Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


Blackpool & Lytham Railway Bill, 1861

Newspaper report concerning the Blackpool & Lytham Railway Bill, 1861.

 The Preston Guardian,Saturday, March 9, 1861


(From our own correspondent.)
House of Commons Wednesday.

The select committee appointed by the House of Commons to inquire into the merits of the bill to authorise the construction of a line of railway between Blackpool and Lytham met this morning, Mr. Ingham in the chair. The other members of the committee were Sir E. Lacon, Mr. F. North, Mr. Collins, and Mr. Hardcastle.

Mr. Sergeant Wrangham and Mr. Milne appeared for the promoters of the bill, against which a petition had been presented by the London and North-Western Railway Company, as part lessees of the Preston and Wyre Railway ; but virtually there was no opposition.

The bill recited that the making of a railway between Blackpool and Lytham would be of great public advantage, and proposed that the following gentlemen, with others, should be incorporated into a company under the name of the Blackpool and Lytham Railway Company :— Messrs. John Talbot Clifton, Thomas Langton Birley, Charles Swainson, Edward Chippendall, Robert Rawcliffe, Thomas Barham Foster, Nicholas Earle, Hugh Birley, Daniel Lee, John Swainson, Charles Low Swainson, Henry Newsham Pedder, and John Webster.

The capital of the company is fixed at £45,000, in 4,500 shares of £10 each. £2 per share is the greatest amount of call, and two months at least must elapse between the successive calls, and two-thirds of the amount of the share shall be the utmost aggregate amount of the calls made in any one year upon any share. The company are also authorised to borrow on mortgage sums not exceeding in the whole £15,000, but no part of that sum is to be borrowed until the whole of the share capital shall have been subscribed, and one half paid up.

The first directors of the company nominated in the bill are Messrs, J. T. Clifton, C. Swainson, T. L. Birley, E. C. Milne, James Fair, and Robert Rawcliffe. The qualification of a director is the possession in his own right of shares to the aggregate nominal amount of £500. Powers are also given for the compulsory purchase of land, to be exercised within three years, and the railway must be completed within five years of the passing of the act.

The company are authorised to demand tolls for the use of the railway, as follow :—

Class 1 : For the carriage of manures, lime, chalk, limestone, and undressed materials for the repairs of roads or highway, ld. per ten per mile, with 4d. per mile additional for the use of the company's carriages, and a further sum of 4d. per mile if propelled by one of the company's engines,
Class 2 : For coals coke, stones for building, ironstone, iron ore, &c., 1
d. per ton per mile.
Class 3 : For fish, sugar, grain, sour, hides, earthenware, timber, &c., 2d. per ton per mile.
Class 4: Cotton and ether wools, hops, drugs, manufactured goods &c., 3d.
Class 5 : For every carriage not adapted or used for travelling on a railway, and not weighing more than a ton, 4d. per mile.
Class 6 For horses, mules, asses, or other beasts of draught or burden, 3d. per mile.
Class 7: For oxen, bulls, cows, or neat cattle, 2d.
Class 8 : For calves, pigs, sheep, and lambs,
½d, per mile.

The company also take powers to charge tolls for a less distance than four miles as for four miles and for every fraction of a mile beyond four or any further number of miles as for a mile. Tolls for small parcels to be as follow :—Any parcel not exceeding 7lb, 4d. ; exceeding 7lb, and not exceeding 14lb, 6d. ; exceeding 14lb, and not exceeding 28lb, 9d. ; exceeding 28lb, and not exceeding 56lb, 1s. ; and when in excess of 56lb, and not in excess of 500lb, the company shall demand any sum they think fit.

The maximum rates to be charged by the company are—1st class 3d., second 2d., third 1½d. per mile ; and the maximum rates for goods are--Class 1, 1½d; class 2, 2d. ; class 3, 3d. ; class 4, 4d. For a carriage in class 5, not weighing more than one ton, 6d., and 1½d. a mile additional for every quarter or fractional part of a quarter of a ton above one ton, Animals in class 6, 5d. a head per mile ; in class 7, 2d. ; and in class 8, ½d.

Mr. Sergeant WRANGHAM, in opening the case said the bill would not occupy any considerable portion of the time of the committee. It was a small bill for a little line between two watering places on the coast of Lancashire. It was entirely promoted by persons locally interested, and he believed that the greatest landowner it the district, who owned three fifths of the land proposed to be taken for the railway, was one of the promoters of the bill. In short there was an intimate intercourse between the two places which were to form the two extremities of the line, and, as the railway touched nowhere else, he thought it was scarcely possible to found an argument upon which any opposition to the bill could be offered.

