Roy Davies has just published (July 2021) an album in the popular Middleton Press series which calls itself the Ultimate Rail Encyclopedia (International). Like many people, I own a number of these volumes which never seem to disappoint.
Roy Davies book focusses on the former Midland line which followed the valley of the River Lune from Wennington to Lancaster and then turned to the Northwest heading for Morecambe and Heysham. 
The line was was a pioneer of electrification. The Midland Railway Board decided in 1906 to electrify the Lancaster-Morcambe-Heysham lines which it had acquired on 1st June 1871 when it absorbed the Morecambe Harbour and Railway Company and the ‘little’ North Western Railway (not to be confused with the ‘large’ LNWR).
“Services began using a German 6.6kV 25Hz AC overhead system, powered by the MR’s own generating plant at Heysham with overhead wires carried on a mix of steel and wooden gantries.”
“The service was withdrawn 12th February 1951 as the stock was time expired. …On 17th August 1953 the lines were re-energised … to 25kV 50 Hz AC with power taken from the National Grid.”
“The former Midland route from Lancaster to Morecambe and Heysham was the first single-phase electric railway in the country!”
Davies’ book commences its journey along the line at Wennington Junction Station which sat on the South bank of the River Wennington, close to the village. The Station and the main East-West line between Settle and Carlisle still exist today.
The line from Wennington to Lancaster closed on 3rd January 1966 to passenger traffic and in 1967 to freight. “On 3rd June 1967 the last through train ran from Heysham via Lancaster to the West Riding. … Thereafter, all traffic using the Heysham Harbour branch had to reverse at Morecambe.”
Like other books from Middleton Press, Roy Davies book is made up of a series of photographs and maps of each significant location on the line. These are grouped into chapters of convenient length, covering each section of the line: Wennington to Lancaster; Lancaster to Morecambe, Morecambe to Heysham and a separate section relating to the Morecambe to Heysham line from 1994 until the present.
Copious notes accompany each photo and each map. These highlight salient points on maps and photographs, without which, like sense might be made of the chosen photographs.
The book has been a joy to read!
Morecambe Promenade Station was the end of the line, or, at least, one of the ends of the line. Heysham was the other. I later years, after the closure of the old Midland line, Heysham was accessed only by reversing at Morecambe Promenade!
- Roy Davies; Wennington to Morecambe and Heysham; Middleton Press, Haslemere, Surrey, 2021.
- Image Ref: EPW004078, Britain from Above, https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EPW004078, accessed on 11th October 2021.
- Image Ref: EPW029243, Britain from Above, https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EPW029243, accessed on 11th October 2021.
- Image Ref: EPW002092, Britain from Above, https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EPW002092, accessed on 11th October 2021.
Dear Roger, many, many thanks for your review of my book and the very kind words. It means a lot coming from you. With kind regards, Roy
No problems, Roy. I appreciated receiving the free copy and enjoyed reading it. My very best wishes
I can also recommend Martin Bairstow’s ‘The Little North Western’ on this group of lines.
Thank you Phil
Hi, Roger. An excellent review of an excellent book,but if I may just be allowed to correct you on one detail, please. The fine terminus at Morecambe, built for the Midland Railway in 1907 was Morecambe Promenade, and has always been called as such, and never Pavilion. Cheers.
How on earth did I get that wrong. I’d like to plead that I read it somewhere but it is more likely a senior moment. I cannot check anything as I am preparing for a house move and the books are in boxes! I’d err on the side of a senior moment!
Thanks for bothering to get in touch. I have altered the text.
Hey, no problem at all, Roger – where would any of us be without senior moments eh…?!?!?