Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
A map of the LYR system forms part of the War Memorial at Manchester Victoria
|Locale||Lancashire and Yorkshire|
|Dates of operation||9 July 1847–1 January 1922|
|Predecessor||Manchester and Leeds Railway|
|Successor||London and North Western Railway
London, Midland and Scottish Railway
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Electrification||600 V DC third rail
3.5 kV DC overhead
1,200 V DC side contact third rail
The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR) was a major British railway company before the 1923 Grouping. It was incorporated in 1847 from an amalgamation of several existing railways. It was the third-largest railway system based in Northern England (after the Midland and North Eastern Railways).
The intensity of its service was reflected in the 1,650 locomotives it owned – it was by far the most densely trafficked system in the British Isles with more locomotives per mile than any other company – and that one third of its 738 signal boxes controlled junctions averaging one every 3.5 miles (6 km). No two adjacent stations were more than 5.5 miles (9 km) apart and its 1,904 passenger services occupied 57 pages in Bradshaw, a number exceeded only by the Great Western Railway, the London and North Western Railway, and the Midland Railway. It was the first mainline railway to introduce electrification of some of its lines, and it also ran steamboat services across the Irish Sea and North Sea, being a bigger shipowner than any other British railway company.
The L&YR was incorporated in 1847, being an amalgamation of several important lines, the chief of which was the Manchester and Leeds Railway (itself having been incorporated in 1836).
The following companies, in order, were amalgamated into the L&YR. The dates shown are, in most cases, the Acts of Parliament authorising the incorporation and amalgamation of each company. In a few instances the effective date is used.
- Manchester and Leeds Railway, 4 July 1836 – 9 July 1847
- Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal Navigation and Railway, 23 August 1831 – 18 July 1846
- Huddersfield and Sheffield Junction Railway, 30 June 1845 – 27 July 1846, now the Penistone Line.
- Liverpool and Bury Railway, 31 July 1845 – 27 July 1846
- Preston and Wyre Railway, Harbour and Dock Company, 1 July 1839 – 3 August 1846 (joint LNWR from 28 July 1849)
- Preston and Wyre Railway and Harbour Company, 3 July 1835 – 1 July 1839
- West Riding Union Railway, 18 August 1846 – 17 November 1846
- Ashton, Stalybridge and Liverpool Junction Railway, 19 July 1844 – 9 July 1847
- Wakefield, Pontefract and Goole Railway, 31 July 1845 – 9 July 1847
- Manchester and Southport Railway, 22 July 1847 – 3 July 1854 (joint ELR)
- Liverpool, Crosby and Southport Railway, 2 July 1847 – 14 June 1855
- Blackburn Railway, 24 July 1851 – 12 July 1858 (joint ELR)
- Bolton, Blackburn, Clitheroe and West Yorkshire Railway, 9 July 1847 – 24 July 1851
- Blackburn, Darwen and Bolton Railway, 30 June 1845 – 9 July 1847
- Blackburn, Clitheroe and North Western Junction Railway, 27 July 1846 – 9 July 1847
- Bolton, Blackburn, Clitheroe and West Yorkshire Railway, 9 July 1847 – 24 July 1851
- Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Wakefield, Huddersfield and Goole Railway, 7 August 1846 – 2 August 1858 (acquired northern half of line)
- East Lancashire Railway, 21 July 1845 – 13 May 1859
- Manchester, Bury and Rossendale Railway, 4 July 1844 – 21 July 1845
- Blackburn, Burnley, Accrington and Colne Extension Railway, 30 June 1845 – 21 July 1845
- Blackburn and Preston Railway, 6 June 1844 – 3 August 1846
- Liverpool, Ormskirk and Preston Railway, 18 August 1846 – October 1846
- Fleetwood, Preston and West Riding Junction Railway, 27 July 1846 – 17 June 1866 (joint LNWR)
- Preston and Longridge Railway, 14 July 1836 – 23 June 1856
- Blackpool and Lytham Railway, 17 May 1861 – 29 June 1871 (joint LNWR)
- Lancashire Union Railway, 25 July 1864 – 16 July 1883 (joint LNWR)
- North Union Railway, 22 May 1834 – 26 July 1889 (joint LNWR)
- Bury and Tottington District Railway, 2 August 1877 – 24 July 1888
- West Lancashire Railway, 14 August 1871 – 15 July 1897
- Liverpool, Southport and Preston Junction Railway, 7 August 1884 – 15 July 1897
The system consisted of many branches and alternative routes, so that it is not easy to determine the location of its main line. For working purposes the railway was split into three divisions:
- Western Division:
- East Lancashire or Central Division
- Eastern Division:
Whereas there were various lines between the Central and Western Divisions there was only one route between the Eastern and Central Divisions. This line cut through the Pennines between Lancashire and Yorkshire using a number of long tunnels, the longest of which was Summit Tunnel (2,885 yards (2,638 m) in length) near Rochdale. There were six other tunnels each more than 1,000 yards (914 m) long.
