Tuesday, 19 March 2019

A Chapman Locomotive in Whitehaven

Local rumour around Whitehaven in Cumbria suggets that around 1812 Taylor Swainson 'invented' a locomotive engine called the 'Iron Horse' but that it broke the rails and  was laid aside. 

The Whitehaven News in 1929 published extracts from the diary/memoire of Mr Noble Steel, a Whitehaven printer, written in the 1890s:

"When I was quite a child, about the year 1812 a locomotive engine was running at Whitehaven, it was called the "Iron Horse" and was used for drawing waggons from the pits toward the harbour, and was invented and built by Mr. Taylor Swainson, engineer to the Earl of Lonsdale ... Mr Swainson took a holiday. Mr John Peile, the Earl of Lonsdale's colliery agent, being anxious to see the "Iron Horse" at work, sent to Newcastle and succeeded in engaging one of the first engineers ... to endeavour to set the wonderful machine in motion. This great man came and after a vast amount of study and labour he was obliged to admit that it was beyond his power; and there the ingenious contrivance stood still ... At lenght the inventor was himself again and the "Iron Horse" was in less than a week set in motion to the wonder and admiration of congregating thousands."

Folk-memory, perhaps but there is a grain of truth. John Peile was indeed the Agent to the Earl of Lonsdale and was certainly interested in locomotives. In March 1815 he wrote from Whitehaven to John Buddle at Wallsend (near Newcastle) enquiring as to the "results of your experiments in perfecting your Union Moving Steam Wagon" and requested to spend a week with him in spring to see the engine in action. In November 1815 he wrote again asking about any progress which had been made wtih the engine. 

It is possible Peile had seen the Chapman locomotive on a visit to the Lambton Railway, or perhaps one of the few other locomotives at work in the North East. On the back of this, on 20 November 1816 Peile ordered, via Phineas Crowther of the Ouseburn Foundry, Newcastle, a locomtoive from John Buddle, which used Chapman's patent bogeys in order to spread the weight of the engine over eight wheels rather than four.

A drawing of a locomotive built to Chapman's patent exists in Cumbria Records Office, dated 16 November 1814. It shows an eight-wheeled gear-driven locomtoive. It is signed P.C., presumably Phineas Crowther.

It is likely that the locomotive was either made in Newcastle, dismantled and re-erected in Whitehaven or was made in Whitehaven under the supervision of the Colliery Enginewright, Taylor Swainson. This would, of course, give rise to the local tradition that Swainson had 'invented' the engine. It should also be noted that Swainson was a friend of John Buddle, and that Buddle often visited Whitehaven in his capacity as Consulting Viewer.

The locomotive was first tried on the Croft wagonway in 1817, but despite being on eight wheels broke up the lightly laid rails. Despite this failure, the locomotive was not scrapped and was rebuilt as a stationary engine. It was taken to Distington Quarry, mounted on two stone pillars and used to work a winding drum which could be engaged or disengaged via a clutch so it could 'pump water, and draw out the stone inclinded planewise.' A drawing of the engine thus converted dated August 1818 shows the locomtoive to have had a single large flue through the boiler and two vertical cylinders set on the centre line, and partially sunk into the boiler, and mounted close together over the two crank shafts. The chimney has a large drum near its base, reminiscent of that of the 'Steam Elephant' by Chapman & Buddle.

The locomtoive was supposedly still in existance as late as 1877.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Hick's Patent Locomotive

C. F. Dendy Marshall in 1953 "A history of Locomotives down to the year 1831" includes on pp. 214-216  sketchy details of a locomotive built in Bolton by Messrs Rothwell & Hick of that town. He inclues a sketch by  Theodore West of a four-wheeled locomotive with a vertical boiler and horizontal cylinders driving the trailing wheels via a bell-crank.  Unusually the sketch shows the leading wheels to be smaller than the trailing, i.e. driving wheels, which Dendy Marshall suggets is in error. More of the wheels anon. 

