The Liverpool and Manchester Railway

The Crown Street station of Liverpool and Manchester Railway. “Painted by T. T. Bury, engraved by S. G. Hughes.” Source: Muir's Bygone Liverpool, Plate 87.

Text accompanying the engraving

THIS station, or railway office, as it was called, was at Crown Street, and was the first passenger station in Liverpool. Omnibuses conveyed passengers from the centre of the town free of charge, to the station, where the train (without a locomotive) was waiting. The train was then hauled through the Crown Street tunnel by an endless rope, worked by a stationary engine at the Moorish Arch, situated a little beyond the other end of the tunnel, and on arrival there a stoppage was made to detach the rope, to hook on a locomotive, and to allow more passengers to join the train. When the tunnel to Lime Street was completed (in the year 1836) the station at Crown Street was closed for passenger traffic, and used only for coal traffic, and the trains were worked through the tunnel by an endless rope until June 1870, after which date locomotives passed to and fro through the tunnel. By an unfortunate error Bury, in his valuable book of " Coloured Views on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway," published in 1831, describes this picture as a view of the station at Wapping. But among the Underhill MSS. in the Liverpool Free Public Library is an old engraving of the same scene by another artist, which some one (probably Underhill) has endorsed correctly as a view of the station at Crown Street, Liverpool.

The first sod of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was cut on Chat Moss, in June 1826, and the railway was opened on September 15, 1830. The first prospectus issued to the public estimated that a capital of £400,000 would be sufficient for the undertaking. A second prospectus, issued a year later, raised the amount to £510,000; but when the line was opened £820,000 had been expended, and within twelve months after the opening day the sum of £1,000,000 had been reached.

The first public train ran from Liverpool to Manchester on September 16, 1830, carrying 130 passengers, and accomplished the journey of 31 miles in one hour and fifty minutes. It returned to Liverpool the same day with 120 passengers and three tons of luggage, in one hour and forty-eight minutes. The time included two stoppages each way for water and fuel. The fare for this journey was 7s. each way, which compared with 10s. to 12s. inside and 7s. outside charged by the stage-coaches, and the time compared with from four to five hours which the stage-coaches took to perform a single journey. A few months later the fare was reduced to 5s. each way for the best carriages, and to 3s. 6d. for carriages without seats. [88]

Formatting and text by George P. Landow. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Internet Archive and the University of Toronto and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.

Related Material


Muir, Ramsey. Bygone Liverpool illustrated by ninety-seven plates reproduced from original paintings, drawings, manuscripts, and prints with historical descriptions by Henry S. and Harold E. Young. Liverpool: Henry Young and Sons, 1913. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of Toronto Library

Last modified 13 January 2013