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The Lancaster & Carlisle Railway opened in several stages: the lines from Lancaster to Kendal Junction (later Oxenholme) and the two-mile section of the Kendal & Windermere Railway as far as Kendal were opened on 21 September 1846; the ceremonial opening of the whole line was held on 15 December 1846 and a special train ran from Lancaster to Carlisle. A special was operated on the 16th, carrying guests returning south, and public services commenced on the 17th. The weather, which the ILN describes as severe, encouraged speculation about the climb up Shap Fells; light snow covered the higher ground and sheets of ice were hanging down the sides of Shap cutting. The locomotive was a Trevithick-Allan 2-2-2 Dalemain, named after the residence of the L&Cs chairman, and was preceded as far as Shap by a sister engine Greystoke in case assistance was needed on the climb. It was not, and Dalemain breasted the summit at 22112mph. During the speech briefly referred to in the passage on 'The Contractors' Dinner'. 
          John Stephenson predicted that 'some improvement may be made in the construction of the engines which will make it practicable to go up 1 in 75 at 30mph, or even twice that speed'. In fact a train went up at 35mph in the first week; 60mph was not achieved until 16 November 1936 when Princess Elizabeth went up at an average of 64.5mph between Tebay and Shap Summit box. The bridge over the River Lune at Lancaster, depicted in one of the illustrations, was replaced in 1866 when the original three laminated-timber arches were rebuilt in wrought iron. A footpath has always been provided across the bridge since this was a condition of Lancaster council's approval. 