Theodore West's sketch of Hick's Locmotive dated October 1833.

Rothwell & Hick was a partnership formed by Benjamin Hick (1790-1842) - the father of the Bolton engineer John Hick (1815-1894) - and Peter Rothwell. Hick was born in Yorkshire and was an alumnus of the 'Round Foundry' in Leeds of Fenton, Murray & Wood, the firm which had built the first commercially sucesful steam locomotives in 1812.

The earliest mention of the locomotive is in December 1830 in the Bolton Chronicle, whilst the Manchester Courier and other papers in the North West  carried a second article published a week later, verbatim from the Manchester paper (e.g. Liverpool Courier).  The Mechanics' Magazine (11 December 1830) cited the Bolton paper.

The Bolton Chronicle (4 December 1830) recounts:

"On Thursday last, we accompanied the new locomotive-engine, The Union, just completed by Messrs. Rothwell, Hick & Co of this town whilst making her first experiment upon the Bolton & Leigh Railway, and when running without any load other than her tender, she went at a rate varying from 20 to 30 miles per hours; and with a heavy train of loaded coal-waggons ... at the rate of 12 miles an hour. We ought to observe, that there was an inclination of 12 feet in a mile to overcome, as well as a very severe curve ... We were much pleased with the compact and neat appearance of this engine... the boiler being placed in an upright position, into which, we understand, Mr Hick has introduced a spiral flue, in order to expose as much surface of water as possible to the action of the heat..."

The Manchester Courier adds on Tuesday 7 December 1830 that the  trial took place on 'Wednesday evening' (and here is possibly in error) and that:

"The boiler is on a new principle, being placed upright... cylinders are horiztonal, and by a curious contrivance, a great saving of steam will be effected."

Other than the dates, the accounts describe a locomotive wtih a vertical boiler and horiztonal cylinders, the former having an unusual 'spiral flue.'

Francis Whishaw visited the Bolton & Leigh Railway in 1839 and notes that there was a locomotive called the Union, built by Hick in December 1830. It was a 2-2-0 with cylinders 9 x 18 inches. The leading wheels are described as being two feet smaller than the drivers.

But wait ... there's more. It transpires that Benjamin Hick took out a patent for a vertical boilered locomotive on 8 October 1834. It was a four-wheeled machine, with large driving wheels and smaller leading wheels (the design of wheel also being patented) -  the Tomlinson sketch of the Union also has unequal wheel sizes. The vertical boiler was certainly unusual with a 'water chamber of annular form' which had multiple verticle tubes passing through it to carry the combustion products and heat the water. In the centre was the domed 'water chamber', which was heated underneath, and by the tubes passing through it, and by the hot gases which circulated around it before exiting via the chimney.

Benjamin Hick's patent locomotive of October 1834.

The cylinders were vertical (unlike those of The Union) but remember the cryptic comment regarding the 'curious contrivance' which would effect a great saving of steam?

"There are three steam cylinders, all in a row... each of the cylinders is provided with suitable valves, and working gear, to admit the steam on the top only of each of the pistons, at the time of the descent of each, and to allow of its escape on their ascent. The bottom of the cylinders being open."

In the opinion of Hick, this improved the stability and adhesion of the locomotive,  and with horizontal cylinders prevented lateral oscillation, and would also create a saving in steam. Exhaust steam was directed into the chimney to help the fire draw. It is therefore possible that the Union had similar single-acting cylinders, mounted horizontally.

The final drive is reminiscent of a mill engine. There was a three-throw crank shaft, each throw set equidistant from each other to get a smooth transfer of power. Final drive was via a pinion gear on driven from the crank shaft working on a large toothed wheel mounted on the driving axle.

