Trivia: Swallows and Amazons - how did the great Aunt get from Harrogate to the Lakes?

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by Ken H, 2 May 2019.

  1. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    Lancashire County Council wanted to use Greyhound Bridge for road traffic.
    Allegedly there was a shady payment to get the "correct" decision made
     
  2. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    That map isn't consistent with the other books.............the first edition of Swallows and Amazons (we had one at school) had endpapers with an accurate map of Windermere, though with the locations renamed
     
  3. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    Which doesn't make sense
    going from Lakeside-Leeds would mean one change at Ulverston and maybe one at Carnforth
    going from Windermere the changes would either be Oxenholme & Carnforth, or both Lancasters and maybe Oxenholme depending on route
     
  4. chorleyjeff

    chorleyjeff Member

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    Who allegedly made the alleged payment and who received the alleged payment ? And having allegedly received the alleged payment how was the alleged payment used.
    Any sources for this information please and who negotiated the alleged payment ?
    Has information been sent to plod ?
    Just asking.
     
  5. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    How important was the Furness - Leeds/Bradford direct route historically*? I mean, was it just one train a day, or more regular? Is the Carnforth avoiding chord still in existance, ie could a direct service, avoiding reversal at Carnforth, still be run today?
    <Sorry, OP, if this is somewhat off topic.>

    EDIT - * I mean for passenger traffic. I assume there was once a fair amount of goods between Barrow and the West Riding.
     
  6. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    No.
    The connection at the East end of the avoiding line has been removed, and the signalbox disused.
     
  7. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    Ransome certainly "rewrote" the geography of the Lake District. The Lake is closely based on Windermere but "Wild Cat Island" is Peel Island on Coniston, and "Kachenjunga" (not mentioned in 'Swallows and Amazons') is based on the Old Man of Coniston. But Ransome uses his geography consistently within the stories, albeit adding more detail as each story reveals more of the countryside.

    There is a book "In search of Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome's Lakeland" by Roger Wardle, published 1996 by Sigma Leisure, ISBN 1-85058-481-8, which does a good job of trying to place all the locations mentioned by Arthur Ransome in both the real and imaginary worlds.

    (I have a very soft spot for Arthur Ransome's stories - they immediately followed 'Thomas the Tank Engine' books in encouraging my love of reading!)
     
  8. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    It all happened in the 1960's so details are vague and hearsay.........but essentially the story was that an undocumented payment was made by Lancs County Council to BR to help the decision along, but where the money went really is vague. Of course its all hearsay and originates with unnamed people on both the County and City councils
    The link was put in as part of the Furness & Midland joint when the Midland switched its ferry service from Morecambe stone jetty to Barrow due to worsening silting in the bay. It was then also used by the Barrow - Leeds/Bradford club trains taking managers from their Lakeland homes to the yorkshire mills. Later the ferries were switched to the new harbour at Heysham, routing the boat traffic back through Lancaster. I don't know when the club trains ceased.
    As for using the direct route now, I understand from locals that the girder bridge over the road to Warton is structurally unsound
     
  9. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

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    The Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furness_Railway is quite comprehensive and confirms my understanding that the transport of iron ore east through Carnforth was a big earner at one time. It has quite a bit of interesting detail:
     
  10. dazzler

    dazzler Member

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    Just a small point, but Arthur Ransome was born in Leeds - 6 Ash Grove, Hyde Park, Leeds to be more precise. See Wikipedia for reference.

    His birthplace has a blue plaque, although it is not the most salubrious part of Leeds, it is still better than many of the suburbs! (Image from Google Maps Streetview)

    I was given my first "Swallows and Amazons" book for my 7th birthday and received another one (in roughly series order) every birthday or Christmas thereafter. Needless to say, the S&A book was the most eagerly anticipated present and would be read first before any other books were read, or toys opened and played with.
     
  11. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    Lots of iron stone in W cumbria. Thats why there was a charcoal industry in the coppiced woodlands of the S lakes. Only later was charcoal used by artists. thats why the Billies were charcoal burning.
     
  12. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    I think you'll find that was shortlived: the Furness & Midland joint was opened in 1867, but in 1876 the Arnside-Hincaster branch opened. Most of the north-east ore and coke traffic always went north via the WCML and then east via the Stainmore route, the branch avoided a reversal at Carnforth. What seems uncertain is how much ore from Furness went to the east midlands furnaces - the F&MJR would be the natural route for that
     
  13. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

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    It may have been short-lived to the North-east, but doesn't alter the fact that
    If that is yearly then it was 500 000 tons a year or in round numbers 10 000 tons a week; 400 25-ton wagons, i.e. 2 40-wagon trains a day all year. Given that it was before the days of big mines and bulk loading facilities that is some achievement!
     
