John Speller's Web Pages St Helens Canal & Railway Company

John Speller's Web Pages - L&NWR
St Helens Canal & Railway Company LNWR Untitled
This company was originally chartered as the St Helens Canal Company in 1755. Under an Act of 1830 it reincorporated as the St Helens & Runcorn Gap Canal & Railway Company, and proceeded to build a 16-mile from St. Helens to Runcorn Gap (Widnes). The Engineer was Clarles Vignoles (1793-1875). The line crossed over the Liverpool & Manchester Railway at St Helens Junction, and included a cable-worked 1:70 incline 1 miles long about a mile from St Helens. The company merged with the Sankey Brook Navigation and reincorporated as the St. Helens Canal & Railway Company under an Act of 21 July 1845. It amalgamated with the London & North Western Railway in 1864.

The traffic of the line was predominantly mineral, though there were always a few passengers. In the early days the trains were very slow, and the story is told of some passengers who had missed the train being told by the station master, "Now hurry yourselves she's not long started, and if you look sharp you'll catch her up!" The line was an extremely profitable one, handling 2,000,000 tons of goods and mineral traffic in a year in around 1900, representing one-seventh of all the goods traffic on the L&NWR.
"White Raven." St Helens Railway 5 ft. 1 in. 2-4-2 tank designed by James Cross at the Sutton Engine Works and built in 1863. The white-painted locomotive was capable of taking a 12-coach train at 60 mph on the level.
Map of the St Helens Railway excerpted from the London & North Western Railway system map
Bridge carrying the Liverpool to Warrington turnpike over the St Helens Railway
St Helens Railway 4 ft. 6 in. 0-6-0 locomotive "Clyde" built in 1850
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