Tuesday last was the day appointed for the opening of this new line of Railway. Accordingly, the Castle Station, at Lancaster, by eleven o'clock, was a scene of unusual bustle and excitement; and numbers of individuals, in spite of the severity of the weather, were grouped in the old churchyard, and on the terrace of the Castle, to view the public ceremony, by the Directors of the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, throwing open to the distant chies of the north those advant-ages which their more southern neigh-bours have long enjoyed. The necessary arrangements being completed, the Directors' train, consisting of six first-class carriages, and three second-class carriages, moved slowly from the Castle Station, across two high embankments, to the Lune Viaduct, a work of extreme difficulty, consisting of eight stone and brick arches, of fifty-three feet span. As a speci-men of strength and lightness, this struc-ture is not surpassed on the Line; and its three laminated timber arches give it a highly ornamental appearance frorn the town: the whole was completed in about twelve months. 
        Hest Bank comes next, a small bathing village on the borders of Morecambe Bay, which lies on a wide expanse of sandy desert for many a mile, bounded by the hills of Westmorland. The train then pro-ceeded at a more rapid rate through some deep cuttings, past Carnforth and Holme Stations, to Milnthorp Station, along an embankment of great length. This station is very substantial, and will be the best, in point of accommodation, on the Line. Beyond Sedgwick, after passing an em-bankment, and through some heavy rock cutting, the train stopped at Oxenholme Station, within two miles of Kendal, at the junction of the Kendal and Winder-mere Railways. A fine view of the town of Kendal was enjoyed frorn this station: the winter sun lit up the church spires, and blue roofs of the white houses which lay in the vale beneath; whilst, far beyond, rose the white-capped mountains of the West - the giants of the Lake. After a few minutes' delay, the whistle of the engine gave notice of starting; and the precaution was here taken of sending a pilot engine a few hundred yards a head. 
        For the next mile or two, occasional glimpses were obtained of the town of Kendal, and its old Castle; the train then passed round Hay Fell, and away over Docker Garths Viaduct, commonly called Fiddler's Gill, a work of beauty and great-ness (the middle arch being about 80 feet high); and then, past Lowgill Station, over an embankment 90 feet high, to the proposed junction of the North Western Railway; and onward, round the base of Dillicar Fell, at an elevation of 200 feet from the river, which lies at the foot of the embankment; a large amphitheatre of hills rises on every side, and the path seems at an end; but the skill of the Engineers (Messrs. Locke and Errington) carried this line over many a place deemed impracticable - round the foot of hills, across rivers, over vallies, &c. 
        Crossing Brown Beck by a Viaduct of red freestone, and the river Berbeck by another large viaduct, the rise to the summit at Shap commences. The cutting here is the deepest, hardest, and most expensive on the line, and varies from 50 to 61 feet in depth. The works were first commenced here in june, 1844. The summit at Shap is 900 feet above the level of the sea. Around, is a region of bare hills and cheerless scenes, making quick travelling a comfort. But Clifton Moor Station is passed, and the train passes over the river Lowther, by the Lowther Viaduct, a noble work, and next in importance to, the bridge across the Lune. It is unrivalled for boldness and beauty of proportion; and consists of 7 semi-circular arches of 60 feet span, supported on piers, 8 feet in thickness at the top, and increasing to 18 feet 6 inches at the base. Its total length is about 500 feet. The scenery here is a perfect contrast to the region passed. Lowther Park, with its thick and massive Woods - the clear winding river, 100 feet below - the stern grandeur of the distant mountains, just tinted with the last farewell rays of the setting sun - formed a beautiful picture. 
        A short mile from here is Eamont Viaduct, crossing the dark and wooded banks of the Eamont, with five arches of 50 feet span each, and 70 feet high. An embankment beyond commands a fine view of Brougham Hall, the residence of Lord Brougham; its stately park and large pleasure-grounds looked gloomily with their winter's clothing. At Penrith, the train was met by another from Carlisle; and, after gazing for a short time at the ruins of its old Castle, they each pro-ceeded onward to Carlisle. The county, for some miles, is flat and uninteresting, with the exception of Borrock Lodge, which stands on the borders of a vale of remarkable loveliness. A high embankment passes Wreay Hall and village, noted for the beauty of its Chapel. Further on is Newbiggin Bridge - a neat wooden erection, built for the convenience of the proprietor of Newbiggin Hall, H. A. Aglionby, Esq. 
        The train reached Carlisle between four and five o'clock. A splendid dinner was served in the Athenaeum, to the Directors and their friends; the confectionery and most of the table ornaments having been forwarded from Liverpool. 
A trial trip, from Carlisle to Lancaster, was made yesterday week. The Directors in the train, we learn from the Carlisle journal, were Mr. John Dixon and Mr. G. H. Head, who were joined at Penrith by Mr. E. W. Hasel (Chairman of the Directors), Mr. H. Howard, of Greystoke Castle, and Lieutenant-Colonel Maclean. They were accompanied by Mr. T. C. Heysham, Mr. P. Dixon, Mr. Steel, of the Carlisle journal, Mr. Larmer, Resi-dent Engineer, Mr. Collister, Resident Engineer of the Caledonian Railway, Mr. Mould, Mr. Hemberow, Mr. Green and two or three other gentlemen connected with the works. The train consisted of the engine, tender, and three carriages. It proceeded at the rate of upwards of 30 miles an hour, and would have reached Penrith (18 miles) in about 35 minutes, but for a slight accident when about two miles from that place. It caused a delay, however, of upwards of an hour, when the train again proceeded on its way -reaching Lancaster (70 miles) in about three hours of actual travelling - the Directors having stopped at several places to inspect the works. 
        In the evening, the Directors, engineers, and friends, dined together at the King's Arms Inn, and next morning, were joined at breakfast by Captain Coddington, the Government Inspector, who had just arrived from London. A little after eight o'clock, they started with a train of four carriages on the return to Carlisle. The day was excessively cold, with rain, sleet, snow, and frost, by turns. At times, the rails presented the appear-ance of long lines of ice, and were extremely slippery. The difficulty on such a day was the ascent of the great incline on Shap Fells, one of the severest gradients on any railway in England: the whole party watched this with no little interest; and it must have been highly satisfactory to both Engineers and Directors, when Captain Coddington, who stood upon the engine and timed its pro-gress, announced that the ascent had been made, notwithstanding the unfavourable state of the rails, at the rate of 20 miles an hour - although the engine was an old one, and not of the most powerful class. All the heavy works - the bridges, viaducts, cuttings, and embankments - were minutely inspected by Captain Coddington, who expressed himself, at the end of the journey, as highly pleased with the whole of the works, declaring that the public might travel upon the Line with the most perfect safety; and, immediately afterwards, gave the Directors a certificate to that effect. We may mention here, that the Line is double throughout, with the exception of about two miles, near Lowther. This portion will be made double in a month, or less. The Line îs remarkably easy nearly throughout - the exception being a short distance where it has been recently ballasted; and it passes through a country which can scarcely be surpassed for picturesque beauty and wildness of scenery. 