One question remains, are we dealing with or two locomotives? The Union was certainly built and taken into stock on the Bolton & Leigh and ran for at least nine years. It had an unusual vertical boiler. Theodore West's sketch is dated October 2nd 1833 (Dendy Marshall's fig. 92), twelve months before Hick was granted letters Patent. Dendy Marshall admits that he does not know the significance of the date. It is possible that the engine described in December 1830, sketched with a date of October 1833 and patented by Hick in 1834 are one and the same. Both had smaller leading wheels, unusual vertical boilers and cylinders. Whilst Hick's patent specification states vertical cylinders, Wests' sketch shows horizontal, which is confirmed by Press reporting. It is entirely probably that the date of October 1833 refers to a second experiment with a rebuilt form of  Union, a year before he took out letters Patent on a verical boilered, vertical cylinder locomotive, which used lessons learned from the Union.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Lion's Tale. Part 1

Lion at Steam Port museum, 1980.

 The following is the outline chronology for the locomotive Lion aka the Titfield Thunderbolt constructed from minutes of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway; minutes of the LNWR; records of the LMS; records of the Mersey Docks &  Harbour Board.

2 October 1837 Lion was one of ten locomotives ordered by the Board of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway on 2 October 1837, of which six were ordered from the enigmatic firm of Todd, Kitson & Laird of Leeds. Todd, Kitson & Laird had been in existence only a month when they were won a contract for six locomotives for upwards of £10,000. Interestingly, Henry Booth the General Superintendent of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway had in August reported to the Board of Directors he would speak to various locomotive manufacturers and one can’t help but feel his hand in the formation of TKL. Especially as that partnership was dissolved soon after the last of the six engines for the Liverpool & Manchester were delivered.

She was built to two patents: those of Robert Stephenson (1834) for a six-wheeled locomotive and John Melling (1837).

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Putting the Peacock into Beyer, Peacock

Richard Peacock  CE JP MP (1820-1889)
With the imminent return home of Beattie Patent Well Tank No. 30587 to Manchester, On Historical Lines looks at Richard Peacock (1820-1889). He was man who was guided through his life by his deeply-held Unitarian faith.

Born in Swaledale, Yorkshire on 9 April 1820 Peacock was eduacted at Leeds Grammar School to the age of 14. He was then apprenticed to the Leeds firm Fenton, Murray & Co. of the 'Round Foundry'. The firm was originally founded by Matthew Murray of Leeds in 1795. Initially building mill machinery and mill engines, they built the world's first practical steam railway locomotive in 1812 for the Middleton Railway  - the first railway built under an Act of Parliament (1758) and the world's first standard-gauge preserve railway. Other apprentices at Fenton, Murray & Co. included David Joy -progentior of the famous valve gear - and James Kitson who went on to establish Todd, Kitson & Laird, whose main claim to fame is that they built the famous 'Lion' (aka the Titfield Thunderbolt) for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1837. Togehter with James Kitson he would have attended Mill Hill Chapel during his time in Leeds.

 Peacock  married twice. He had two sons, Ralph and Joseph, by his first wife Hannah (daughter of his employer), then two daughters, Jane and Eugenie, and a son, Frederick, by his second wife Frances Littlewood. His eldest son, by then Colonel Ralph Peacock of the Manchester Volunteer Artillery, succeeded him at Gorton Foundry, and was himself succeeded by G.P. Dawson, the husband of Richard's daughter Eugenie. 'Peacok's Tree' in Gorton was planted by Richard to commemorate his wife.

Aged only 18, he was Locomotive Superintendent of the Leeds & Selby Railway in 1839, a post he held until 1841 when the railway was leased to George Hudson, the erstwhile 'Railway King.' Leaving Leeds, Peacockbecame personal assistant to the famous Daniel Gooch on the Great Western Railway, but left after only twelve months. He was then appointed as Locomotive Superintendent to the fledgling Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne & Manchester Railway which was then building the world-famous 'Woodhead Route' between Manchester and Sheffield. It wa Peacock who planned and laid out  the Railway Works at Gorton, on the north side of the line to Sheffield in 1845. Better known as 'Gorton Tank', it closed in 1966.

