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The history of the Midland railway online

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the sea and 500 feet below the summit of the mountain through
which it pierces. This stupendous engineering task was accomplished
by working at each end and from seven intermediate shafts. The
strata of the mountain consists of grit stone, limestone, and shale,
and although sufficiently hard to require blasting, it was not stable
enough to avoid the necessity of lining this tunnel with brickwork.

Proceeding at this high elevation for 1 1 miles to the Ais Gill signal-
box, 1,167 feet above the sea-level, the line passes en route over Dent
Head Viaduct, a little way beyond the Blea Moor Tunnel. This
Dent Head Viaduct consists of ten arches, is 596 feet long and
100 feet above Fell End Gill, which it crosses. During the next
17 or 1 8 miles the works continue to be of the severest character. A
very good general idea of their value and extent may be gathered from
the fact that in this distance are included forty-seven cuttings, amount-
ing in length to 2 J- miles ; five viaducts, whose combined length is half
a mile, and from 50 to 145 feet high; four tunnels, whose united
length is over a mile, and in several places are 140 feet below the
tops of the hills. In addition to all these very costly structures there
are sixty-eight road bridges, from 10 to 50 feet span, and 100 culverts,
from 2 to 10 feet wide, together with a vast amount of lesser work.
After traversing the Dent Valley for two miles the line passes to the



right, and by means of a long tunnel through Rise Hill it emerges in
Garsdale. It runs along this valley as far as the Moorcock Inn,
where it soon passes over Ais Gill Moor,
which is the summit of the line, the
rails being at this point no less than 1,167
feet above the level of the sea. The rail-
way then runs several miles down Maller-
strang, which is the commencement of the
valley of the Eden, but owing to the rapidity
of the fall of the valley, the line skirts the
hill on the western side and passes over the
Birkett Fells, and afterwards over the North
Eastern branch line to Tebay by means of
the Smardale Viaduct. Just before reach-
ing Crosby Garrett Station, Crosby Garrett
Tunnel and Viaduct are encountered. The
tunnel is through grit and limestone, and is
followed by a cutting 176 yards long and
65 feet deep; the viaduct is 270 feet long
and 53 feet high, having six arches of 38 feet
span. Here heavy cuttings follow, and then
High Gisburn Viaduct, also of six arches,
after which Helen Tunnel is reached. One
of the cuttings at this point is 500 yards in
length and no feet deep.

Soon after passing the Ais Gill signal-box
the line practically descends continually by
gradients of i in 100 for about 15 miles to
Ormside Viaduct. At Crowdundle Beck
there is a viaduct of 50 feet high, a tunnel
at Cudgarth 800 yards long and 100 feet
deep, and another tunnel 200 yards long
under the west bank. At Eden Lacy the
line crosses the Eden on a viaduct, and
south of Lazonby there is another short
tunnel of 100 yards. There are also two
short tunnels in Eden Brow Wood, closely

followed by the Armathwaite Viaduct, Dry Beck Viaduct, and an
enormous embankment containing over 400,000 cubic yards of earth.

The gradients become less severe from Ormside Station to Carlisle.
There are many wild and picturesque scenes along this route, and
in winter, when the snow and wind prevail, constant care and watch-


fulness are necessary to keep the line from being snowed up. Snow
ploughs are maintained at convenient points, and vast barriers have
been constructed to hold back the drifting snow. When the wind
blows its fiercest, in some of the most exposed parts of the line and in
narrow gorges, it materially affects the speed of trains and frequently
makes the use of two engines an indispensable necessity.

The contractors for the formation of the road met with many
unexpected difficulties, which were altogether unprovided for in their
contracts with the Company. So serious and costly were these items
for exceptional expenditure that during the progress of the works the
contractors communicated the fact to the directors, that if they were
to construct the line for the sum originally specified they would be
completely ruined. Mr. Edward Shipley Ellis, who was Chairman at
this period, and the Board, supported by the whole body of share-
holders, determined that the work must proceed with unabated vigour ;
that as certain very costly work must be done which could not be fore-
seen even by the engineers or by the contractors, it must be and was
paid for at a fair and reasonable rate as between the contracting parties.
That determination was boldly and plainly announced by Mr. Ellis to
the shareholders, and he emphasised his views by his strong conviction
that they must at all costs adhere to that which was fair, reasonable,
and right as between man and man.

