Manchester and Leeds Railway
|Successor||Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway|
|Founded||4 July 1836|
|Defunct||9 July 1847|
|Manchester & Leeds Railway|
Its route now forms the backbone of the present-day Caldervale Line.
It was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1836, with a second Act in 1839 which authorised the extension from the original Manchester terminus at Oldham Road railway station to join the Liverpool and Manchester Railway when the latter was extended to Hunt's Bank (later called Manchester Victoria). The Act also authorised branches to Oldham and Halifax with a diversion at Kirkthorpe. Superintended by George Stephenson, its engineer was Thomas Longridge Gooch, a brother of Daniel Gooch of the GWR.
The line became the chief constituent of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, which was incorporated in 1847. Several railways had earlier been absorbed by the M&LR:
- Manchester and Bolton Railway
- Ashton, Stalybridge & Liverpool Junction Railway incorporated 1844
- Liverpool & Bury Railway 1845
- Huddersfield & Sheffield Junction Railway 1845
- West Riding Union Railway
- Wakefield, Pontefract & Goole
The line climbed out of Manchester with an average gradient of 1 in 260 (0.38%) until it arrived at the summit and a 2,860 yards (2,620 m) long tunnel at Littleborough. From there it descended towards Normanton.
It used the North Midland's line to run into Leeds since Parliament had refused to sanction two parallel lines. Not an easy line to build, there were eight tunnels in all, mostly through very difficult rock, a hundred and sixteen bridges and long cuttings and embankments. One tunnel, that at Charlestown, had to be given up due its collapse and the continued instability of the ground. This entailed a diversion with some tight curves at variance with the norm for the line of 60 chains (130.62 m). Two large bridges were avoided by diverting the course of the River Calder. The rails were of 15 feet (4.6 m) lengths laid at a gauge of 4 ft 9 in (1,448 mm) with a mixture of stone blocks and, on the embankments, wooden sleepers.
The locomotives were provided by local manufacturers, to the six-wheeled Stephenson pattern. Carriages were all four-wheeled. First and Second had three compartments, the latter with wooden shutters instead of glazing. The third class was "Stanhopes," that is, without seats, each divided into four sections by lateral and longitudinal bars. There were also some mixed carriages having a first class centre compartment, with the end ones second class. The average weight of a train would be about 18 tons, with an average speed of about 25 MPH (40 km/h), reaching approx. 42 MPH (67.6 km/h) downhill.
The railway was an early user of Edmonsons Ticketing System. Tickets were checked en route, the guard presumably having to move from carriage to carriage by means of the external footboard - just as is described in Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.
Accidents and incidents
- Hewison, Christian H. (1983), Locomotive Boiler Explosions, Newton Abbot: David & Charles, ISBN 0 7153 8305 1
- Parkinson-Bailey, John (2000), Manchester: An Architectural History, Manchester University Press, ISBN 0-7190-5606-3
- Scrivenor, Harry (1849), The Railways of the United Kingdom, Smith, Elder, and co.
- Wells, Jeffrey (2000), The Eleven Towns Railway: The Story of the Manchester and Leeds Main Line, Railway and Canal Historical Society, ISBN 0-901461-21-0
- Whishaw, F, (1842) The Railways of Great Britain and Ireland London: John Wheale repub Clinker, C.R. ed (1969) Whishaw's Railways of Great Britain and Ireland Newton Abbot: David and Charles
- Map and chronological details
- The Manchester & Leeds Railway in 1960 - Oldham Road to Miles Platting Station Jn.
- The Manchester & Leeds Railway in 1960 - Manchester Victoria to Newtown No.1
- The Manchester & Leeds Railway in 1960 - Newtown No. 1 to Miles Platting Station Jn.
- The Manchester & Leeds Railway in 1960 - Miles Platting Station Jn. to Thorpes Bridge Jn.
- The Manchester & Leeds Railway in 1960 - Thorpes Bridge to Hebden Bridge
- The Manchester & Leeds Railway in 1960 - Hebden Bridge to Normanton, Goose Hill