The original entrance to the Roundhouse at 'Gorton Tank' designed by  Richard Peacock

Together with Carl/Charles Beyer - the senior designer at Sharp, Stewart Ltd. of Manchester - he was present at the inaugural meeting of the Institute of Mechcanical Engineers; George Stephenson became the first President and Beyer the first Vice President. Two years later, Peacock became a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers.

When he left the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (successors to the SA&M) in December 1854, he was presented with a gift of six-branched silver candelabrum bearing the inscription:

"Presented, with other plate, to Richard Peacock Esq., on his Retirement from from the service of the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway Company, by the officers and servants of the company, and other friends,  in token of their high appreciation of the eminent professional talent and private worth manifested by him during the fourteen years in which he has filled the position of locomotive superintendent of the above company."

It was with Beyer and Henry Robertson that the world-famous partneship Beyer, Peacock & Co. was formed in 1854 - perhaps not the best time to start a Locomtive Building firm as Britain was embroiled in the Crimean War against Russia and international trade was deeply effected. This resulted in the firm getting into financial difficulties but were helped out by the then richest man in Britain, Sir Samuel Morton Peto. Between 1854 and 1963 Beyer, Peacock built over 8,000 railway locomotives, most of them for export, and were rightly known as 'Railway Engine Builders to the World.'

Whilst Beyer led the technical side of things, Peacock was the manager and financial guru. He was a life-long Unitarian, a faith which emphasises that of God within every person; the use of reason and science in understanding the world (and God); the freedom to believe what you can and tollerance toward those of differant beliefs. Unitarians also fiercely believe in equality and that heaven is a place to be built on earth, in the here and now. Famous Unitarians include Sir Isaac Newton, Rev Dr Joseph Priestley (Unitarian minister and discoverer of oxygen); Charles Darwin; Florence Nightingale and more recently Sir Tim Berners-Lee or Matt Groening (creator of 'The Simpsons').

Peacock was passionate that his workforce should be well-housed, laying out a model village for his employees at 'Gorton Tank'; he also provided a free school which was not only free of charge but free from any doctrinal test for admission, unlike, say, Anglican Schools. He also provided a free library; was President of Gorton & Openshaw Mechanics Institute. He was first Chairman of the Gorton Local Board in 1863;  and laid the foundation stone for the new Local Board offices (on the corner of Hyde Road and Kirkmanshulme Road) in May 1865. Although a very rich man, he lived modestly in Gorton at Gorton Hall. His staff were identified through the wearing of peacock feathers in their caps. As manager of Beyer, Peacock he had an 'open door' policy and if wany workmen had a dispute, they were to come directly to him in person. He was very much a 'hands on' manager with little time for 'middle management.' He believed in self improvement, 'found pursuasion and self-help much stronger than coercian'. He worked a minimum of a twelve hour day and had 'often set up untiltwo or three o'clock in the morning' 'devoting all his spare time and money to lectures and reading, to subscriptions to Mechanics' Institutions and Libraries, and the purchase of books and plans.'

Gorton as it appeared in 1905; the tower and spire of Brookfield Church are prominent.

In 1869 he laid the foundation stones of the magnificent Brookfield Unitarian Church on Hyde Road, built to replace the old 'Chapel in Vale' built by the Unitarians in 1703. Completed in 1871 at a cost of £12,000 Brookfield was dedicated 'To the Worship of God and the Development of Education.' The Peel of eight bells are each named after one of his childre. Peacock also paid for the three-manual pipe organ. He was a supporter of the Unitarian cause in East Manchester, and laid the foundation stones of Denton Unitarian Chapel on Wilton Street in 1875.