Mr. Ellis placed the whole of the facts from a business point
of view before the half-yearly meeting of the shareholders on
February 22nd, 1876. He said: "The expenditure upon the Settle
and Carlisle line has very much exceeded the estimates. At first
the directors were sanguine that the line might be constructed for
^2,200,000; in fact, they believed that that would be the case even
after the contracts were let. But the contractors had no sooner got the
work in hand than they found the cost would be far beyond their
anticipations. Very soon the Board had to take the first contract
for the first section of the line out of the hands of the contractor and
carry it on themselves. With regard to the other three contractors for
the second, third, and fourth stages of the line, if the Board had not
under the exceptional circumstances of the case assisted them very
largely beyond the amount of the contracts, we believe they would have
been ruined. The circumstances were altogether exceptional ; there was
the enormous rise in wages and materials, and the natural difficulties of
the country through which the line passed. The result was that up
to December 3ist, 1875, ^3,330,000 had been expended on the line,
and another ^137,000 would be further required, making a total of
3 467,000 for 72 miles of double rails and 8 miles of single rails,



forming the Hawes branch. The works were extremely substantial ; in
fact, there is not a more perfect line of railway in the world."

It ought to be recorded that the engineer for this great undertaking
was Mr. Crossley, who for the long period of forty-two years honour-
ably filled the position of Engineer to the Company. On his retirement
from his onerous duties he still remained, at the request of the
directors, Consulting Engineer, in order that the Settle and Carlisle
extension might be completed under his personal supervision. When
this, his greatest and most gigantic task, was at length accomplished,
Mr. E. S. Ellis, the Chairman of the Company, at the half-yearly
meeting of the shareholders on August i2th, 1875, paid a graceful
tribute to the exertions and abilities of Mr. Crossley, who would,
he said, always be remembered as being identified with the most in-
teresting episodes of the line, and especially as having carried out

(Built for the Scotch Express Trains).

this, the greatest work since the formation of the Midland Railway

At Carlisle the Midland has constructed a goods station for its own
traffic, but for passenger traffic it uses the North Eastern rails, leading
to the Citadel Station, which is the joint property of the London and
North Western and Caledonian Railways.

Commenced in November, 1869, the Settle and Carlisle line was not
opened for goods traffic till August 2nd, 1875, an< 3 for passenger traffic
on May ist, 1876, thus having taken six years to complete.

A party of directors and officials of the Company inspected the line
previous to its opening for passenger traffic. The interesting party
included Mr. Ellis, Chairman, son of the notable John Ellis who
took the reins when they fell from the hands of King Hudson and
inaugurated the policy that saved the Midland system. There was
the veteran Sir Isaac Morley, who rocked the cradle of more than
one of our early lines ; there was Mr. Allport, after forty-five years'
experience, combining the enterprise of youth with the wisdom of


age ; there was Mr. Carter, who for many years had charge of all
the Midland Bills in Parliament, and of whom it is said that he never
lost a Bill ; and there was Mr. Thompson, the Vice-Chairman ; Mr.
Mappin and Mr. Thomas, directors ; Mr. Crossley, the late Engineer ;
Mr. Johnston, his successor ; Mr. Saunders, the Architect ; Mr. Gratton,
and others.

" Finis coronat opus ! " was said to be the ejaculation of Mr. Crossley,
the Engineer, when the party reached Carlisle; and the opinion generally
expressed was that, next to the London and Bedford line, the Settle
and Carlisle was the greatest and most vital of the developments of
that bold policy of extension by which the Midland has triumphed
over the schemes of its eastern and western rivals.

For the through goods traffic to Scotland the Midland is a joint
owner of the goods traffic lines in combination with the Caledonian,
Glasgow, and South Western and London and North Western Com-
panies, thus placing its goods traffic in direct communication with the
Scotch railway companies.

