the Mersey. Naturally this involved owning docks and, eventually, a substantial fleet of ships too. In 1904 the ‘go ahead’ L&YR opened the country’s first suburban electrified line between Liverpool & Southport. Not too bad for a railway whose footplate crews were referred to, by other footplatemen, as ‘clog and muffler men’.

In the photograph Former L&YR 0-6-0 No.957, is about to enter Ingrow Tunnel on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway with a train for Oxenhope

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