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PREFACE.

Just 100 years ago the first section of the Furness Railway was opened for traffic.  Stating primarily as a mineral carrying line, it eventually became notable for the facilities it offered to the tourist who wished to explore the beauties of the English Lake District.

In many ways the Furness was unique among the smaller British Railways prior to the 1923 grouping.  In the area which it finally served it held undisputed sway and not only handled vast quantities of mineral traffic, but ran through, or close to, some of the loveliest country in Britain.  By dint of a bold policy of development at Barrow-in-Furness, the Company played a leading part in the rise of a small village with a population of a few hundreds, into a city of many thousands in a few decades.

In this little book I have tried to tell the story of the development of the Furness Railway and the other concerns which were merged into it from time to time.  I was little more than a boy when it was swallowed up in the London Midland and Scottish system, but my affection for the railway remains.  With all its short-comings, one felt that the old Furness Railway really had the interests of the territory it served at heart, which is more than one can say of its mighty successor to-day.

I would like to express my thanks to the numerous people who have supplied me with both useful information and photographs, including MESSRS. ROBERT STEPHENSON and HAWTHORNS of Darlington, and MESSRS. PECKETT and SONS of Bristol.  My thanks are also due to the chief Publicity Officer of the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company for valuable co-operation, and to both The Locomotive Publishing Company and Messrs. Abrahams, of Keswick, for permission to reproduce certain illustrations.  Finally there has been the valuable assistance of my old friend and colleague SYDNEY BUCKLEY who has designed the title page and drawn the maps and gradient diagrams.

If those who read this book get as much pleasure out of reading it as I have done in writing it, then my job has been well worth while.

W. McGOWAN GRADON.

Altrincham, 1946