Liverpool and Manchester Railway

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L & MR) was a railway company in the UK. She built between Liverpool and Manchester, the first railway in the world, on all trains to a fixed timetable and with steam locomotives wrong - as opposed to the older Stockton and Darlington Railway, where initially wrong even horse-drawn carriage. The track is still in operation today, however, has become less important due to a parallel track.


The L & MR should allow the cost of transporting raw materials and finished products between Liverpool and Manchester. The existing so-called Narrowboat channels, the Mersey and Irwell Navigation and the Bridgewater Canal, had been built in the previous century. They dropped from high profits and enabled the rise of Manchester into a leading industrial center. Both cities were set a rail link towards positive, but there was opposition from property owners along the proposed route of the railway.

As original promoters are Joseph Sandars, a wealthy grain merchant from Liverpool, and John Kennedy, then owner of the largest spinning mill in Manchester. They were influenced by the writings of William James, a surveyor, who had become rich with real estate speculation. James had followed the development of the mine cars and locomotive technology in northern England and proposed a rail network before, which was to connect all parts of the country together.

On May 24, 1823 established entrepreneurs from Liverpool and Manchester, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company. In Liverpool 172 subjects recorded 1979 shares, recorded in London, 96 people 844 shares. 15 shareholders with 124 shares came from Manchester, 24 shareholders with 286 shares from other parts of the country. The Duke of Sutherland was involved with 1,000 shares. Thus there were a total of 308 shareholders with 4233 shares.

William James and Robert Stephenson conducted the first survey. However, the study was flawed since it could only secretly and by trespassing the land because of opposition from landowners. Later Robert Stephenson made ​​a business trip to South America, and James was forced to declare bankruptcy. For this reason the company in 1824 George Stephenson appointed as the new engineer. George Stephenson left because of work overload an employee to review the surveys. When the Parliament in 1825 advised the Bill to build the line, it turned out that the calculations were inaccurate, after which the project was rejected.

Instead of Stephenson, whose reputation had suffered, the company now appointed George and John Rennie as new engineers. This dedicated to Charles Vignoles as a surveyor. The amended plans received in May 1826, the consent of Parliament. The approved route dodged the lots of the opponents of the first project, but would now take you through the bog Chatmoss middle. The owners of the Mersey and Irwell Navigation fought first against a bridging of its channel and demanded that the eastern endpoint in Salford should be. At the last moment they changed their minds after them with access for their carts were promised in the planned bridge. The terminus was thus to lie in Manchester at Liverpool Road.


Since the Rennies presented unacceptable demands, George Stephenson was appointed engineer in charge, together with his assistant Joseph Locke again. Due to previously made ​​negative experiences with civil engineers sat Stephenson Vignoles ' dismissal as surveyor by.

The track was 56.327 kilometers long and was for that time an impressive performance in engineering. She began at the port of Liverpool and led the 2057 m long Wapping tunnel under the city center passing by Edge Hill. After the tunnel, followed by a 3.219 km long and up to 21 m deep cut through the rocky hill Mount Olive and an up to 21 m high viaduct with nine arches to 15.24 m above the valley of the Sankey Brook. However, the biggest obstacle presented the 7.644 km long crossing of Chat Moss dar. Since it proved impossible to dry out the bog, Stephenson left a great number sink braids made ​​of wood and heather on the moor and built on this base a dam.

A total of 64 bridges and viaducts were built, all of which were made of brick - with one exception: At the Water Street in Manchester built William Fairbairn and Eaton Hodgkinson a bridge of cast-iron girders, so that including rolling stock being had plenty of room. The track was built two tracks. There was no safe way to operate a single-track line, as the telegraph was not invented yet. In addition, those responsible from the start went off on the assumption that the expected traffic volume would justify two tracks.

First, they wanted to dispense with all locomotives and operate the route with the help of 21 stationary steam engines. In order to check whether locomotives would be able to climb slopes and a suitable engine to find on this route, wrote the directors of L & MR at the insistence of George Stephenson a competition, which is considered the legendary race of Rainhill (English: The Rainhill Trials ) went down in history. Winner of the tests was Robert Stephenson's locomotive The Rocket.


The opening of the line took place on September 15, 1830, but the celebrations were overshadowed by an accident. The politician William Huskisson, MP of the constituency Liverpool, got out during an intermediate stops at Newton -le- Willows, to greet the Duke of Wellington, the then Prime Minister, through the window. As he stood on the parallel track, he underestimated the speed of the approaching locomotive The Rocket was struck by this. We coupled the locomotive Northumbrian on the train of the Duke and George Stephenson drove the badly injured Huskisson to Eccles, where it died.

Notwithstanding the tragic event proved the L & MR to be very successful. A few weeks after opening the wrong first excursion trains and mail trains. From the summer of 1831, tens of thousands were transported to the horse races in Newton. Although the enacted law allowing the use of the route by private ( after paying a toll ), the Company decided at the beginning to exclusively operate the trains themselves. The canal companies, in turn, lowered their ( previously partly inflated ) freight rates and in most cases, the longer transport time was still accepted. In fact, the first freight train ran until December 1830, after the powerful locomotive planet was put into operation. Far above expectations, however, was the success of the transportation of passengers. The journey by train was cheaper, faster and more comfortable than on the road.

The tunnel from Liverpool Lime Street station to Edge Hill was completed in 1836. Because of the steep slope stopped coming from the direction of Manchester trains initially all in Edge Hill, where you abkoppelte the locomotives. Then the trains of brakemen rolled monitored down to Lime Street. On the way back the wagons were hauled up on a rope from a stationary steam engine. On July 30, 1842, work began on the route extension from the Ordsall Road for new Manchester Victoria Railway Station. After the opening on May 4, 1844, original station at Liverpool Street was closed.

Further development

Since the L & MR was one of the first railways at all, it was first necessary in the operation of many experiences are collected. There were few accidents, nearly always caused by the carelessness of the passengers. The L & MR led signals a: red for " stop", green for " caution " and white for " free ride ". Other railways in Great Britain and the United States followed in the early 1840s this example. Later, the now common color combination of red -yellow-green prevailed. 1845 was the L & MR on the Grand Junction Railway, which again a year later, part of the London and North Western Railway was.

The original route is still in operation today, but its importance has declined. The further south running, built by the Cheshire Lines Committee in 1873 route via Warrington has a much larger volume of traffic. Today, operate on the L & MR hourly fast trains from Northern Rail between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly and on to Manchester Airport. Northern Rail also operates an hourly free regional train, which stops at all stations. This offer is supplemented between Liverpool and Earlestown by an hourly free local train on to Warrington. Between Warrington, Earlestown and Manchester also run hourly local trains Arriva Trains Wales, who come from Chester and the North Wales Coast Line ago.