[ILN DEC. 19 1846] 


The article continued the jollowing week: 
Leaving the suramit, we enter a cutting through limestone rock, and before it approaches Shap Village, the Line runs through a circle of large boulder stones, said to be the inner circle of an ancient Druidical Temple. 
        The Line now proceeds on the east side of the town of Shap, along a heavy cutting through limestone rock, and passing under an elegant skew-bridge, erected at an angle of 45 degrees. The Line next descends along the flat portion of the Line called Shap Mines; and following the valley of the stream, the Line again runs under the turnpike-road; and thence passing Thrimby, through a thick plantation. Here the character of the scenery is con-siderably altered - the bare, rugged, and sterile mountains being succeeded by fertile pastures and picturesque prospects. 
The Kendal turnpike-road is crossed for the last time, by a skew-bridge at Clifton, near the entrance to Lowther Park, in which, hidden by a forest of huge oaks, stands Lowther Castle, the seat of the Earl of Lonsdale. 
The scenery between Shap and Clifton is very attractive - Cross Fell, Saddle-back, Skiddaw, and the other hills in the Lake District, appearing to great advant-age. 
    We are now carried along the Lowther Embankment, and about 50 miles from Lancaster and 20 miles from Carlisle we cross the river Lowther on a magnificent viaduct, 100 feet above the stream. Its arches, six in number, are of 60 ficet span each; its total length, 500 feet. It is the largest and one of the most beautiful objects of art on the Line. A mile and a half from the Lowther Viaduct, the Line crosses the Eamont on a viaduct of great beauty, consisting of Five semi-circular arches of 50 feet span each. Its height is 70 feet, and its extreme length upwards of 300 feet. Westmoreland is now left in the rear, and we enter "Canny Cumberland," - the two counties being divided by the stream which we have just crossed. We immediately enter a large cutting, containing 180,000 cubic yards, and the Line then runs nearly level to the town of Penrith: the Station closely adjoining ruins of the ancient Castle.  
        From Penrith, the Line enters the valley of the Petteril, through which it pursues almost a direct course to Carlisle, joining the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway at the Londonroad Station, where the line is 36 feet above the level at Morecambe Bay, and 852 feet below the Shap summit. Besides the principal viaducts enumer-ated, the works on the Line comprise 15 turnpike-road bridges, 64 occupation-road bridges, 86 occupation bridges, 47 cattle creeps, and 60 level crossings. 
We have abridged this outline from the Carlisle journal. We add a few engineering details: - 

  • Total quantity of gunpowder used upon the works - 4133 barrels, of 100 Ibs each, or 184 tons. Coils of fuze, 61,044; length of fuze used, about 416 miles.
  • On the Kendal district alone (five miles) the holes drilled for blasting amount to 41 miles.
  • Number of nights worked, 152,147.
  • Horses night work, 10,500.
  • Rock, 844,000 cubic yards. Independent of this rock, there bas been at least 400,000 cubic yards of sand requiring blasting, making the rock work nearly one-seventh of the whole excavations.
  • Greatest number of men employed upon the works, 9,615.
  • Greatest number of horses employed upon the works, 790.
  • The number of days' work executed on the Line is equivalent to the work of three millions of men for one day.
  • The excavations average nearly 100,000 yards per mile.
  • Making deductions for the time lost by the men, and the unusually wet country through which the Line passes, the working time in which the Line has been completed is fifteen months.

