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The ultimate expression of L&Y express passenger locomotive design. Hughes 4-6-0 No.1511 photographed in 1922.

The early locomotive history of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway was one of indifferent quality, but from around 1875 there was a dramatic improvement with growing standardisation and innovation in the hands of a series of highly competent engineers, namely Barton Wright, Aspinall, Hoy and Hughes.

Early years

During its 75 year history, the company owned or used more than 2,900 steam locomotives, including the outstanding Aspinall 2-4-2 tank engines and the mighty “Highflyer” Atlantics. The first period, until the appointment of William Barton Wright in 1875, was characterised by the designs of engineers such as William Jenkins, William Hurst and William Yates. Their designs were generally weak and they struggled with the increasing traffic. The company at that time was also notorious for paying exceptional dividends to shareholders rather than investing in the railway and consequently the loco stock became run down and increasingly unable to handle the work required of it; the L&Y became famous for long delays as traffic exceeded the capacity of the system.

This example of an early loco is Jenkins 0-6-0 No.687 Neptune, built in 1866.
Some L&Y locos were named at this time, an old East Lancashire Railway practice discontinued by Barton Wright and his successors. The livery at this period was green for passenger locomotives:

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 ©The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Society 2011