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Furness Railway

(Note: Numbers in brackets refer to specific references)

The Furness Railway opened in 1846 running from Dalton to the new port of Barrow (which was fully opened in 1867). In 1862 the FR took over the Workington & Furness Junction Railway which operated between Whitehaven and Broughton-in-Furness. The FR built a line from Dalton around Morecambe Bay and via viaducts over the Leven and Kent estuaries, through Grange-over -sands, Arnside and so to Carnforth where it joined the line to Crewe. Then with the aid of the FR built a line from Carnforth to Wennington Junction giving access to Leeds and the East. A final link was from the line from Arnside to the west coast main line at Hincaster Junction, allowing North Eastern Railway coke trains to reach Barrow via Tebay. All of this was completed by 1870 and three years later Barrow-in-Furness built its first ship building yard.

The FR had a monopoly on the iron and steel traffic in the Furness area and carried a lot of freight in neighbouring West Cumberland. The main freight revenues on the FR came from minerals, coal and coke inwards, iron ore and pig iron outwards.

The most common wagon type was the two plank open, most being 8 ton capacity with a few ten tonners. These came in fixed-side, drop-side and even side-door versions. The line also owned a number of one plank fixed-sided wagons along with three, four and five plank side door wagons. The area around Barrow in Furness is one of the two places you get the very pure Hematite ore in Britain (the other being in Glamorgan), this ore resembles that supplied with the Graham Farish open ore hoppers and the Peco 'iron ore' load. It is kidney shaped and reddish brown in colour (most British iron ore is yellow, the pigment yellow ochre is actually powdered iron ore). The FR operated a number of side-tipping ore wagons of all-wood construction, a design which seems to have been peculiar to the line. Hoppers for coke and ore were common and the FR had quite a number of hopper wagons of various designs in its own livery. The coke hopper shown in Sketch XX was a standard item of stock but if you find the prospect of adding the coke boards and the additional corner strapping daunting they did have standard seven plank wagons fitted with coke rails as well. Coal was brought in in standard coal wagons and the FR had a number of coal seven plank coal wagons in its own livery. Slate was another major cargo, mainly hauled to the north and east, this was typically carried stacked on end in two or three plank wagons.

Goods body colour was grey, similar to LMS 'wagon grey', with the company initials F R in white about twelve to eighteen inches high in the usual places. I believe the wagon number was usually confined to the oval number plate on the chassis but in one or two examples it was painted in the lower left of the body side.

The Furness Railway passenger stock livery was blue, slightly darker than Humbrol 'oxford blue', lower sides and ends with white upper panels, non passenger coaching stock did not have the white upper panels. Locomotives were painted 'indian red'.

Fig___ Furness Railway


Reflections of the Furness Railway by C.R.Davey ISBN 0950992607 contains several useful photographs of FR rolling stock, recommended by FR enthusiasts as a 'good buy'.

The Furness Railway by K.J.Norman ISBN 1857940164

The Furness Railway by Robert W Rush,- Oakwood - 1973. History of the line, few photographs.

Furness Railway Locomotives & Rolling Stock by Robert W Rush,- Oakwood - Reprint

Companion volume to the Author's history of the line with scale drawings of both locomotives and stock.

The Cumbrian Railways Association has produced a number of publications dealing with the FR and is currently working on a single volume reference work as a handbook for members.


Membership Secretary

Cumbrian Railways Association

THE FURNESS RAILWAY TRUST reg charity owning locos and rolling stock

Available Models.

No specific models for the freight stock of this company have been found in N Gauge/2mm Scale, which is a pity as there were several interesting types in use.


Considerable thanks are due to Mr John Sewell of the CRA for his considerable assistance in the preparation of this article.

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