Manchester Victoria railway station
Victoria railway station was one of the largest railway stations in the country at the time, and was the first of four stations to be named Victoria, pre-dating those in London, Sheffield and Nottingham. It occupied 13.5 acres (0.055 km2; 0.0211 sq mi) and had 17 platforms with a total length of 9,332 feet (2,844 m). After the grouping, a structural change led No. 11 platform to run through and join with No. 3 platform in the adjacent Manchester Exchange railway station, at 2,238 feet (682 m) between ramps becoming the longest railway platform in Britain. Lately the station capacity has been reduced to two platforms for Metrolink trams, two bay platforms, and four through platforms under the Manchester Evening News Arena, which now replaces a significant area once occupied by the station. The main facade and station building of the original Hunts Bank station still exist and are kept in relatively good condition.
The L&Y was the first in the country to electrify a mainline route. In Liverpool, the Fourth Rail system was used at 600 V DC, although this was later converted to a Third rail system. Suburban lines in the Liverpool area were electrified to reach a total of 37 miles (60 km).
- Liverpool Exchange – Southport and Crossens: 22 March 1904
- Liverpool – Aintree (two routes): July and December 1906
- Southport – Meols Cop railway station: 1909
- Aintree – Ormskirk: 1913
In 1912 Dick, Kerr & Co.'s Preston factory was considering tendering for a Brazilian contract, and approached the L&YR to use the Bury to Holcombe Brook Line for test purposes at Dick, Kerr's expense. The line from Bury Bolton Street Station to Holcombe Brook was electrified with the overhead 3.5 kV DC system, rolling stock was also supplied at their cost. After prolonged trials the trains entered public use on 29 July 1913. The L&YR purchased the equipment and stock on the successful completion of the trials in 1916.
In 1913 a decision was taken to electrify the Manchester to Bury route at 1.2 kV DC in an attempt to overcome competition from trams. Using the Third Rail system, trains powered by electric motor cars (or carriages) began running on 17 April 1916 but as Horwich was by then involved in war work, deliveries of the new electric stock were delayed and it was not until August 1916 that steam trains were withdrawn from the route. In 1920 the L&YR also considered electrifying the Manchester–Oldham–Shaw and Royton lines, but no work was carried out. During 1917 work began to convert the Bury to Holcombe Brook line to a Third Rail system, matching the Manchester to Bury system. Third Rail trains started to run on 29 March 1918.
Locomotives of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway were originally painted dark green with ornate brass work and copper capped chimneys. Lining was black and white. In 1876 the dark green was changed to a light green and goods engines were painted plain black. 1878 saw the goods locomotives also appearing in light green. This livery was discontinued from 1883 when all locomotives were painted black. Lining was red and white for passenger locomotives and, if present, red only for goods locomotives.
