First-class carriage. Liverpool and Manchester Railways. c.1830

"The Liverpool and Manchester, opened in 1830, was one of the first to rely also entirelyupon steam traction,and one whereon traffic was reckoned as important as, if not more important than, goods. Accommodation was provided for first-, second- and third-class passengers, and our picture illustrating one of the earliest first-class carriages on the line clearly shows how the earliest designs were based upon the traditional style of a stage coach. The experienced coach builders were called upon to provide railway carriages, and one can readily imagine the 'Traveller' carriage as three stage-coach bodies in one. The principal difference between road and rail coaches is that in the latter no accommodation was provided for outside passengers -- somewhat naturally, in view of the smoke and sparks emitted by the early locomotives; but tradition was continued in that outside seats were provided for the guard, and luggage was loaded on to the roof. This latter practice was combined for many years on railways; but it became recognized as a source of considerable danger, in that sparks from the engines could lodge among the various packages and cause fires. The earliest railways had no station platforms as we know them today and passengers had to clamber up from ground level by the rather primitive steps. As crinolines were still in vogue at the time of the earliest railways, climbing up must have been something of a feat for the ladies." [pp. 109-110]


Nock, O. S. Steam Railways of Britain in Colour. "The Pocket Encylopaedia of World Railways." Illustrations by Clifford and Wendy Meadway. London: Blandford Press, 1967.

Last modified 11 September 2004