I. LONDON AND NORTH-WESTERN RAILWAY.
Now part of the L.M.S. system.
At the first projection of railways the inhabitants of Kendal were
among the earliest to perceive of their advantages for the development
of trade, but the physical configuration of the county presented
serious obstacles to the would-be promotors. From the first it was
evident that local subscription would not be sufficient for such
expensive engineering and that it would become necessary to seek the
assistance of established railway companies whose interest might be
promoted by the extension of their lines. To the unremitting efforts
of Cornelius Nicholson we owe the practical turn that was given to the
dream when he called a public meeting in Penrith on 7 November
and another in Kendal on 19 December, 1837.
At the former meeting Nicholson presented three alternative routes
for consideration, viz.:—
(a) The coast route as proposed by George Stephenson, the father of
the locomotive system, which was proposed to run from Lancaster
to Ulverston, Whitehaven and so to Carlisle, a distance of 102
miles. It was objected that this avoided Kendal and Penrith
and ran on the hem of the counties with no population on the
(b) The Eden valley route which was to run from Lancaster to K.
Lonsdale, Sedbergh, Ravenstonedale and thence by the vale of
Eden, a distance of some 72 miles to Carlisle.
(c) The Shap route as proposed by Joseph Locke, the engineer of the
Grand Junction Railway which had brought its lines from
Birmingham to Preston and contemplated extending it to
Lancaster. This was a far more ambitious scheme, necessitating
a rise of 1000 feet without a single tunnel, but it was thought
that the extra engineering cost would be balanced by the 6 miles
shorter length of line.
In March, 1838 a deputation of Kendal gentlemen waited upon the
Directors of the projected Preston to Lancaster Railway to confer
with them for the purpose of influencing them to continue their line to
But almost immediately great rivalry appeared between the East
Coast and the West Coast railway companies as to which should
receive running powers between London and Scotland. At length the
matter came before Parliament, and on 27 March, 1841, the Commissioners appointed by Government reported that the best line of
communication with Scotland would be between Lancaster and
Carlisle. This decision was of momentous consequence to the
inhabitants of Westmorland and stimulated their scheme.
The final determination to adopt the Shap route was brought about
by the landowners of K. Lonsdale issuing on 3 February, 1842, a
pronouncement of their hostility to the railway passing through the
Lune valley and their determination to give the measure every
opposition in their power.
The same newspaper that gives this uncompromising declaration
advertises that the Caledonian Railway company intended to apply to
Parliament for an Act enabling it to make a railway from Lancaster,
via Kendal to Carlisle. By March the plans were deposited with the
various Clerks of the Peace and by November all the drawings and
estimates were lodged in the Private Bill Office in London. On 23
January, 1843, John Wakefield as chairman of the local committee
issued a notice that toward the £1,000,000 required by the Caledonian
company, the London and Brighton and the Grand Junction, together
with other leading railway companies, had resolved to subscribe
£500,000 on condition that £250,000 should be raised by the landowners
and others living adjacent to the proposed line. To meet this large
sum it was proposed to issue shares of £50 each, and so enthusiastic
were the promoters that in one day 550 shares were taken up in Kendal
and about 400 in Carlisle.
On 24 May, 1844 the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway Bill passed
through both Houses of Parliament; the first sod was cut at Grayrigg
in September of the same year; General Pasley, the Government
Inspector examined the work and gave his certificate for a single line as
far as Oxenholme on 18 September, 1846; and finally the whole railroad to Carlisle was opened for traffic on 15 December following.
The embankments and cuttings in the solid granite rock near Tebay
and Orton Street vary in depth from 50 to 60 feet. The viaduct that
crosses the river Eamont consists of five arches, each of 50 feet span
and seventy feet in height from the surface of the water. Perhaps
there is no other example in England of so difficult a country having
been furnished with a railway at so small a cost per mile. The genius
of Joseph Locke planned it all; one contractor executed it all, kept
within the estimate and was only beaten a few weeks as to time of
By an Act, 35 Vict. c. 87 (1872) leave was given to the L.N.W.Ry.
to make a new road, instead of the existing level crossing "commencing from and out of the turnpike road leading from Sedbergh to
Borrow Bridge at a point thereon 80 yards north of the point where
that road crosses the railway on the level and terminating by a
junction with the same road at a point thereon 20 yards south of the
said level crossing. They may stop up and discontinue as a turnpike
road and appropriate to the purposes of their undertaking so much of
the before mentioned existing turnpike road as extends for a distance
of 5 yards on each side of the railway."