Peacock was a local Magistrate and later Liberal MP for Gorton; as Magistrate he often paid the fines of those unable to pay and let off foundrymen from Beyer, Peacock who had been found drunk as he understood the harsh conditions in which they worked. When he died in 1889, Gorton lost it's Town Father.

Brookfield Untiarian Church, Gorton. Thomas Worthington, 1869-1871.

Peacock is commerorated by a bronze plaque on the north transept of Brookfield Church, unveilved in new year 1890 and by the lavish Peacock Mausoleum at the West End of Brookfield Church, where his son Colonel Ralph Peacock (1838-1928) and Joseph (1839-1875) are also laid to rest, together with other members of the family.

The Peacock Mausoleum, designed by Thomas Worthington of Manchester

Gorton Hall, where Peacock spent so many years was demolished in 1906; only a lodge remains. Beyer, Peacock closed in 1963 and some of the works buildings still stand. Brookfield Church and grounds stand as the lasting legacy and reminder of Richard Peacock, a man described by his workers as


Thursday, 23 February 2017

Who drove Rocket?

Rather like the tenuous, or indeed fictional claims, that just about everone's grandad or great uncle "drove the Flying Scotsman", so too were there various claims as to who drove Rocket, both at Rainhill and at the opening day.

James Nasmyth (of Steam Hammer fame) who witnessed the events of the opening day of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway in September 1830 states in his autobiograpgy that George and Robert Stephenson were her crew.

"I was much entranced by seeing it make several short trips under the personal management of George Stephenson, who acted as engineman,  while his son Robert acted as stoker. During their trips of four or five miles along the line, The Rocket attained a speed of  thirty miles an hour- a speed then though almost incredible!"

That said, Nasmyth says he saw Rocket performing for the public on the 12 September (before opening day) and that he took the opportunity to sketch Rocket - when in fact what he sketched was Northumbrian. A confusion which in the 1880s (and to some, ever since, who enjoy conspiracy theories)  to conclude that there were in fact two Rocket locomotives.

Other claimants have included Sir Charles Fox - but men from the Stephenson Company soon demolished his claim almost as soon as he had made it in the early 1850s.

John Dewrance, latterly Locomotive Superintendent of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, is also cited as having driven Rocket.

 George Stephenson certainly drove her at least two occasions on the 'Public Relations' trips tun by the Liverpool & Manchester in Summer 1830.

So if her regular driver was none of these worthies, then who?

The usual claim of Rocket's first driver is Mark Wakefield. Robert Stannard claims that Mark Wakefield drove Rocket at Rainhill - and that he in fact was put on the wooden barrel of the tender (and was literally stuck on as the varnish was wet). Mark Wakefield also left a commentary supporting his claim as to have driven Rocket, at least in service noting that when she came to the Whiston Incline they had to stop her, tie down the safety valve, open the regulator, jump off, and walk up beside the engine and jump back on at the right moment to stop her.

One letter writer  ("J. H. H.") to Bell's Weekly Messenger (29-11-1851) supports the idea it was Mark Wakefield who drove Rocket at Rainhill:

"Ralph Hutchinson, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, assisted to construct The Rocket at that place, and attended it to Liverpool, where he was invested with the management of it by the late Mr Robert Stephenson, with Mark Wakefield as his assistant, and Robert Hope as fireman, Ralph Hutchinson being at all times responsible for the efficient working order of the engine."

John Wakefield - brother to Mark? - was the driver of No. 6 Venus and later No. 11 Mercury.

The three earliest drivers on the Liverpool & Manchester were John Dunn, Robert Hope and Mark Wakefield who ‘ballasted with the Lancashire Witch’ whilst ‘the works were still in progress.’Mark Wakefield was certainly driving Rocket it was engaged on permanent way duties pulling ballast trains (from December 1829) and it was probably Wakefield who was driving when on 28 October 1830 Henry Hunter, a local publican, who had developed a habit of hitching a ride home on the footplate 'despite the repeated remonstrances of the engine-man' fell off and was killed.