Passenger coaching stock was originally painted teak, changing in 1875 to an overall light brown. In 1879 a decision was made to use 'a little brighter shade'. Finally in June 1881 it was announced that the lower panels were to be painted 'lake colour'. Between 1896 and 1914 the upper panels became buff with the lower in purple-brown, ends were dark brown. Roofs were normally dark grey but some did appear in red oxide.
Wagons were unpainted until 1902 except for the ironwork which was black. After 1902 it was painted dark grey. The illiterate symbol of an inverted solid triangle within a circle was replaced from 1902–3 with the letters LY. Brake vans were black and special traffic wagons were painted in various colours e.g. Gunpowder- red, Fish – white, Butter – pale blue etc.
The Helmshore rail accident on 4 September 1860 saw 11 people killed and 77 injured when the rear portion of a Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway passenger excursion train became detached and ran back down the line where it collided with an on-coming passenger excursion train.
The Burscough Junction Station rail crash occurred on 15 January 1880 at the Burscough Junction station on the Liverpool to Preston section of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway line, resulting in nine fatalities.
An excursion train was in collision with a West Lancashire Railway passenger train at Preston Junction, Lancashire on 3 August 1896 due to the driver of the excursion train misreading signals. One person was killed and seven were injured.
An express passenger train collided with a light engine at Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire on 22 October 1903 due to a signalman's error. A third train collided with the wreckage at low speed. One person was killed.
A collision between a London and North Western Railway (LNWR) empty stock train and a passenger train at Huddersfield, Yorkshire on 21 April 1905 killed two people. The driver of the LNWR train had overrun signals, but fatigue was a contributory factor.
The Hall Road rail accident at Blundellsands in what is now Merseyside on 27 July 1905 saw 20 killed and 48 injured when two Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway electric passenger trains collided due to human error on the part of a signalman and a train driver.
Two locomotives were shunted into a siding at Hindley & Blackrod Junction, Lancashire on 22 January 1909, but one of them remained foul of the main line. A passenger train collided with it, killing one person and injuring 33.
A passenger train was derailed on the Charlestown Curve when the track spread under it on 21 June 1912. Four people were killed and twelve were injured.
A freight train became divided at Pendlebury, Lancashire. The rear portion was too heavy for the banking locomotive to hold, and it was pushed back downhill and derailed by catch points, as were the wagons.
The Lostock Junction train collision near Bolton on 17 July 1920 saw four fatalities and 148 injured as the result of a near head-on collision between two Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway passenger trains due to a signal having been passed at danger
The L&YR amalgamated with the London and North Western Railway on 1 January 1922, prior to the 1923 Grouping, which involved the expanded LNWR forming part of the new London Midland and Scottish Railway. The general manager, secretary and chief mechanical engineer positions of the expanded company were taken by L&YR employees. Ex-L&YR lines formed the core of the LMS's Central Division.
The LMS did little to develop the former L&YR routes. Nationalisation followed in 1948 followed by a period of rationalisation and modernisation. The L&YR system has survived largely intact, although the following routes have been closed, many within the L&YR's old East Lancashire division:
- Bury to Manchester (converted to Manchester Metrolink operation in 1992)
- Bury to Clifton Junction, closed 1966
- Bury/Radcliffe to Bolton, closed 1970
- Bury to Rochdale, closed to regular passenger traffic circa 1969, but now partly preserved as the East Lancashire Railway heritage railway line
- Bury to Accrington/Bacup, closed to regular passenger traffic in 1966, but now partly preserved as the East Lancashire Railway heritage railway line
- Bury to Holcombe Brook, fully closed 1963
- Rochdale to Bacup, fully closed 1967
- Rochdale to Manchester via Oldham – The Oldham Loop, now converted to Manchester Metrolink operation
- Blackburn to Burnley via Padiham – The North Lancs or Great Harwood Loop, closed 1964
- Blackburn to Chorley, closed 1960
- Preston to Southport, closed 1964
- Preston to Longridge, closed 1930
- Southport to Altcar, closed 1952
The routes today
Most ex-L&YR routes are now operated by Northern Rail. Manchester Victoria station has been rebuilt in a more modest form and retains the former terminal building. The Caldervale Line, as named by Metro (West Yorkshire) is also operated by Northern Rail and uses a large part of the former L&YR.