The through trains between the Midland system and Scotland were
originally formed of the Midland Company's carriages and Pullman
cars ; but as this necessitated the Glasgow and South Western and
North British Companies having to pay the Midland large sums for
carriage hire, it was decided that from July ist, 1879, the trains should
be composed of carriages and vans which compose the Midland
Scotch joint stock and are the tri-joint property of the Midland,
Glasgow and South Western, and the North British Companies in
equal shares, and the vehicles are distinguished by the letters. "M.S.J.S."

This arrangement continued until July ist, 1899, when it was partly
modified, and further alterations were made in 1900, the effect of
which is that the splendid new corridor trains which are running
from St. Pancras to Glasgow are the joint property of the Midland,
and Glasgow and South Western Companies only, and carry the
initials "M. & G.S.W."; while the trains for the Edinburgh traffic are
owned by the Midland and North British Companies, and the vehicles
are marked " M. & N.B." However, the locomotive power for working
the joint trains has always been provided by each Company over its
own system.


As the Midland Company have the largest financial interest in the
Forth Bridge, which is owned by a separate company, some details
regarding this structure, which is one of the engineering wonders of
the world, ought to be here recorded. The Forth Bridge, which


greatly improved the railway communication between the Midland
and other lines in England and the north of Scotland, was practically
forced on the Midland, the North British, the Great Northern, and
North Eastern Companies. But although owned by an independent
company, the bridge is worked and maintained by the North British

An Act for the construction of a bridge across the Forth at
Queensferry was obtained in 1873, but the work was not proceeded
with : and in 1882 another Act was obtained, and in 1883 the building
of the bridge was commenced. The capital of the Company amounted
to ; 2 >3 2 5) 000 with .774,999 of debenture stock, the total amount
received being .3,048,333. The financial difficulties were met from
the first by a guarantee of 4 per cent, perpetual dividend by the follow-
ing companies in the proportions named :

Per cent.

Midland . . ... 32^

North British . ... 30"

Great Northern . . . i8|

North Eastern . . . . i8|


The structure was completed and opened by His Royal Highness the
Prince of Wales on March 4th, 1890. Mr. M. W. Thompson (afterwards
Sir Matthew), the Chairman of the Midland Company, was also Chair-
man of the Forth Bridge Company at the formal opening of the bridge,
which was attended by eminent engineers from all parts of the world.

The main facts were admirably set forth by the Prince of Wales in
his speech on the occasion, when he said :

" I had the advantage, nearly five and a half years ago, of seeing the
Forth Bridge at its very commencement, and I always looked forward
to the day when I should witness its successful accomplishment.
(Cheers.) I may, perhaps, say that in opening bridges I am an old
hand. (Laughter.) At the request of the Canadian Government
I performed the ceremony, thirty years ago, of opening the Victoria
Bridge over the St. Lawrence at Montreal, putting in the last rivet,
the total of rivets being one million. To-day I have performed a
similar ceremony for the Forth Bridge, but on this occasion the rivets
number nearly eight millions instead of one million. The construction
of the bridge has been on the cantilever principle, which has been
known to the Chinese for ages, and specimens of it may be seen like-
wise in Japan, Tibet, and the North-West Provinces of India. Work
of this description has hitherto been carried out on small dimensions,
but in this case the engineers have had to construct a bridge in 30
fathoms of water, at the height of 150 feet above high-water mark, and
crossing two channels, each one-third of a mile in width. Had it not
been for the intervening island of Inchgarvie, the project would have