Of the fitters sent with Rocket to both Killingworth and Rainhill was Edward Fletcher, latterly CME of the North Eastern Railway and one Thomas Atkinson who was in his nineties at the turn of the twentieth century.

Other claiments to the title of Rocket's driver are Joseph Bell (c.1812-1895) who had a railway career of fifty  years, on the Liverpool & Manchester, SECR and then the District Railway his obituary claiming that

"he was, in youth, engineer of the first locomotive ever constructed - George Stephenson's Rocket. He ran the Rocket at fifteen miles an hour on average; reach 29 miles an hour and on one occasion 35 miles an hour."

The final claim is from Edward Entwistle (1815-1909); he had been an apprentice to the Bridgewater Trust(at the age of 11) and he claims he volunteered to be George Stephenson's assisant, and was latterly driver of Rocket and made one round trip per day driving her - despite that fact that Rocket was obsolete by the time of opening,  was only ever used as on slow permanent way duties and as a 'stand-by engine'. It is doubtful that she ever turned a wheel in revenue earning servivce. Entwistle says:

"I managed the Rocket all right and go to know every joint of her.We spent that Saturday in gettig the Rocket ready and on the Sunday we got Steam up, and George Stephenson and myself took her out ... for a trial run before the big trip which was to be made on the Monday... I was to do the firing and driving and Stephenson was to stand by me all the time."

Elsewhere his memory is clearly faulty as he claims Rocket had a 100psi boiler, with the boiler pressure regularly at 60 or 80 psi. Entwistle claims that no driver could be found for Rocket for the opening day, that the others had shied off. So what had happened to Wakefield, who was clearly an experienced man? Probably he was sick, but Entwistle implies that only he had faith in the steam engine, that it was not going to blow up -  which is at odds with the fact that Mark Wakefield and Robert Hope were experienced enginemen and had worked together for over a year. Entwistle's account suggests that he was an emergency stand-in for a sick man, and he was clearly driving under supervision.

Furthermore, Entwistle claims he was on the footplate of Rocket, driving under the supervision of George Stephenson. Entwistle here is in error: Stephenson was on the footplate of Northumbrian and his driver was Thomas Creed. Joseph Locke and Mark Wakefield were on Rocket. The inquest into Huskisson's death - which Entwistle claims to have witnessed - states that it was Locke who was driving with Wakefield probably firing. There is no mention of Entwistle on Rocket. Furthermore, Entwistle claims to have driven Rocket back to Liverpool after the accdient. Entwistle's version of events were reported  from the 1890s up to his death, at the end of a very long life: as historians know the further in time an account is removed from the events they purport to report, the less reliable they are, and are often coloured with a sense of self-importance and influenced by what the memorialist has read or has been told. Furthermore, there is also the phenomenon of 'false memory' where someone recalls an event that they may have been told about, but were never involved in.  He also cannot decide in differant interviews whether he was apprenticed to Robert Stephenson & Co. or to the Bridgewater Trustees; he also makes the spurious claim he was involved with building Rocket, in either Manchester or Newcastle. Where Entwistle's account has a grain of truth is the unstable ride qualities of Rocket  because of her diagonal cylinders.

Entwistle's claim was belittled almost as soon as it appeared in the engineering press: "R.B.P." writing to The Engineer in September 1909 notes his claim was 'ludicrous': 'It is at all likely that Stephenson would displace the regular driver of "Rocket", and put an inexperienced boy on the footplate? Is it resonable to suppose that Stephenson had at that time a pick of drivers, and thateven had the supply fallen short, he would have appointed a fireman, not an absolute novice.' The same source, quoting The Morning Herald suggets the driver of Rocket was called White, rather than Mark Wakefield.

