In their June 1905 timetable, the Furness Railway announced the following new service would run from July 1st 1905:
“To meet the exigencies of the traffic upon their Branch Lines the Furness Railway Company have recently constructed at their Barrow workshops a Steam Rail Motor Car and Trailer, which will form an auxiliary or supplementary service on the Lake Side (Windermere) or Coniston Branches during the summer months and upon the Lake Side Branch in the Winter months.
The Car, which is of a handsome design, provides seating accommodation for twelve first-class and thirty-six third-class passengers, and a luggage compartment. Transverse seats have been arranged in both compartments, those in the first-class being upholstered in moquette and third-class in rattan. The Car is electrically lighted and heated with steam throughout. The Trailer is similarly fitted up and provides seating room for thirty-four third-class passengers, and will be attached to the Motor Car when there are more passengers than the latter can accommodate. The Car is sufficiently powered to haul a horse box in addition to the Trailer.
Owing to its large windows the Motor Car will afford the public the fullest opportunity for seeing the beautiful mountain, river, or lake scenery, when travelling on the Lake Side (Windermere) or Coniston Branches of the Furness Railway.
A Motor Car platform has been provided at Newby Bridge, which will enable Tourists and others who wish to make a stay there for fishing, sketching, etc., to do so without having to walk or drive from Lake Side Station.
The platform is charmingly situated, in full view of the picturesque falls of the river Leven, over the weir below the bridge; and in the Spring and Summer season – in fact at any time of the year – it should provide a most attractive stopping place for those on pleasure bent, and in search of the beauty spots of this delightful neighbourhood.”
PGW 07/15. From the June 1905 timetable (CRA Walker Collection)
July 31st 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the closure of Moor Row shed.
Moor Row's origins as a town came about as a result of the mining and railway interests that became established in the area. Both depended upon each other for trade and support, and the fact that a convenient junction was required for the two branches of the Whitehaven, Cleator & Egremont Railway (WC&ER) resulted in the beginnings of the settlement. The original railway company was quick to build a workshop and engine shed at Moor Row, and after the formation of the Joint Lines, a new engine shed was provided, based upon a design used by the Furness Railway at Whitehaven and Carnforth.
A four-road shed, it was made up of two separate sections, each spanning two tracks. This had a hidden advantage initially, when mining subsidence forced the LMS to demolish the northern section of the shed in 1946. A new external wall was built, but to no avail, as the effects of mining in the area proved too much, and the shed was closed in 1954.
The shed at Moor Row housed engines working the Joint Lines, and eventually provided motive power for the Cleator & Workington Junction Railway. Normally stocked with Furness engines and those of the late WC&ER, engines of other companies also appeared, notably the LNWR and L&Y. However, at the end of its days, most of the complement was made up of standard LMS designs, but more due to the scrapping of the pre-grouping types than for any other reason.
After the formation of the LMS, the shed was included in Workington (ex-LNWR) District No 32, and in 1935 the shed came under the Kingmoor group, taking the shed code of 12E.
PGW 07/14 (With help from Mike Peascod's article in the CRA Journal of August 2004)
Early in 1885 the Post Office put forward a proposal for an overnight postal service between London and Scotland and, after much planning with the railways involved, it commenced running on July 1st 1885. New vehicles were built for this service, all with corridor connections, some years before these were to appear on passenger trains. A crew of three railwaymen were on board (driver, fireman and guard), with about 30 postal officials.
The service became known as the West Coast Postal, having initially been known as the Up Special TPO and Down Special. Timings varied but a report from 1927 gives a good indication of its basic route north from London. It left Euston at 8.30pm, and besides the automatic “exchanging” of various mailbags along the route, it stopped at Rugby (for between three and five minutes), Tamworth (seven minutes), Crewe (13 minutes), where deliveries for Ireland were transferred onto the “Irish Mail” (which left Euston 15 minutes behind), and then Preston and Carlisle, arriving at about 3am.
From Carlisle, the train headed north to Beattock, where a compulsory stop for the assistance of a banking engine was required (again as reported in 1927). At Carstairs the train was divided, the front portion heading to Stirling, Perth and arriving at Aberdeen at about 8am, the rear going to Edinburgh, and the front to Glasgow, arriving at 5.25am.
If you lived in Aberdeen and wished to reply the same day to a letter received that morning, this was possible too. The return service left Aberdeen at 2.45pm (later extended to 3.40pm), arriving back in London at 4.15am in time for morning deliveries.
This TPO ran for many years, ceasing only in the mid-1990s.
PGW 07/13 (With help from G.P.Neale’s 19th Century reminiscences as recorded in the CRA Journal of February 2002)
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