The obvious success of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway demonstrated that steam railways were a safe, fast and efficient form of transport, and by the end of the 1830s ambitious entrepreneurs were planning a multiplicity of railways up, down and across the land. At first, the new railways were of purely local importance, but the need to connect important cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow led to the promotion of major trunk routes, one of the first of these being the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway, which was authorised on 6 June 1844 as a rthwards extension of the Lancaster & Preston Junction Railway. In its original form the Lancaster & Preston line was little more than a branch, but the establishment of railway communication between London and Scotland was regarded as a matter of national importance, and the L&PJ and L&CR lines thereby became vital parts of the West Coast Main Line. Building work was soon under way, and this important main line was opened as far as Kendal on 21 September 1846 and completed throughout to Carlisle on 15 December. The new railway, which ran through difficult terrain on its way to Carlisle, was a major feat of civil engineering, and its bridges, viaducts and other infrastructure stand to this day as tangible monuments of the early days of railway construction.
Stanley C. Jenkins, who was educated at Witney Grammar School, the University of Lancaster and the University of Leicester, has written over 20 books and some 750 articles on local, transport and regional history. Having worked as an English Language teacher at Oxford Air Training School for several years, he returned to Leicester University to retrain as a museum curator in 1986, and was subsequently employed by English Heritage as the Regional Curator for South Western England. He is Curatorial Advisor to the Witney & District Museum, and is also working as a curator for the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Trust, which is at present building a military museum at Woodstock. Martin Loader has been interested in railways since the late 1960s, but only starting taking photographs seriously with the acquisition of his first 'proper' camera in 1978.