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Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway

(Note: Numbers in brackets refer to specific references)

The L&Y grew out of the Manchester & Leeds Railway, changing its name after a series of amalgamations in 1847. Connecting Lancashire and Yorkshire via the Pennines this company linked Liverpool and Manchester with York & Goole, and also served Bolton, Wigan, Blackpool and Lytham, Barnsley, Bradford, and Huddersfield. It purchased both the East Lancashire Railway and the West Lancashire Railway. As with many pre-grouping lines they operated several ferry services, in this case to Ireland, jointly with the LNWR and also (after 1902) on their own behalf. The L&Y were joint owners with the LNWR of the North Union and Preston & Wyre Railways and thus gained access to Preston and Fleetwood docks. They enlarged the docks at Fleetwood to handle timber, grain, and fish traffic and also benefitted (after 1925) from the chemical industry based on the nearby salt mines. The L&Y were the principal users of the port of Goole in Yorkshire, operating a number of passenger and goods ferry services to the continent. The line handled a great deal of freight traffic, notably cotton and wool from Liverpool docks to feed the mills in Manchester and Yorkshire, but also coal, iron and steel products from the Wigan area. The line from Liverpool to Southport was electrified for passenger traffic using the third rail system in 1904 and they also installed overhead electrification between Bury and Holcombe (later changed to third rail) but electric traction was not used for goods traffic The L&Y operated an intensive service within its area earning itself the title of 'the business line' and was one of the few larger railway companies which did not seek a direct link to London. The LYR fought hard for its independence but finally amalgamated with the LNWR just before the Grouping of 1923. This was the first company to use Thomas Edmonson's new 'tickets' for passenger travel in the late 1830's, eliminating the complicated writing out of the customers name in duplicate.

Prior to about 1902 the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway used a nine foot wheelbase chassis for their goods stock but in 1902 they introduced a number of designs based on a twelve foot wheelbase chassis, twenty one feet six inches over headstocks. This chassis had twin V hangers on one side with a single V hanger offset toward one end on the other. In 1910 the L&Y introduced a chassis with a ten foot six inch wheelbase and a length over headstocks of twenty one feet. Again this design featured their twin V hangers on one side with a single offset V hanger on the other. On these chassis unfitted stock had visible push rods connected to the brake blocks but fitted stock had clasp type brakes with the push rods running under the chassis..

Goods stock body colour was mid grey with white lettering, some stock seems to have been rather a dark grey in service. Up to about 1903 the only marking on the sides of the vehicles was the 'illiterate symbol', a small white circle containing a white triangle with the 'point' to the top. The circle and triangle logo was usually quite small, perhaps six inches in diameter. After that date the initials L Y were used, usually eighteen inches high (smaller on low sided vehicles). Numbers were painted on the sides and ends of vans, in the upper left in lettering six inches high. After about 1910 vacuum fitted vans had the large white V marking as shown. Open wagons relied on the cast registration plate for their number and simply had L and Y on the sides. Open wagons also carried a metal plate about ten inches by six inches on their sides stating 'load to be evenly distributed' in three lines with load on the top line and distributed on the bottom.

Brake vans had all black bodies with white lettering and usually had their home depot marked in the centre of the body side. The L&Y brake van sides were clad with iron sheeting to increase their weight, the ends of these vans were horizontally planked.

Tarpaulins were originally marked with a mix of white and brown diagonal stripes, this is well illustrated in Lancashire & Yorkshire Wagons Vol.1 (see references). After the First World War the company adopted the then common layout of initials above number above small initials in white against all four sides of the sheet.

Gunpowder vans were buffer-beam red with white lettering and the cast notice plate required by the RCH rules on the door was also painted white. Fish vans, which handled the considerable traffic from Fleetwood, were initially painted a very light green, almost white, but soon changed to all white. The lettering on these vans was black in both cases.

Coaching stock was painted in the two tone passenger livery of light brown or tan upper panels (often described as a brownish orange) and 'carmine lake' (a dark rather brownish red) lower sides. The ends were 'dark umber' which I believe is a dark yellowish brown darker than the upper sides. The L&Y was unusual in that the lower body colour on the coaches was brought right up to the bottom of the windows, covering the area known as the 'waist'. Some, possibly all, non passenger coaching stock was also painted in this two tone passenger livery (as described in article 1 'The Milk Train' (Railway Modeller Jan 2001) on L&Y four wheeled milk vans). The lettering was gold (transfers) or golden orange (paint) (4)

Fig ___ L&Y
L and Y

The little one plank open wagon is sixteen feet long and represents a type introduced in the 1880's and built up to about 1920. Several of these lasted into BR service. The body is the top plank from a Peco wagon kit shortened and mounted on a nine foot wheelbase timber chassis with a floor of 1mm scribed card. These were probably the most common type of wagon on the L&Y throughout the companies existence. To allow the linking of the brakes under the wagon both handles were at one end, this arrangement was changed in at about the time of the First World War to right handed brakes on each side. The L&Y modified the V hanger on the Morton pattern brake to avoid patents (although Mr Morton was himself an L&Y employee).

The slightly longer wagon has a body seventeen feet long mounted on a nine foot wheelbase chassis. The model uses the top of a Peco open wagon body mounted on a floor of 1mm scribed card. The chassis is a Peco ten foot type modified as shown in the drawings.

The small van has a nine foot wheelbase and the sides are only five feet nine inches high. The body is a Peco 'ventilated van' with new sides, the roof was shortened by cutting in the centre as this is covered by the tarpaulin and the body was shortened by removing 1mm from each side of the V hanger. The sides of the chassis were then filled with Milliput to represent wood. The drawing is based on an original by Ken Werret in the Feb 1978 RM and shows the vacuum braked version, note the V on the upper right and the clasp type brakes. As I didn't have a suitable chassis my model is the 'unfitted' version. Note the roll-back cover is on one side only.

The two vans on the twelve foot chassis date from about XXXX, the models are based on cut-down Peco fifteen feet wheelbase chassis modified as shown in the section on Kit Bashing. The body uses the ends from a Peco 'ventilated van' kit, the roof from this kit is cut in half and used for the new roof, the gap being filled by the roll--back canvas covering. The roll-back is on both sides, there is a timber beam running along the inside of the roof supported by the triangular end supports.

The large end-door wagon was built in about 1900 for steamer coal traffic but as this declined after the First World War they were used for general goods traffic.


(1) Lancashire and Yorkshire Wagons, Vol. Noel Coates, Wild Swan Publications, 1990

Deals with open goods wagons and covers livery with lots of good photos. The drawings are mostly reduced size versions of official diagrams, unfortunately some of the text on these is too small to read.

(2) Lancashire and Yorkshire Album. by Noel Coates and Martin Waters, Ian Allan, 1971 Mostly deals with locomotives and coaching stock but has some good photographs of goods vehicles.

(3) Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway miscellany by Noel Coates, Oxford Publishing Co., 1983 Mostly locomotive photographs but has some goods stock illustrations and a couple of interesting 'yard scenes'.

(4) Historic Carriage Drawings Vol. 3 Non Passenger Coaching Stock compiling editor Peter Tatlow - Pendragon Partnership - 2000 A really useful book containing scale drawings and photographs with potted histories and details of livery for a wide range of rolling stock, mostly pre-grouping designs. Highly recommended.


Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Society

Available Models.

No specific models for L&Y freight stock have been found in N Gauge/2mm Scale.


Considerable thanks are due to Ken Carter and Noel Coates, both of the L&YR Society for their advice and assistance in the preparation of this article.

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