II. DARLINGTON AND TEBAY RAILWAY.
The South Durham and Lancashire Union Railway, having its
junction with the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway at Tebay, was
promoted by an independent company and became absorbed by the
North Eastern Railway. The first sod was cut at K. Stephen on
25 August 1857 by the Duke of Cleveland and the line was opened
for passenger traffic on 7 August, 1861. It is worthy of note that the
pioneer engine which led the way across the country bore the name of
Edward Pease so honourably associated with the Stockton and
Rising from a mean elevation of about 585 feet at Barnard Castle
the line enters the county on Stainmore, 1374 feet above sea level;
the scenery quickly changing from luxuriant herbage to grazing land
as at Bowes Moor and then to the wild and sombre moorland of the
summit. After passing the Rere Cross and Maiden Castle the first
station met with is at Barhouse, now Barras. And then the line passes
over the river Belah, 200 feet below, by an immense iron bridge which,
with the other viaducts that span the gorges, renders this line a
remarkable achievement of engineering skill.
III. INGLETON AND TEBAY RAILWAY.
For long the construction of this line formed a bone of contention
between rival railway companies. What was known as the Little
North-Western Railway Company, whose line started at Shipley and
came up the Craven valley to Ingleton, promoted the extension to
Tebay and termed it the 'Orton Branch.' At once it excited the
jealousy of the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway Company who were
anxious to protect their own traffic from undue competition. Finally
in order to keep the new line out of the Eden valley and prevent it
becoming a serious rival as a route to Carlisle and Scotland, an agreement was arrived at and by the Bill of 1852 the point of junction
between the two railways was fixed at Dillicar Low Park which is about
one mile north of the present Lowgill station. Notwithstanding, in
1856, the Little North-Western applied to Parliament for power to
deviate the point of junction and for extensive running powers
northward. This again was opposed as it was alleged that it was
seeking powers of which it could not avail itself and that the object
was to transfer the line, strengthened by these powers, to some other
railway company such as the Midland. The Bill was dropped.
In 1857 the Lancaster and Carlisle Company decided to make the
line themselves in order to retain control of the West Coast route to
Scotland. They purchased the foundations of the large viaduct at
Ingleton, which had been laid by the Little North-Western, and in the
summer of 1858 the works were commenced. Mr. Errington was the
engineer-in-chief. The line was opened for passenger traffic on
Monday, 16 September, 1861.
The Lowgill viaduct consists of eleven semi-circular arches of 45
feet span. The height above the stream is 100 feet and its extreme
length is 620 feet. Even in these days great difficulty was experienced
in obtaining labour, the navvies finding the district too dull for their
IV. EDEN VALLEY RAILWAY.
On Saturday, 7 June, 1862, the first passenger train passed over the
line from Kirkby Stephen to Clifton, a distance of 22 miles, and back
again, stopping at all the intermediate stations, and any who felt
inclined to take the journey were accommodated with free seats.
Great exertion had been made to have the line opened in time for
the fairs at Appleby, which commenced on the following Monday and
lasted till the Thursday. Wednesday being the principal day special
engines kept plying from Appleby to Clifton and Kirkby Stephen for
the accommodation of the public and many trucks were at hand for
receiving cattle and sheep.
V. SETTLE AND CARLISLE RAILWAY.
For some time before 1866 when the Midland Railway Company
obtained Parliamentary powers for this line, it was a constant source
of complaint that the Midland was shut out from any share in the
Scotch traffic. The Company had been able to obtain a lease for 1000
years of the Little North-Western Railway which ran from Shipley
to Ingleton, but its forward move to Carlisle was blocked by the
Lancaster and Carlisle Railway gaining control of the Ingleton to
Tebay branch. Therefore this line was built at the great cost of
£3,600,000, or an average of £50,000 per mile, being probably the most
expensive ever made in the country. Of the 72 miles nearly 29 lie
in Yorkshire, under 20 in Westmorland and 24 in Cumberland. The
first sod was cut in November, 1869, and it was opened for passenger
traffic on Monday, 1 May, 1876. The Company had the comfort of
The Times when it remarked that "the opening of the new line will
not only afford the inhabitants of the south-western parts of England
increased facilities of access to Scotland, but will also enable all
travellers from the south to make their journey with a degree of
comfort, and even of luxury, to which they have been hitherto
Beginning at Settle the line rises about a thousand feet in the first
fifteen miles and then runs for about ten miles over the summit
of the pass through some of the grandest scenery. There is a tunnel
on Blea Moor a mile and a half long, and another almost as long on Rise
Hill before reaching Hawes junction, and thence descending down the
Mallerstang valley the line passes through Wharton Park to the
stupendous viaduct over the Darlington and Tebay Railway at
Smardale. From here it continues an undulating course via Appleby
to Newbiggin, where it enters Cumberland, and finally joins the
Newcastle and Carlisle section of the North Eastern Railway at
Petteril Bridge about a mile from Carlisle station.
The Smardale viaduct, designed by Mr. Crossley the engineer, is
710 feet in length and between 120 and 130 feet in height above the
stream level to the rail. The building was commenced in the autumn
of 1870 and was completed by 8 June, 1875.