The L&YR had the largest fleet of all the pre-grouping railway companies. In 1902 the assets of the Drogheda Steam Packet Company were acquired for the sum of £80,000 (£7,756,816 as of 2016). In 1905 they took over the Goole Steam Shipping Company.
By 1913 they owned 26 vessels, with another two under construction, plus a further five under joint ownership with the London and North Western Railway. The L&YR ran steamers between Liverpool and Drogheda, Hull and Zeebrugge, and between Goole and many continental ports including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hamburg, and Rotterdam. The jointly owned vessels provided services between Fleetwood, Belfast and Derry.
Ships operated by the L&YR.
|Alt||1911||1004||Built by William Dobson and Company in Walker Yard. Transferred to L&NWR and LMS in 1922 and 1923. Scrapped in 1955.|
|Berlin||1891||1,090||Tonnage 1,111 according to Haws 1993. Built by Thompson of Dundee. Acquired in 1895 with the takeover of Yorkshire Coal & Steamship Co. In Copenhagen at the outbreak of war in 1914 and decision taken to leave her there for safety. However, pressure for tonnage required that she leave that port in 1916 under disguise and crossed the North Sea to Hull, where she was renamed River Ribble.|
|Colne||1903||875||Built by Clyde Shipbuilders at Port Glasgow for Goole-Copenhagen service of Goole Steam Shipping Company. Taken over by Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1905. Sank on passage from Goole to Rotterdam on 11 March 1906 off the West Maas Lightvessel.|
|Dearne||1909||984||Built By Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson at Newcastle, the first of ten sister vessels. Served mainly on Hamburg route and was in Hamburg at the outbreak of war. Vessel seized by Germany and was torpedoed on 22 December 1915 and sunk whilst in German commercial service.|
|Don||1892||939||Built by W. Dobson, a sister of "Hebble" for Goole Steam Shipping's Ghent service.|
|Douglas||1907||950||Built by Clyde Shipbuilding and Engineering in Port Glasgow for Goole Steam Shipping's Copenhagen service. Known as one of the 'butter boats' with her white hull. Transferred to L&NWR in 1922 and LMS in 1923 and again in 1935 to Associated Humber Lines. By this time she had her hull colour changed to black. Sold in 1937 to Stanhope S.S. Co and renamed "Stanhope" and later the same year to G M Mavroleon, Greece and renamed Nepheligeretis. Sold in 1938 to B Athanassiades and renamed Hermes then Suzy. Renamed Ioanna in 1940. Sunk on 1 June 1940 by gunfire from a U-Boat off Cape Finisterre. The logic of the particular attack was never explained.|
|Equity||1888||918||Built By Earle's of Hull for Goole Steam Shipping and one of three ships bought from Co-Operative Wholesale Society in 1906. She had been lengthened in 1900 with a revised tonnage of 931 and had been employed on the Goole – Hamburg service. She was captured in Hamburg in 1914 and was returned to her owners in 1918 having spent the war period mainly serving traffic to Finland from Germany. In 1921 whilst on passge from Jersey to Goole on the 'potato trade' she grounded and sank but was later salved. She transferred to L&NWR and LMS in 1922 and 1923 respectively. She again grounded at Alderney in June 1930, but despite being partially swamped she was salved again. She was eventually scrapped in December 1931 at Greenock.|
|Hebble||1891||904||Built by W. Dobson for Goole Steam Shipping's Goole – Ghent service. Transferred to Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1905. Mined and sunk on 6 May 1917 whilst on passage from Newhaven to Rouen with military supplies.|
|Hodder||1910||1,016||Sister of Dearne (1909). Built by Wm. Dobson at Sunderland for the Hamburg route. Was converted into a cable layer in 1915 for the Post Office and was based at Scapa Flow from where she carried out vital cable laying around the Orkney and Shetland Islands. Joined the L & N.W.R fleet in 1922 and the L.M.S in 1923 before transfer to Associated Humber Lines in 1935. Transferred to Holyhead – Dublin route in 1946 and finally scrapped in November 1956 at Dunston.|
|Humber||1903||1,023||Built by A. McMillan and Co of Dumbarton for Goole Steam Shipping's Copenhagen service.