  14. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    But where was it going? Middlesbrough would have been routed over Stainmore. The other destinations listed in that wiki article are south wales, east yorkshire, staffordshire. OK the yorkshire trains would be routed over the F&MJR, but what about the south wales traffic? Would that follow a massive diversion via the Midland? And what about the staffordshire traffic? Surely that would go down the WCML
     
  15. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    Um
    Maybe the railway ran a kendal/oxenholme - Kirkby Lonsdale bus
    I will open a new thread on railway company buses
    https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/bus-services-ran-by-railway-companies.182195/
     
    Last edited: 5 May 2019
  16. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Leaving that aside (and the actual payment that LCC made for the bridge), there were sufficient operational reasons for the decision.
    1. Having two routes from Lancaster to Morecambe was a nonsense by 1965, and serving Castle was obviously needed. The Midland route electrification had proved its point as a test-bed, and Castle-GA-Morecambe made no sense in terms of journey time.
    2. Two routes west of Wennington couldn't be justified either, so it was either Wennington-GA-Castle-Morecambe or Wennington-Carnforth-Morecambe.
    3. There was still some freight traffic via the Carnforth triangle (the Stainmore route had closed in 1960), for which the Lancaster route was unsuited.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but at that stage West Yorks-Lancaster wasn't a particularly important flow (the idea that students would go home every weekend hadn't caught on, and I'd guess that Lancaster/St Martin's weren't yet the must-have choices for West Yorkshire students that they have become) - indeed ISTR Lancaster only started to be served when BR tried to route S and C traffic that way!). Commuting from rural Lonsdale was I assume very limited, as it was from rural Craven, so local traffic could be discounted or bustituted.

    All-in-all, the decision made sense, though it *****ed up West Yorks-Lakes no end (OT, but a friend and I got as far as drafting a 2-hourly Leeds-Lancaster-Windermere alternating with the S and C, leaving Morecambe out in the cold).
     
  17. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    The 1938 Bradshaw shows through workings both Leeds-Carnforth-Windermere (FSO) and Leeds-Barrow (on SO avoiding Carnforth), so the GA had ewual opportunity either way.
    Apart from through trains, virtually all the connections were at Carnforth, and there were some Carnforth- WDM trains, so one fewer change that way at times.
     
  18. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    Another stupid decision - closing the WCML platforms at Carnforth - that should be reversed. A lancaster -Windermere train every hour stopping at Carnforth would be good. It would connect for Barrow and Leeds at Carnforth.
    If the WCML cant cope with 4 trains an hour, one stopping at Carnforth, there is something badly wrong.
     
  19. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    IIRC it was done to allow higher linespeed - and by then there were hardly any class 2 services to stop.
    Reintroducing a service would cut about 10 minutes off LDS-WDM (and BIF-WDM, but that's hardly competitive with the bus) so is pretty marginal.
     
  20. duffield

    duffield Member

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    I had some of the books from childhood in the 1970's and read the others from the library at the time, last year I finally bought a new complete set. As it happens, today I'm reading the only one I've never read before - Missee Lee (one of the two 'fantasy' books along with Peter Duck).
     
  21. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    I faintly remember Missee Lee (was in my preparatory-school library, along with most of Ransome's output). IIRC, the kids and Captain Flint find themselves in the hands of (very relatively, kind-hearted) pirates in China -- no railways in this one, though.
     
  22. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    They must have missed a lot of school. Sailing a junk from China to Falmouth must take 6 months.
     
  23. 341o2

    341o2 Established Member

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    I'm not so sure that the pirates were friendly. The children and Captain Flint are forced to abandon Wild Cat when she catches fire, and when they land, the Swallows find Missee Lee's study and Latin textbooks, to which Roger makes an addition to "Hic Liber is meus". While the others round on him for being an idiot writing in other people's books, Missee Lee sees it as an opportunity to have some Latin students, despite misgivings of others. Things come to a head when Captain Flint's sextant is recognised for what it is, and John, in the course of conversation mentions that he intends to follow in his father's footsteps and join the Navy.
     
  24. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    Dodgy moments, yes -- but I do feel that in modern Somalia, ML's mob would be regarded as soft-hearted wimps; and they wouldn't prosper there.
     
  25. PaulLothian

    PaulLothian Member

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    Have just remembered reading a book in a Lakeland holiday cottage that mentioned an east to north connection east of Ulverston.
    https://maps.nls.uk/view/102343742
    Did passenger services use that side of the triangle?
     
  26. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Yes they did, see the final para of my post #4 - this was new to me, but I have inherited an ancient RCH map which clearly shows it. Not sure whether it survived WW2.
     
  27. PaulLothian

    PaulLothian Member

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    Thanks. Missed it in the flood of fascinating info in this thread!
     
  28. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    That's not how it worked commercially, even in Victorian times. The Midland more than any other company had tentacles that embraced the country, and ran freight services that stayed on its lines between all of them. London to Bristol (via Leicester), London to Cambridge (via Kettering), Liverpool to Carlisle (via the CLC and Dore & Totley), etc, and were generally more efficient at fast freight than the others.

    Freight rates were fixed in those days, the actual rate charged was per mile by the shortest route, whichever that was, but the subsequent division between companies was on a mileage basis as actually travelled. The Midland's freight agent in Barrow would work hard to get all that traffic routed via his line. South Wales would be Midland all the way to Swansea (via running powers for the final sections), and apart from a bit for the Furness they would get all the revenue.

    The Midland made multiple attempts to buy out the Furness, principally to get full control of the traffic which it exchanged with the LNWR. Getting the LT&S (to general surprise) enabled it to run freight from the new docks at Tilbury all the way to Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool etc on its own lines.
     
  29. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    Thanks for this and Ken H earlier.
     
  30. mailbyrail

    mailbyrail Member

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    The connection from the Coniston branch at Ulverston to the East closed in 1952 according to Cobb's atlas
     

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