been impracticable. It may, perhaps, interest you if I mention a few
figures in connection with the construction of the bridge. Its extreme
length, including the approach viaduct, is 2,765 yards, ii of a
mile, and the actual length of the cantilever portion of the bridge
is i mile and 20 yards. The weight of steel in it amounts to 51,000
tons, and the extreme height of the steel structure above mean water-
level is over 370 feet, above the bottom of the deepest foundation
452 feet, while the rail-level above high water is 156^ feet. Allowance
has been made for contraction and expansion and for changes of
temperature to the extent of i inch per 100 feet over the whole
bridge. The wind pressure provided for is 56 Ibs. on each square foot
of area, amounting in the aggregate to 7,700 tons of lateral pressure
on the cantilever portion of the bridge. About 2 5 acres of surface will
have to be painted with three coats of paint. (Laughter.) As I have
said, about eight millions of rivets have been used in the bridge, and
42 miles of bent plates used in the tubes about the distance between
Edinburgh and Glasgow. Two million pounds have been spent on the
site in building the foundations and piers, in the erection of the super-
structure, on labour in the preparation of steel, granite, masonry,
timber, and concrete, on tools, cranes, drills, and other machines
required as plant; while about two and a half millions has been the
entire cost of the structure, of which ^800,000 (nearly one-third of
this amount) has been expended on plant and general charges. These
figures will give you some idea of the magnitude of the work, and will
assist you to realise the labour and anxiety which all those connected
with it must have undergone. (Cheers.) The works were commenced
in April, 1883, and it is highly to the credit of everyone engaged in
the operation that a structure so stupendous and so exceptional in its
character should have been completed within seven years. (Cheers.)
The opening of the bridge must necessarily produce important results
and changes in the railway service of the east coast of Scotland, and it
will, above all, place the valuable manufacturing and mineral producing
district of Fife in immediate communication with the south side of the
Firth of Forth. When the Glenfarg line, now nearly completed, is
opened for traffic, the distance between Edinburgh and Perth will be
reduced from 69 to 47 miles, and instead of the journey occupying, as
at present, 2 hours and 20 minutes, an express will be able to do it
in an hour. (Cheers.) Dundee, likewise, will be brought to within
59 miles of Edinburgh, and Aberdeen 130 miles, and no sea ferries
will have to be crossed. (Cheers.) The construction of the bridge
is due to the enterprise of four important railway companies (i) North
British (the bridge is in its district), (2) North Eastern, (3) Midland,
and (4) Great Northern, and the design is that of two most eminent
engineers, Sir John Fowler and Mr. Benjamin Baker. The contractor
was Mr. William Arrol, and the present Tay Bridge and the bridge
which I have inaugurated to-day will be lasting monuments of his
skill, resources, and energy. (Cheers.) I have much pleasure in
stating that, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, the Queen
has been pleased to create Mr. Matthew William Thompson, Chairman
of the Forth Bridge Company and of the Midland Railway Company,
and Sir John Fowler, Engineer-in-Chief of the F^orth Bridge, baronets of


the United Kingdom. (Loud cheers.) The Queen has also created,
or intends to create, Mr. Benjamin Baker, Sir John Fowler's colleague,
a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George
(cheers), and to confer on Mr. William Arrol, the contractor, the
honour of a knighthood. (Cheers.) I must not allow this oppor-
tunity to pass without mentioning the valuable assistance which has
been rendered to the companies by Mr. Wieland, their able and inde-
fatigable Secretary, who deserves especial praise for the admirable way
in which he has carried out the important financial arrangements
essential in a scheme of such magnitude. (Cheers.) Before con-
cluding, I must express my pleasure at seeing here Major-General
Hutchinson and Major Marindin, two of the inspecting officers of the
Board of Trade. (Cheers.) Although in this country great under-
takings of the kind which we are celebrating this day are wisely wholly
left to the enterprise and genius of private individuals without aid or
favour from the State, yet, in connection with these particular works,
Parliament, I am informed, for the first time associated officers of the
Board of Trade with those practically engaged in the construction of
this magnificent bridge from its commencement by requiring the Board
of Trade to make quarterly reports to be laid before Parliament as to
the nature and progress of the works. This most important and
delicate duty has been performed by Major-General Hutchinson and
Major Marindin, and I now congratulate them on the completion of
their responsible duties, which they have carried out in a way that
redounds credit to themselves and to the department which they so
ably serve. (Cheers.)

The Midland representatives in the Forth Bridge Company at present
are Sir Ernest Paget and Mr. W. U. Heygate, who has had a seat on
the Board since it was first constituted.


As long ago as the year 1859 the Lancashire and Yorkshire
Company obtained power to swallow up the "East Lancashire"
Railway, an independent undertaking extending from the Midland
at Colne to Liverpool, and also to Manchester.