Was taken over by Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1905. She collided with and sank the German steamer Modena owned by Robert M Sloman Jr. in 1910 ; but was sunk herself on 12 February 1912 after a collision with SS Answald of the Hamburg Bremer – Afrika Linie off the Elbe No.1 Lightvessel.
|Irwell||1906||1,092||Tonnage 1,040 according to Haws 1993. Built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson for the Goole-Rotterdam service with her sister Mersey. Transferred to L&NWR and LMS in 1922 and 1923 respectively, and on to Associated Humber Lines in 1935. Was based in Icelandic waters as a Naval supply ship in World War II. In 1946 switched to Larne-Loch Ryan service and finally scrapped in March 1954 at Gateshead.|
|Liberty||1900||895||Built by Earle's of Hull in 1890 according to Haws 1993. The sister of Equity also bought from Co-Operative Wholesale Society in 1906. Transferred to L&NWR and LMS in 1922 and 1923. Scrapped at Sunderland in December 1931.|
|Mersey||1906||1,087||Tonnage 1,037 according to Haws 1993. Built at Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson. Entered service from Goole to Rotterdam. In 1915 switched to GWR's Weymouth – Channel Isles service. Converted with Hodder to a cable layer in 1917 and was released back to her owners in 1920. Transferred to L&NWR, LMS and AHL in 1922, 1923 and 1935 respectively. Hit a mine on 20 February 1940 and sunk in the English Channel with a loss of 14 lives.|
|Nidd||1900||996||Built by Wm. Dobson for service on the Antwerp route and transferred to L and Y in 1905. Served in both cross-channel and in the Mediterranean during war period, returning to her owners Antwerp service in 1919. Chartered to Great Western Railway in 1932 for Weymouth – Jersey trade. Scrapped in 1933 at Mostyn.|
|Rawcliffe||1906||866||Built by John Crown and Sons at Sunderland. Bought from Wetherall Steamship Co in 1906. Transferred to L&NWR and LMS in 1922 and 1923. Scrapped at Bo'ness in December 1931.|
|Ouse||1911||1004||Built by William Dobson and Company in Walker Yard. Transferred to L&NWR and LMS in 1922 and 1923. Sunk on 8 August 1940.|
|River Ribble||1891||1,090||Renamed in 1916 from Berlin. Sold to J.J. King of Garston and scrapped in September 1933 at Gateshead.|
|Saltmarshe||1907||930||A sister of Rawcliffe except built at Wm. Pickersgill and Co., in Sunderland. Had very similar history to her sister being purchased from Wetherall. Scrapped at Bo'ness in December 1931.|
|Spen||1908||900||Built by Wm. Dobson. Used by the Admiralty 1914–1918 for cross-channel service out of Newhaven. To L.& N.W.R in 1922 and L.M.S. in 1923. Scrapped in September 1933 at Middlesbrough.|
|Unity||1902||1,091||The third vessel bought from Co-Operative Wholesale Society in 1906 having been built at Murdoch and Murray in Port Glasgow. Served on the Goole – Hamburg route. Having avoided a torpedo attack which sank another vessel from the line in April 1918, she was torpedoed on 2 May 1918 by UB-57 and sunk south-east of Folkestone.|
|Ship||Launched||Tonnage (GRT)||Notes and references|
|Colleen Bawn||1903||1,204||Relegated to cargo service in 1914. Scrapped in 1931.|
|Duke of Albany||1907||2,259||Requisitioned by the Royal Navy as HMS Duke of Albany, an Armed Boarding Vessel. Torpedoed and sunk in 1916.|