Blackpool and Lytham were watering places the coast of the Irish Channel to which the manufacturers and operatives of the populous districts of Lancashire and Yorkshire resorted in the summer season for fresh air and salt water. The large traffic came principally by the Preston and Wyre line, which had branches both at Lytham and Blackpool, and with reference to that traffic the bill did not in the slightest degree seek to interfere with it. On the contrary, the more traffic brought by that line to Lytham and Blackpool and the better pleased the promoters of the bill would be, inasmuch as they themselves would have a larger number of passengers to carry. He was informed, that at present, notwithstanding the want of railway accommodation there was annually a large passenger traffic between Blackpool and Lytham ; that in short the people who visited either place for fresh air and pleasure were anxious to see as much as they could of the country, and all along the coast and sands were very fine, and the water deep at all states of the tide.

The funds for the construction of the line would be found by those who were locally interested. The line itself would only be about 7½ miles in length ; it would pass over land which could be procured very cheaply being sand hills only worth from £6 to £7 per acre, consequently the cost of the line would not be very extravagant. The estimate was £40,000, and the proposed capital was £45,000 with the usual borrowing powers. The works would be extremely light, and there would be no level crossing.

There was at the present moment, to a certain extent, a railway between the two towns, that was to say, there was the Blackpool link of the Preston and Wyre Railway. which joined the main line at Poulton, and turned off again at Kirkham for the Lytham branch. But that was obviously not a mode of travelling that people would select for passing between two towns only seven miles apart. The distance they would have to traverse if they did was about eighteen miles and there were many stoppages. At present not one in fifty travelled by that route, but went along the high-road by omnibuses, of which there were several, and cabs, At the same time, there was no doubt, that all would take the railway if it were more convenient and direct. As to other sources of traffic there would be the conveyance of goods and of agricultural produce and of manures and of other means of raising agricultural produce.

It would not be desirable to detain the committee with details as in point of fact there was only one opponent before the committee. That opponent was the London and North Western Railway Company, but he could not help hoping that on reflection they would feel that it was an act of cruelty to bring their tremendous power to crush the little line of railway. He would for a moment call the attention of the committee to the position in which the London and North Western Company stood in reference to the bill. They were the joint owners, with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, of the Preston and Wyre line, and consequently of that part of the line which at present afforded a circuitous means of communication between Blackpool and Lytham. But they were only owners of one third of the line having 33 shares and a third, the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company, their partners having the remaining 66 and two thirds. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Company, however, were quite content that the bill should pass.

How far, under these circumstances, the committee would feel inclined to give to the junior partner in the firm a right to be heard in the name of the firm when the senior partner was acquiescent, was another matter, or even how far, supposing both parties were petitioners, the committee would feel disposed to give them a locus standi. He need scarcely remind them that the right to be heard on the mere ground of competition was entirely within the discretion of the committee, inasmuch as the standing orders provided that they should " if they think fit," admit parties to be heard on the ground of competition. If the opposition were really persisted in he thought the committee would agree with him that this was not a case in which that discretion should be exercised in favour of giving to the great company a locus standi.
Mr. BLENKINSOPP, solicitor to the London and North Western Railway : Perhaps it may save the time of the committee if I state at once that the London and North Western Company do not intend to oppose the preamble of this bill.
Mr. SERGEANT WRANGHAM said he understood the apposition of the London and North Western Company arose in consequence of their not being included in an agreement for the working of a new line when established. The promoters thought it unreasonable that they should be fettered in that manner, especially as they could make no agreement of importance without coming again to parliament for its sanction. The question could only arise if ever the promoters of the bill should feel it necessary to come to parliament for powers in reference to the working or leasing of their line. The learned sergeant then proceeded to call
Mr. THOMAS BARHAM FOSTER, who said : I am engineer of the proposed railway, and the line has been laid down by me. The construction of it will be very easy. It is very nearly level, and runs along the sea shore. I have estimated the cost of construction at £40,000. It would open out, a portion of the Lancashire coast which is admirably adapted for sea bathing, especially the centre part —about midway between the two towns, which is a part of the coast to which there is no access at present either by railway or by road.

There is very great want of accommodation for sea battling in Lancashire. In the summer months persons visit the coast in large numbers and many of them have to sleep where they can—in outhouses and bathing machines—anywhere they can find cover. The great bulk of the visitors come from the populous towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire. I caused an estimate of the amount of passenger traffic between Lytham and Blackpool to be taken last August, and found that it averaged 350 each way per day. I did not take the railway communication, nor a second road which exists but upon which there is very little traffic. I stopped at the Half Way House, and took the average there. The length of the proposed railway is about 60 yards short of 7½ miles.
The room was then cleared, and, on the readmission of the public.
The CHAIRMAN declared the preamble of the bill proved. The various clauses were then agreed to, and the Chairman was ordered to report the bill to the House.