Presenter: Mike Peascod
The Cumbrian Railways Association’s Mike Peascod began Newcastle’s indoor season on 12th September in fine style when he presented, “An Introduction to the Maryport and Carlisle Railway” to an audience of 27 members and visitors. Armed with one of the best PowerPoints your reviewer can remember, Mike explained the reasons for the line’s creation, being surveyed by George Stephenson in the 1830s and the first built fully in Cumberland, which capitalised on the burgeoning local coal industry’s need to export to Ireland. It also provided the final link for traffic to and from the coast of the Irish Sea for its neighbour, the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway, and enabled the movement of Cumbrian iron ore to Scottish furnaces. Fiercely independent, and able to return to profitability after a period of imprudent management, the M&CR remained independent even of its mighty neighbour, the LNWR, until 1923, with the founding Senhouse family retaining a place on the board throughout. Maryport’s docks had to be enlarged repeatedly in the 19th century to accommodate the ever growing traffic, which regularly generated double figure percentage dividends. With detailed coverage of each station along the line, its two private stations and both branches, locomotives, rolling stock and their CMEs, a great deal was covered in a most interesting and well-paced talk. Highly recommended.