|Duke of Argyll||1909||2,052||Sold in 1927 to Angleterre-Lorraine-Alsace and renamed Alsace. Scrapped in 1937 at Altenwerder, Germany.|
|Duke of Clarence||1892||1,458||Requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1914, returned to LNWR in 1920. Scrapped in 1930.|
|Duke of Connaught||1875||1,082||Built by Barrow Shipbuilding Company. Scrapped in 1893|
|Duke of Connaught||1902||1,680||Scrapped in 1934.|
|Duke of Cornwall||1898||1,540||Sold in 1928 to Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, renamed Rushen Castle. Scrapped in 1948.|
|Duke of Cumberland||1909||2,052||Sold in 1927 to Angleterre-Lorraine-Alsace, renamed Picard. Sold in 1936 to A Anghelatos, Greece and renamed Heliopolis. Scrapped at Genoa, Italy in 1939.|
|Duke of Lancaster||1895||1,520||Sold to Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in 1912, renamed The Ramsey. Requisitioned by the Royal Navy in 1914. Sunk in August 1915 by SMS Meteor.|
|Duke of York||1894||1,473||Sold to Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in 1912 and renamed Peel Castle. Sold in 1930. Scrapped in 1939 at Dalmuir, West Dunbartonshire.|
|Earl of Ulster||1878||1,107||Sold in 1894 to Harland & Wolff|
|Iverna||1895||995||Acquired with the takeover of Drogheda Steam Packet Company in 1902. Scrapped in 1912.|
|Kathleen Mavourneen||1885||988||Acquired with the takeover of Drogheda Steam Packet Company in 1902. Scrapped in 1903.|
|Lune||1892||253||Used for pleasure trips to Blackpool and Morecambe. Sold to Cosens & Co Ltd in 1913, renamed Melcombe Regis. Scrapped in 1920.|
|Mellifont||1903||1,204||Scrapped in 1933|
|Norah Creina||1878||894||Acquired with the takeover of Drogheda Steam Packet Company in 1902. Scrapped in 1912.|
|Prince Arthur||1864||708||Built as Alfred for Bristol Steam Navigation Co. Was renamed Old Dominion when sold for use as a US Confederate blockade runner within weeks of being completed. Vessel returned to UK in 1865 and was renamed Sheffield when purchased by Liverpool & Dublin Steam Navigation Co Ltd. Further renaming in 1869 as Prince Arthur and was taken over by the joint railway operators in 1870. Sold in 1877 to T Seed Ltd, Fleetwood.|
|Prince of Wales||1886||1,429>||Sold in 1896 to Spain.|
|Princess of Wales||1870||936||Built by Andrew Leslie and Co. at Hebburn-on-Tyne and was re-engined in 1882-3 (a repeat of Thomas Dugdale). Sold to Naval Construction & Armaments Ltd., of Barrow and broken up in 1896.|
|Royal Consort||1844||522||Built in 1844 for North Lancashire Steam Navigation Co Ltd. Bought in 1870, scrapped in 1893.|
|Thomas Dugdale||1873||1,000||Built by Andrew Leslie and Co. at Hebburn-on-Tyne. Re-engined in 1882. Sold in 1888 to Irish National Steamship Co Ltd. Purchased by Laird's of Glasgow in 1890 and renamed Laurel eventually being broken up in 1893.|
|Tredagh||1876||901||Acquired with the takeover of Drogheda Steam Packet Company in 1902. Scrapped in 1904.|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.|
- Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Society
- Map of the LYR
- Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Trust, restoring locomotives and carriages
- Gallery of photographs