We have engraved one of the festal commemorations of the Opening of the Railway - viz., the sumptuous Dinner given by the Contractors, Messrs. Stephenson, Mackenzie, and Co. The entertainment took place in the Assembly Room of the Crown and Mitre Inn and Coffée House. This beautiful apartment was elaborately embellished for the occasion. At the upper end of the room, behind the President's chair, was displayed a mantle of white silk, emblazoned with the Royal arms, and arched with laurel and flowers. On each side appeared an illumination, the initials "V.A.," and surmounted by the order of the Star and Garter, within wreaths of evergreen. Against the wall, at  the lower end of the room, was displayed an elegant flag, emblazoned with the incorporated arms of the towns of Lancaster and Carlisle, typical of the union of these two important towns by railway. Against the walls, on each side, were ranged silk flags bearing the titles of all the Railways for which Messrs. Stephenson, Mackenzie, and Brassey are Contractors, about a dozen in number,and constituting in the aggregate upwards of 800 miles of railway communication. In addition to these decorations, appeared a number of other devices, illuminated by Royal crowns, stars, &c.; wreaths of evergreens gemmed with roses, and inclosing loyal and other mottoes. With the lustre of the illuminations, aided by the light of three chandeliers depending from the ceiling, the room presented a most brilliant appearance. The dinner, supplied by Mr. jarman and Mrs. Wells, host and hostess of the hotel, was of the most costly description. 
       The dessert, wines, &c., were excellent. Mr. Scarisbrick, the celebrated organist of Kendal, presided at the pianoforte. The chair was occupied by John Stephenson, Esq.; G. Mould, Esq., officiating as Vice. The number of guests exceeded 200, comprising not only the heads of the various departinents engaged in the construction of the Railway, from the resi-dent engineers and contractors down-wards, but a considerable number of influential strangers interested in other lines, and many representatives of the trade of Carlisle, Kendal, Lancaster, Preston, &c. 
At the lower end of the room was an orchestra, occupied by an instrumental band from Cobden's establishment, Cross Hall, near Chorley, and also by a party of glee singers, chiefly from Preston, con-ducted by Mr. Edward Scarisbrick, of Carlisle. 
        We regret that we have not space to report the very interesting after-dinner proceedings. After the customary loyal toasts had been duly honoured, the healths of the Chairman and Directors, the Engineers-in-Chief, the Secretary, and the Resident Engineers, of the Railway Company were drunk with great applause; and the toast of "Messrs. John Stephenson and Co." was received with immense cheering. 
        Mr. Stephenson's reply modestly glanced at the difficulties which he had overcome in the construction of the Rail-way. He concluded by observing it was consoling and satisfactory to mark the progress of science, and he trusted that the time would come, and that ere long, when passengers could travel right through to Forfar. (Cheers.) The com-munication by iron rails between England and Scotland would be a great benefit to both countries; and, as an humble individual, he felt proud to, have been the means of amalgamating both sides of the Sark by the Trunk Line, part of which had yesterday been opened. (Cheers.) He could only say he felt obliged for the kindness of the Company, in speaking of him and his partners as they had done. He only regretted he could not reply adequately to their com-pliments, for he would repeat that he would rather make a railway than a speech any day. (Loud cheers.) 
Mr. Mould, Mr. Horn, and other speakers, in their addresses, entered into the details of the great work; so that the day's proceedings were stored with a vast amount of practical information, instead of the complimentary common-place which usually characterises post-prandial eloquence. 

[ILN DEC. 26 18461 

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The prospect of day trips to France from London was opened up by the completion of the South Eastern Railway line to Folkestone. It seems odd to use an illustration of Bletchingley Tunnel for the opening of the final section between Ashford and the Channel port; Bletchingley is situated be-tween Redhill and Godstone on thefirst part of the line to be opened, on 31 May 1842. The opening of the last section took place on 28 lune 1843, although to a temporary station at Folkestone. Not only has the artist developed the cutting at Bletchingley into sheer cliffs towering above the line, but the train is working on the wrong line. The tunnel was 1,327yd long. 