The probability is,  therefore,  that Mark Wakefield was the first and regular driver of Rocket - the Liverpool & Manchester operating a One Driver/One Locomotive policy; that he drove her at Rainhill but on the opening day, for some reason, was probably ill. Therefore an emergency substitute had to be found,in the shape of Edward Entwistle, who's story has probably grown with the telling.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Rocketing Along

Why was Rocket called Rocket? And why was it yellow?

 The usual answer is because it was named after Congreve's war rockets. But, would naming a new technology after an engine of destruction - and one which was notoriously unreliable: the Duke of Wellington said he'd only use them to burn down a town - the best way of selling the railways to a sceptical and nervous public? Probably not.

"The Rocket" alias the "Rocket" was a famous express coach, running from Cheapside in London, to Portsmouth,via the circuitous route of Reading, Basingstoke, Winchester and Southampton. It ran six days per week carrying eight inside passengers and four outside. It started running c.1805 and continued to ply it's trade carrying Navy Officers and the "smart set" for "the season" well into the 1830s. It was perhaps the most well known express coach - and considered the fastest - at the time of the Rainhill trials - and was a name which would have been familiar to many who visited, especially those from London. It was as if Stephenson was trying to say "my Locomotive is just as a good, and as safe, as this road coach. Trust me."

But why yellow? Again, the answer comes from stage coaching. The fastest and "smartest" stages were painted yellow and black. We know George Stephenson had Rocket painted yellow at Crown Street "in stage coach style". Painting Rocket yellow was the equivalent of giving it red go-faster-stripes: to the late 1820s mind-set yellow meant speed, efficiency, safety. Rather as today all red cars go fast, thanks to Mr Ferrari.

And the white chimney? Because the colour white meant cleanliness - the "look at how clean and smart this locomotive is", says the white paint "no dirt. no smoke". Again, re-assuring sceptics that the new railways would not be a nuissance, especially given the Liverpool & Manchester Act stipulating locomotives could not make smoke.

What of the other entrants? Well, there was a "Sans Pareil Coach" which ran out of Liverpool all the way to Hull, whilst the "Novelty" ran from London to Birmingham.

A Matter of Class

The Liverpool & Manchester, in introducing coaching stock and it's fares, unsurprisingly based them on existing Stage-Coach ideas. "First" class meant express, for inside passengers. Second-class was a coach - or in this case a train - which stopped at all the intermediate "stopping places". The Liverpool & Manchester also followed Stage-Coach practice by providing accommodation for "Inside" and "Outside" passengers. On a Stage-Coach the outside passenger sat on the roof, but this was not a safe practice on the railways so entire coaches - and trains - for "outside passengers" who paid a reduced fare were also introduced. They were referred to the by Company as the "Blue Coaches" (from their colour).

Class - a matter of comfort, speed... or Both?

But it would be a mistake to say that the enclosed yellow "First Class" coaches were first-class only; whilst they provided the same level of accommodation as a Stage-Coach for "Inside Passengers", we have to remember that Stage Coaches provided both a "First Class/Express" and also setting down service. Entire trains were run of differant types of accommodation and whether they were Express or "setting down".

The timetable for June 1839 makes this distinction quite clear

By first-class train, four inside, Royal Mail Coach 6s 6d
By first-class train, six inside, Glass Coach 6s
By first-class train, six inside, Curtain Coach 6s
By second-class train, six inside, Glass Coach, 6s
By second-class train, Open Carriages 4s 6d
In other words, there were three levels of "First Class" ie Express accomodation: by the Mail Coach (of which the L&M had three) which sat four per compartment; by "Glass Coach" which sat six per compartment and by the semi-open "Curtain Coach" which had a glazed central compartment but the two end compartments had leather curtains to keep out the elements, for those passengers who wished to travel at First Class speed, but in an open coach.

If we turn to second class trains, there were two levels of accommodation: the "Glass Coaches" seating six per compartment, fully enclosed or by Open Carriages (each compartment sitting eight).
"First Class" and "Second Class" - not such a matter of accommodation, more of speed.