Barrai Books

The Furness Railway - A History

...was published early in 2012 with a launch at Barrow Town Hall, by invitation of the Mayor, Cllr John Murphy. The book has earned much praise among railway historians and local readers. It fills a gap in the modern histories of pre-grouping railway companies. For local people the pages carry many significant records of the evolution of Barrow as a town, a port and a centre of Victorian industrial expansion following the arrival of the first railway in 1846. Copies are still available, price £25 post free to UK addresses.

The Furness Railway

Writing an introductory chapter in Furness Railway 150 – a Cumbrian Railways Association publication of 1996 to mark the 150th anniversary of the FR – Michael Andrews remarked that, in some ways, the Railway's was a story of missed opportunities. Twice the chance for the line to form part of a major north-south trunk route was missed. Capital poured into the construction of modern port facilities failed to bring the anticipated trade or returns. The motivation of its creators was to maximise their revenues from the minerals lying under the land they owned.

The efficient movement of haematite ore from the Furness mines and slate from the Kirkby quarries to a point of despatch by sea was the main aim. So a railway was developed with no physical link with any other part of the growing UK network. From this small and local beginning there grew a system of lines based in Barrow which was linked both north and south into the systems of other operators. Sea and lake steamer services were begun and initiatives taken to develop hotels, visitor and residential facilities related to the Railway.

In the wake of its new railway the town of Barrow erupted into being, with iron and steelworks, port facilities and shipyards, a jute and linen works, wagon works, brickyards, timber and oil importers. The principal promoters of a mineral railway soon found themselves managing a series of substantial businesses and presiding over the provision of a town to accommodate a population of 60,000 men, women and children. Quite a story and well worth a read!

The Book : The Furness Railway - A History

Order your copy today - full details here.