This important railway, which has hitherto been open as far as Ashford only, is now completed to Folkestone, to which point the public were first conveyed on Wednesday last. The company having purchased the harbour of Folkestone, one of their objects is to establish a steam communication direct from the port to Boulogne, in addition to that which, when the line is completed, will be effected from Dover to Calais. To demonstrate the case with which this may be done, and at the same time to show the practicability of a trip from London to France and back in a day, an experi-mental journey was performed on Saturday last, the result of which was perfectly satisfactory. 
        At six o'clock a special train, containing the directors and their guests, started from the London-bridge station, which arrived at Folkestone temporary station, a distance of 82 miles from town, in two hours and 40 minutes, having stopped at five stations by the way. In Folkestone harbour the Water Witch steamer, commanded by Captain Hayward, was lying ready, and, as soon as the different passengers could be got on board, she started for Boulogne. 
        Among the gentlemen congregated on board the vessel were several Members of Parliament, and other distinguished persons who take a warm interest in the promotion of science. By half-past twelve all the passengers had landed, and a copy of the London papers of that morning, containing the debates in Parliament of the previous night, were presented by the chairman of the directors to the astonished authorities of the place, who had come down to the pier to meet their English visitors. The whole population of the town and neighbourhood had poured out to witness the embarkation, and the very extensive piers of the harbour were crowded with spectators - a dense mass of people, high and low, rich and poor, in every costume and colour possible even to French imagination - blue, pink, red, black, brown, green, and pretty faces without end. The same scene was con-tinued on the way from the harbour to the shore, where, in a saloon over the baths, a collation had been prepared for the visitors. This was a splendid room, beautifully decorated, and capable of holding, perhaps 500 persons. A band was in attendance, and played the English and French national airs. The entertainment did credit to the town by whom it was provided. The chair was occupied by Mr. Baxendale. On his right was M. Malinet, the premier adjoint du Maire. On his left was the Sous-prefet of Boulogne, and opposite were Count de Steffi, Colonel Sausot, and other leading inhabi-tants of the place. The eating and drink-ing having subsided, the chairman then gave "The health of Louis Philippe," which was received with the most deafen-ing cheers, particularly from the English present. - Colonel Sausot (Colonel of the National Guard, and formerly Colonel of Bonaparte's Guides) then gave "The Queen of England, the People of England, and perpetual Peace between the two Nations." This gave the French an opportunity of returning the compli-ment, which they did with all due gallantry and enthusiasm. - Mr. Baxendale, having returned thanks for "The health of the Directors," stated that, when the new iron steamers were put on the station, the people of Boulogne would be able to receive the London newspapers of the same day in four hours and a half after their publication. (Cheers.) - The health of the mayor having been drunk the guests returned to the steam-vessel, escorted as before by a gazing and cheer-ing multitude. They had remained two hours and ten minutes at Boulogne. The steamer got under way at forty minutes after two, and arrived in Folkestone harbour at half-past six. At five minutes past ten it arrived in London, stopping at eight stations to put down passengers. This trip, therefore, was performed in sixteen hours, allowing about two hours and a quarter at Boulogne. A steamer is being constructed by Maudslay and Field for Captain Hayward, which will do the distance to Boulogne (27 miles) in fine weather in two hours, so that the whole journey from London to Boulogne may in favourable circumstances be performed in four hours and a halE Thus persons leaving at Six A.M., and returning to town at ten P.m., could (allowing for delays) spend at all events five or six hours at Boulogne. 

[ILN JULY 1 1843] 
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This scene would still be recognisable today as Penzance, with the well-known sea wall curving around the harbour which has appeared in so many photographs taken 'over the wall'. The West Cornwall Railway was originally conceived as broad gauge but applied for and was granted sanction to retain the narrow (standard) gauge which had already been adopted by the Hayle Railway; the latter was to, be rebuilt as part of the WCR and extended to, Truro and Penzance. The reason for the change of mind over the gauge was the dilatory progress of the Cornwall Railway, ultimately to open between Plymouth and Truro in May 1859. The standard gauge line between Penzance and Redruth opened on 11 March 1852 and the line was extended to, Truro Road on 25 August.

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This page was created by Julia Lee '99. It is maintained by Professor Robert Schwartz of the History Department, Mount Holyoke College.