Tag Archives: L&YR

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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The L&Y

What sort of railway was the L&YR? This question has several different answers depending on whether you are a traveller or shareholder and at what point in the life of the L&Y you were talking about. In the early days, from the traveller’s point of view it was diabolical. O.S.Nock  in his, The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (A concise history), quoting  E.L.Ahrons, states “In the middle of the 1870s it was probably the most degenerate railway in the kingdom, to which even the South Eastern or the London, Chatham & Dover could have only run a bad second.”

Things were so bad that the L&Y was the butt of Pantomime jokes – quoting from Nock again, “He went to Bradford for to dine By the Lancashire & Yorkshire line; He waited three weeks at bleak Low Moor And when he complained the porter swore That he ought to have started the month before”… etc, etc. Nock says, “To sum up, the L&Y of 1876 was a railway of ugly inconvenient stations, of old broken-down engines and dirty carriages, and of a superlative unpunctuality, to which no pen could do justice.”

However, if you were a shareholder between 1866 and 1880 things were rather less bleak and ugly. Dividends were a healthy 6 to 8%, and only in the years 1878 and 1880 when 5 3/8% was paid and 1879 when only 4 5/8% paid did they fall below the 6% mark – in 1872 the L&Y paid 8 3/8%.

The photograph, taken on the K&WVR, shows Ex-L&YR 0-6-0 No.957, built in 1887 to a design by Barton Wright, whose locomotives  are credited with vastly improving the L&YR’s punctuality and speed of services. The coach behind the engine is the beautifully restored ‘Club Car’ No.47.

The ‘Club Car’ owes its existence to the sensitivities of  Fylde coast businessmen and their desire for a comfortable journey unencumbered by such unpleasantness as having to rub shoulders with the ‘great unwashed’. In 1896 a group of these businessmen, the Lytham St. Anne’s & Blackpool Travelling Club approached the L&Y with a view to securing their ‘own’ coach on the morning and evening expresses to and from Manchester.

Following the successful outcome of these negotiations the L&Y first provided some converted 6 wheel saloons and then in 1912 produced a unique carriage for the service which ran Monday to Saturday from Blackpool Central to Manchester Victoria. This coach continued in service until 1934 and then spent the next 17 years on secondary duties until 1951 when it was sold for use as a cricket pavilion in Spondon, near Derby.

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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Railway Timetables – my part in their downfall

After the excitement of a ride out over the Pennines with the Red Bank vans it was back to the day job cleaning engines, for the princely sum of £3 -12s – 0d a week – £3.60 in new money.  It wasn’t all cleaning engines though, some days, if you were in the Charge-Hand cleaner’s good books you might be helping the boilersmith build a brick arch – though more likely was a day on the pit shovelling ash out of the pit and then up into a 16ton mineral wagon. Handy practice for the shovelling to come.

Farnley Jct. crew worked across the Pennines to places like Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham,  Manchester, Liverpool and points in between – hence the photo of an L&Y engine and train. However, 55C wasn’t an L&Y shed it was originally a LNWR outpost; it opened in 1882 and closed in 1966, though I moved to 70A Nine Elms well before then but, that’s a story for another day.

The mess room at Farnley Jct. would, today, have been condemned as a health hazard, in 1962 it was simply a den of iniquity. Men on ‘spare’ turns,  shed men and cleaners playing card games and dominoes, wooden benches to sit on,  an ‘Oldham’  hot water geyser that looked like it was put in when the shed was built,  a big cast iron stove kept us warm in winter. In addition to learning, by heart, Rule 55 it was in the mess room I learned to play ‘Chase the Lady’ ‘Rummy’ and ‘5s&3s’ – essential elements in footplate life!

After months as a cleaner, the day arrived when I was booked to see the Shedmaster, Mr. Warren, and yes his nickname was ‘Rabbit’. I learned my rules and the ‘passage of steam’ until I could have recited them in my sleep but, it was a nerve wracking  half hour nonetheless. I passed, of course, now I was to be let loose  on the main line as a ‘real’ fireman. And so, on the Saturday evening I set off, on my trusty push bike, for my first ‘official’ firing turn.

To be continued……..

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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White Rose – Red Rose

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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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