The Midland Board saw the importance of maintaining open
communication, and therefore obtained running powers for its own
engines and trains over the East Lancashire section. On June ist,
1880, the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company opened its new line
from Chatburn to Hellifield, and the Midland opened its new station
at Hellifield, and the through traffic was exchanged at that station.
However, as the point of junction had been transferred from Colne,
the Midland secured powers to run from Hellifield, under which, since
August ist, 1888, the Company works its own engines and trains to
the " Exchange" Station at Liverpool, and to "Victoria" at Man-
chester, and thus, by means of its running powers, round Manchester


to the Ancoats Junction, thence over the Sheffield and Midland
joint railway to Marple and New Mills, where once again the Midland
Railway is joined. Thus it will be seen that the wisdom of the
Midland Board in securing the powers over the East Lancashire
in 1857 has now had the effect of giving a complete alternative
route extending from Ambergate Junction to Hellifield, where it forms
a very valuable feeder to the Settle and Carlisle Railway, and fully
accounts for the desire of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company
that the new route to Carlisle should not be abandoned.

Although the Midland Company's main trunk line terminates at
Carlisle, it is also interested as joint owner in a piece of joint railway
in Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbrightshire extending from Castle Douglas

(Midland and Glasgow and South Western).

to Stranraer and Port Patrick. By means of using the Glasgow and
South Western route as far as Castle Douglas the Midland obtain
access to the joint property at Castle Douglas, and have direct
communication with Lame, Belfast, and the north of Ireland.

Originally the Port Patrick Railway Company, as long ago as
August loth, 1857, obtained powers to construct a line from Castle
Douglas to Port Patrick and to build a harbour at the latter port.
The harbour works were duly formed, but so great was the violence
of the sea at this wild and unprotected coast that the works were
gradually undermined and completely wrecked. It afterwards became
necessary to construct a short branch line to Stranraer in order to
make that the point of arrival and departure.

Here at Stranraer, Loch Ryan furnishes a splendidly sheltered
harbour, the northern end of the Mull of Galloway forming a great
natural breakwater to the fierce force of the Atlantic and the Irish
Sea. The Wigtownshire Company, which was formed in July, 1872,
constructed a branch from Newton Stewart to Wigtown, and after-



wards to Whithorn. These two companies terminated their existence
by virtue of an Act of Parliament as from August ist, 1885, when
the whole of the companies' lines and branches, comprising 82
miles of line, together with all their rolling stock and other property,
were transferred to the Port Patrick and Wigtownshire Joint Com-
mittee. This body is composed of two representatives from each
of the following companies, namely, the Midland, the London and
North Western, Caledonian, and Glasgow and South Western Railways,
to whom the whole of the property jointly belongs, the capital being
provided in equal proportions. All the four companies send their
through carriages over this railway, but the locomotive power is
provided by the Glasgow and South Western and the Caledonian

(Midland and Glasgow and South Western).

Companies, so that the engines of the Midland and London and
North Western Companies are never seen on the system.

This Joint Committee, soon after coming into possession, set to
work to greatly alter and improve its property ; more especially was
this the case at Stranraer, where very handsome and convenient
transfer stations for goods and passengers, as well as a most com-
modious harbour, have been constructed. Passengers pass directly
under cover from the trains to the steamers, the latter being powerful
and well-found vessels fitted with all the modern appliances. At
Larne, on the Irish side, an excellent landing-stage and railway
station combined has been built, so that splendid through communica-
tion is obtained between the Midland system and the whole of the
north of Ireland by the shortest sea route.



ANOTHER very important amalgamation scheme was announced
in the newspapers officially on October 2oth, 1877, at which
date it was stated that " negotiations were pending for the acquisition
of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway jointly by
the Midland and Great Northern Companies." It appears that
Colonel Buncombe, the Chairman of the Great Northern, viewed
with apprehension the large amount of capital being jointly invested
in the Cheshire Lines and the increased cost for working which the
Sheffield Company charged. He therefore came to the conclusion
that the best course to follow would be to get rid of the Manchester,
Sheffield, and Lincolnshire entirely, and he placed a proposal before

Online LibraryClement Edwin StrettonThe history of the Midland railway → online text (page 19 of 36)