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The Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR) was the world's first intercity passenger railway in which all the trains were timetabled and operated for most of the distance solely by steam locomotives.
The LMR was primarily built to provide faster transport of raw materials and finished goods between the port of Liverpool and mills in Manchester in north-west England.
Read the series of articles about The Liverpool and Manchester Railway from One Hundred Years of British Railways in The Engineer here:
The initiative to build the Liverpool and Manchester Railway came from Joseph Sandars and William James and subsequently, a group of Lancashire businessmen, led by Charles Lawrence, Lister Ellis, Robert Gladstone, John Moss and Joseph Sandars asked George Stephenson to build them a railway between Liverpool and Manchester.
The first means to give better communication other than by road, between Liverpool and Manchester, was the improvement of the river Mersey, then navigable from Liverpool to Runcorn so that boats could sail eastwards as far as Warrington. This work was sanctioned in 1694.
By the Mersey and Irwell Navigation Act of 1720, the Irwell also was improved so that it was available westwards to Warrington. There was, thus, through waster communication between Liverpool and Manchester. The route taken was, however, so circuitous that boats followed a course of from 30 to 40 miles to cover a distance of no more than 20 to 25 miles. Moreover, there was rarely a sufficient depth of water in the summer, whilst in the winter the floods prevented navigation.
1755 Sankey Brook was canalised to improve navigation, but was unsuccessful due to flooding, and the crooked course taken by streams. These difficulties were however solved by the cutting of a new canal.
The next step towards improving communication between Liverpool and Manchester was taken at the Manchester end in 1759. The then Duke of Bridgewater obtained powers to construct a canal from his collieries at Worsley to Manchester. The distance was only 7 miles, but the roads were impossible, and the Mersey and Irwell Navigation, would not reduce its charge of 3s. 6d. per ton, even though the Duke volunteered to provide his own boats. His canal was opened on July 17th, 1761 and in the following year he secured a Bill to make a canal from a junction with the Worsley Canal at Lingford Bridge, Manchester to Runcorn.
1822 September 23rd. Announcement of intention. 
1824 20th May. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company was founded. It was established by Henry Booth, who became its secretary and treasurer, along with other merchants from Liverpool and Manchester.
1824 December 10th. Notice about the sale and transfer of shares not being authorised. 
The initial survey for the line was carried out by William James and Robert Stephenson and, being done surreptitiously and/or by trespass, was defective. Robert departed for South America and William James became bankrupt.
In 1824 George Stephenson was appointed engineer in their place. By this time, he was taking on too much. As Robert was absent, George (who could not do the calculations required, and had relied on his son for this part of the business) left checking the survey to subordinates.
1825 In January, John Urpeth Rastrick was engaged by the promoters along with George Stephenson, Mr. Sylvester, Mr. Brunton, Philip Taylor, Mr. W. (now Sir W.) Cubitt, James Walker, Nicholas Wood and others, to visit the different collieries in the North of England, with a view of experimenting and reporting upon the tram-roads, and engines at work upon them. For this purpose a series of experiments was made with the locomotive engines on the colliery tramways at Killingworth and Hetton. Their recommendation was that a combination of locomotive with stationary power should be used; but their Report was replied to so effectively by Robert Stephenson and Joseph Locke, that the celebrated Rainhill trials were instituted, and the locomotive system was fully established.
1825 February 11th. Business in Parliament. 
1825 Marge 2nd. Business in Parliament. Long report on debate. 
1825 June 21st. Notice about the rejection of the Bill. 
1825 July 1st. Editorial / Leader in the Times newspaper. 
1825 July. The bill presented to Parliament was rejected 
1825 December. Charles Lawrence is Chairman and 25 members of the committee are named. Long and detailed response published to the problems that caused the first application for an Act to fail. 
1826 May. The Bill was passed. In Liverpool 172 people took 1,979 shares, in London 96 took 844, Manchester 15 with 124, 24 others with 286. The Marquess of Stafford had 1,000, giving 308 shareholders with 4233 shares.
Upon presentation to Parliament in 1825 it was shown to be inaccurate (particularly in relation to the Irwell bridge), and the first Bill was thrown out. A key opposition figure in this had been G. H. Bradshaw, one of the trustees of the Marquess of Stafford's Worsley estate, which included the Bridgewater Canal.
In place of Stephenson, who was now in disgrace, the railway promoters appointed George Rennie and John Rennie as engineers, who chose Charles Vignoles as their surveyor. They also set out to placate the canal interests and had the good fortune to be able to approach the Marquess directly through the good offices of their counsel, Mr. Adam, who was a relative of one of the trustees, and the support of William Huskisson who knew the Marquess personally. Implacable opposition to the line changed to financial support, a considerable coup.
