Cover photo: Employees from both the Passenger and Goods departments pose on the Up platform at Pontardawe station c. 1910. The cameraman was facing towards Swansea; the station signalbox can just be seen behind the man with the shunting pole on the far right of the photograph. The person sitting third from right, with both a wyvern and ‘MR’ on his hat, appears to be the Station Master. In 1900, the occupant of this post was, perhaps unsurprisingly, a Mr. Jones. The number of Goods Department staff in the photograph indicates that this was the predominant type of traffic on the line. The main employer in Portardawe was Gilbertson’s Iron and Tin Plate Works, while there were also a number of collieries in the immediate area. [T. Watkins collection]
Back cover: The back of a four page leaflet of Vebruary 1885 aimed at the visitor from the United States of America. The front page gives a brief description of the Midland Railway’s facilities and comments on features to be seen along the toute from Liverpool to London and the surrounding districts. The second and third pages contain a number of vignettes of tourist locations. As will be seen, this particular page gives the times and trains between Liverpool and London and details of sailings of the ‘Guion Line.’ Note that the Midland would put on a special train from Liverpool for 50 or more First Class passengers on receipt of a telegram from Queenstown. Records show that the Guion Steamship Company went into voluntary liquidation on 20th February 1900.
Cover photo: A rare photograph of a Sentinal-Cammell railcar at the Ripley Branch platform at Langley Mill in 1925. Judging from the number of railway employees in the photograph, it would appear that this was one of the first trial runs. See under ‘Comments on items in previous journals’ for further information about these trials.
Back cover: Another reminder of the centenary of the Grassington Branch in this handbill which advertised the new services commencing on Wednesday 30th July 1902. It is possibly unique in showing connections from no fewer than 39 stations on the Midland system - a feature that probably took some time to compile and then check when the proof was returned from Bemrose. Although it is dated 25th July, the reference in the bottom left shows that the 5,000 copies ordered were not produced until the 29th July, which may have resulted in some stations not receiving their copies until the opening day.
Cover photo: An atmospheric view of Armathwaite station, looking north, around the turn of the century. The ladies on the Down platform have quite a number of baskets; perhaps they are taking their local produce to Carlisle to sell at the market. The signalbox, which was opened on the 14th July 1899, replacing the original 1875 structure, controlled a couple of lie byes and quite extensive goods facilities. No photograph of the station in the pre-grouping days appears to be complete without a number of cattle wagons in the siding adjacent to the Down platform. [Cumbrian Railways Association Wilson-Mitchell Collection]
Back cover: On 1st July 1903 the Midland took over the Belfast & Northern Counties Railway. Fourteen months later it introduced fast steamer services to both Belfast and Londonderry from its new port at Heysham. This advertisement is from an illustrated booklet about the facilities offered in Ireland following these two events. The B&NC leased the Northern Counties Hotel at Portrush — formerly known as the Antrim Arms &mdash in 1883 and purchased it in 1891. It was primarily for high-class tourists, and was extended a number of times. The Station Hotel at Belfast, which was subsequently renamed the Midland, was opened in November 1898 at a cost of £16,000. The smoke room on the ground floor was used for the bi-annual shareholders' meetings. The Laharna Hotel at Larne was opened in 1903, replacing an earlier structure that burned down two years earlier, and was a base for the ‘all-in tour.’ The management of the hotel passed to the NCC in 1909. [G. Waite collection]