Manchester and Leeds Railway
|Locale||Lancashire and Yorkshire|
|Dates of operation||4 July 1836–9 July 1847|
|Successor||Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway|
|Track gauge||4 ft 9 in (1,448 mm)|
|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 climbs out of Manchester with an average gradient of 1 in 260 (0.38%) until it arrives at the summit, just north of Littleborough, where there is a 2,860-yard (2,620 m) tunnel. From there the line descended towards Normanton. It had to use the North Midland Railway line to run into Leeds, because Parliament had refused to sanction two parallel lines. The rails were in 15-foot (4.6 m) lengths, laid at a gauge of 4 ft 9 in (1,448 mm), on a mixture of stone blocks and, on embankments, wooden sleepers.
The line was not an easy one to build. There were eight tunnels, mostly through very difficult rock, a hundred and sixteen bridges, and long cuttings and embankments. A tunnel at Charlestown, near Hebden Bridge, had to be abandoned following its collapse and the continued instability of the ground. That necessitated a diversion, involving three tight curves of 12 chains (241 m) radius, which were at variance with the 60-chain (1,207 m) norm for the line. Two large bridges were avoided by diverting the course of the River Calder. In 1951, the instability of the retaining wall above the river required a 5 miles per hour (8 km/h) speed limit until repairs were completed in 1953.
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 long tons (18 t; 20 short tons), with an average speed of about 25 miles per hour (40 km/h), reaching approximately 42 miles per hour (68 km/h) downhill.
The railway was an early user of Edmonson's 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
- William Templeton - The Locomotive Engine Popularly Explained - Page 96
- Parkinson-Bailey 2000, p. 53.
- Scrivenor 1849, pp. 145–156.
- Scrivenor 1849, p. 144.
- Scrivenor 1849, p. 148.
- Scrivenor 1849, p. 149.
- Scrivenor 1849, p. 150.
- Scrivenor 1849, p. 153.
- Whishaw, Francis (1842). The Railways of Great Britain and Ireland Practically Described and Illustrated (2 ed.). John Weale. pp. 314–315. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Cooke, B.W.C., ed. (June 1954), "Strengthening of River Calder Retaining Wall, N.E.R.", The Railway Magazine, Westminster: Tothill Press, vol. 100 no. 638, pp. 428–429
- Hewison 1983, p. 29.
- 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
- Whishaw, Francis (1842). The Railways of Great Britain and Ireland Practically Described and Illustrated (2nd ed.). London: John Weale. pp. 312–324. OCLC 833076248.
- 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