The Ulverstone and Lancaster Railway - The Challenge of Morecambe Bay, by Leslie R. Gilpin

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The Ulverstone and Lancaster Railway - The Challenge of Morecambe Bay, by Leslie R. Gilpin
Book published by the Cumbrian Railway Association in 2008, 96 pages. Large A4 size softback (N7291)

Brand New Book

From the introduction: The railway from Ulverston to Carnforth has always held a fascination for me. I was born within sight of the viaduct across Ulverston Canal, and indeed the canal itself, and lived my formative years either within sound of Britannias and Black 5s making their way along the Capeshead embankment, or alongside that great embankment itself. Walks to the village station as a toddler meant different things, depending on whom I was with. With my grandfather it meant a look around the goods yard, in the 'Furness Supply' depot and a stop for a chat with the staff in the booking office; he'd been the village postman and knew everybody. With my mother it was a train ride to Ulverston, Barrow or occasionally Lancaster; tickets bought through the ticket window with the polished wooden barrier to hold back the queue of others waiting to buy. With my father a more exciting train ride would be in store, a weekly runabout ticket taking us to Blackpool, Morecambe, Lakeside for a trip on Windermere, and even to South port. On occasions we went further afield - to Bradford, changing at Carnforth (Lucozade in the buffet) and being shunted around at Wennington. Now, tickets were bought from within the booking office with its high desks and photographs of the station in its fading Victorian glory. Why was it the menfolk bought their tickets from the 'inner sanctum' but the ladies queued outside?

The goods yard went before I had chance to really discover its secrets, and the steam trains, whistling as they passed through the cutting west of the station, soon followed. Shortly afterwards, visits to Barrow inspired a different aspect to the fascination - I was sent to the library to occupy my time whilst mother did her shopping. Here a request for 'railway books' resulted in McGowan Gradon's work on the Furness Railway - a work quickly absorbed by the curious 11-year-old. Here I came to learn, if only briefly mentioned, of the Ulverstone and Lancaster Railway, the very railway running past our house. One thing leads to another, as the saying goes, and this book is the result.

I hope that in this work I can share some of that fascination. Of the determination of various men over a period of thirty years to achieve what was seen as impossible - a railway across Morecambe Bay. The impact it had on the peoples of North Lancashire and the seaward end of Westmorland as the gentle, green shores of the bay were replaced by a great, monumental, white snake as the railway embankments wound their way across the great estuaries of Leven and Kent. Suddenly, overnight, the passage of coaches, pedestrians, cattle and horses across the sands from Lancaster to Ulverston stopped, replaced by the iron horse. Despite 150 years of change, the spirit of Wordsworth's recollection holds true, if you only care to look.
Contens include:

The Challenge of the Bay
Railway Mania
The Ulverstone & Lancaster Railway
Industrial Development
People & Places
Stations & Sidings
The Viaducts
Ulverston, its Environs & Industries
Train Services
Epilogue - A Use for Morecambe Bay?