The line was officially opened on September 15th, 1830. The Mechanics Magazine for September 25th, 1830, gave an account of the ceremony, from which the the following description of the return journey from Manchester is extracted:
"The 24 vehicles thus left, behind were now formed into one continuous line, with the three remaining engines at their head and at 20 minute past 5 o'clock we set out on our return to Liverpool. The engines not having the power, however, to drag along the double load that had devolved upon them at a faster rate than 5 to 10 miles an hour -- once or twice only, and that but for a few minutes, did it reach the rate of 12 miles an hour -- it was past 8 o'clock before we reached Parkside, the scene of Mr. Huskisson 's melancholy accident. Here the engines again stopped for water and a good deal of time was wasted in the operation. Proceeding onwards we were met on the Kenyon embankment, by two of the missing engines which were immediately attached to the three which had drawn us from Manchester. It would be superfluous for us to inquire how it was that we happened to be deprived of the assistance of these engines since, instead of now accelerating out progress, they seemed actually to retard it. We went still slower than before, stopping continually to take water -- query, to take breath -- and creeping along at a snail's pace till we reached Sutton inclined plane, to get up which the greater part of the company were under the necessity of alighting and making use of their own legs. On reaching the top of the plane we once more took our seats and at 10 o'clock we found ourselves again at the company's station in Crown Street, having accomplished the distance of 33 miles in 4 hours and 40 minutes"
The passenger service was opened two days later - on September 17th, 1830 - and for goods traffic on December 14th. 
In 1836 the locomotive department of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway considered that, in view of the increased speed of passenger trains, it might be desirable to reduce the piston velocity by shortening the stroke. Eleven passenger engines of the standard 2-2 2 type were built by Tayleur, R. and W. Hawthorn, and Mather, Dixon, with cylinders 14in. diameter by 12in. stroke, instead of the 12in. by 16in. and 12in. by 15in. cylinders which were then generally used. There does not appear to be any record of the actual performances of these engines in their original condition. Edward Woods (Observations on the Consumption of Fuel and the Evaporation of Water," in Tredgold's "Steam Engine ") stated that their use coincided with an extravagant increase in coke consumption, but added that it was erroneously attributed to the mechanical disadvantage of the short stroke. The slide valves on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway at this time had no lap, and the steam was not worked expansively. The engines were certainly not a success; the short stroke was abandoned and no more were built. Robert Stephenson ("Proc.," Inst. C.E., 1849) stated that these engines consumed too much water. 
1840 They were running 11 trains a day in each direction with fares for a single journey ranging from 6s 6d to 4s 6d.
In 1797 William Jessop suggested that a tram-road to be worked by horses should be laid down between Liverpool and Manchester, and he surveyed a route. The following year Benjamin Outram made another survey for the line, but nothing came of either proposal.
The credit for the earliest practical scheme is due to William James, who drew up a plan in 1821, based on a preliminary survey, for a “Line of Engine Railroad from Liverpool to Manchester,” in which he succeeded in Joseph Sandars, a Liverpool merchant, who became one of the most active promoters of the line.
The first survey, in which Vignoles took part, was very imperfect, and a second one was made in 1822, with the assistance of Robert Stephenson. Soon afterward, owing to ill-health and financial embarrassments, James became incapable of proceeding further with the matter, and it was put in the hands of George Stephenson.
The committee of 29th August 1824 consisted of: Charles Lawrence, John Moss, Robert Gladstone, Joseph Sanders, Lister Ellis, Thomas Shaw Brandreth, Robert Benson, H. H. Birley, Joseph Birley, Henry Booth, James Cropper, John Ewart, Peter Ewart, William Garnett, Richard Harrison, Thomas Hedlam, Isaac Hodgson, Adam Hodgson, Joseph Hornby, John Kennedy, Wellwood Maxwell, William Potter, William Rathbone, William Rotheram, John Ryle, Thomas Sharpe, John Wilson.
1830 Eight locomotives, constructed at the Stephenson works, were delivered for the opening of the line:
|Engine No.||Name||Built||Builder Detail|
|?||Northumbrian||1830||Robert Stephenson and Co|
|26||Liver||1832||Edward Bury and Co|
|28||Caledonian||1832||Galloway and Co|
|32||Experiment||Sharp, Roberts and Co.|
|36||Swiftsure||1835||George Forrester and Co|
...to be completed