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N common with so many other projects of which 1851 is the fruitful parent, the idea of this little
Publication is suggested by the Exhibition. It is hoped incidentally to render it an auxiliary to
that great gathering, by familiarising some few thousands then visiting London for the first time with the leading features of a most interesting and important district of England, particularly those from abroad, and, still more especially, foreigners approaching our Metropolis by the new route between the Suffolk Coast and the North of Europe. Eschewing any pretensions to originality of view or novelty of treatment, the main design has been so to popularise the ordinary topographical data as, with the assistance of the engraver, to afford the hasty reader a more truthful and effective reflex of the scene traversed than has been yet attempted in respect to any other Railway. The price, it will be observed, is such as to render it a very slight pecuniary addition even to the most economic excursionist trip; and it is hoped that its contents, nearly equivalent to a volume of a novel, may reconcile the purchaser to the outlay when its immediate purposes in connection with the journey have been accomplished.
When commenced, it was intended to confine this Guide to the Main, or Norwich Line, and to devote another volume to the Colchester Line. But such arrangement being dependent on the then proposed Eastern Counties' amalgamation with the Eastern Union, East Anglian, and Newmarket Lines—the whole of the Railway towns within which territory were to have been described—and the negociations on that head having been abandoned, the annexed pages treat only of the region known as the Eastern Counties proper ; hence the necessity of the sudden compression of matter prepared for much wider limits will explain the seeming disproportion between the two divisions of the book, and the undue brevity with which some of the branches have been disposed of. It is probable that the classification alluded to will be adopted hereafter ; but the order at present adopted renders necessary the introduction here of the annexed statistical particulars.
The half-yearly Report presented to the Shareholders of the Eastern Counties Railway on the 4th January last, affords at once a remarkable illustration of the vast extent of English commercial operations, and of the illimitable resources of British enterprise and capital. The reader, especially if he be a foreigner, will at once be impressed with the immense magnitude of these modern undertakings, when he is told that this Company—though there are others of greater magnitude—has spent in the formation of its various lines the really gigantic capital of £12,998,207. 2s. 2d., and that it possesses 326 miles of railroad, over which 1,734,390 persons were carried in the six months ending January 4th, 1851. The classification and revenue arising from this one and three-fourths of a million of passengers were as follow :
£. 1st Class Passengers..
63,386 9 2nd Class Passengers..
83,733 19 3rd Class Passengers.
706,135 .. 54,360 10 Giving a total amount of £201,480. 198. 2d.; in addition to which the Company received for the carriage of parcels £15,392. 128. 6d.; goods, including coals, &c., £140,172. 158. ; cattle, £19,818. 14s. 5d.; mails, £8,591. 14s. Id. Forming, with other minor sources, a revenue of £400,552. for half a year, or an annual income of upwards of £800,000—an income much larger than that of many a Continental State.
This was accompanied by an expenditure of £225,347. 17s., distributed as follows :-Locomotive Expenses, £82,587. 13s. 4d. ; Maintenance of Way, £34,871. 58. 3d. ; Miscellaneous Working Expenses, £86,461. ls. 8d. ; Rates and Taxes, £12,869. 78. 7d. ; Government Duty, £8,558. 9s. 2d. ; Total, £225,347. 178. : leaving a profit of £175,204. 6s. 11d. on the half-year's work; which balance, nevertheless, was only sufficient to yield a very small dividend available to the original shareholders ; but the prospect of a better result is encouraging.
Among many other entries of a trivial nature, it will be found that 9331 tons of coke were consumed by the passenger engines, or about 26 lbs. for each mile run, of the value of 3d. ; while, to propel a goodstrain the same distance, a consumption of 48 lbs. of coke was necessary, of the value of 62d. The total cost of coke for the six months was £23,501. 78. 6d. ; and the number of miles run by engines 1,208,204. It also appears, that the depreciation consequent upon an engine running one mile is equal to about 4£d.; and on carriages, the average depreciation on the same distance is about 24d. The yellow composition the traveller has frequently seen being served out to the axles of the carriages (formed of tallow, palm oil, &c.), costs, in conjunction with the oil to lubricate the joints of the engine, the noble sum of £2707. 138. 11d. ; while the water to supply the insatiable thirst of the locomotives is charged at no less than £1039. 14s. 11d.-a consumption of the pure beverage that must afford much delight to the disciples of Father Matthew. Gas, too, is put down at £2072. 148. 7d., and clothing for guards, porters, &c. £992. 8s. 6d. The working and repairing of the electric telegraph cost the very moderate amount of £1020. 98., which, considering the immense number of messages transmitted, and the great facility it affords for the transaction of the Company's business, is a sum incredibly small, when compared with the advantages resulting. Many other facts regarding the statistics of the line will be met with in the following pages, which it is hoped will not be uninteresting to the reader.
the medium of communicating, in the perusal, only a portion of
the pleasure experienced in the compilation, entailing as it did a INTRODUCTORY.
visit to each of the places mentioned, our gratification will be, of
course, correspondingly augmented. GEOGRAPHICAL Divisions of England—Its ELEVATION Before commencing our travels, we have to solicit the indul
AND DRAINAGE—THE RIVERS OUSE AND NENE—THE gence of many of our readers for troubling them with some BASIN OF THE GREAT LEVEL—THE FENS, AND THEIR dry facts and statistical details in this, our first chapter ; but as a CHARACTERISTICS-FORMATION OF THE FENS—THEIR large section of those we address are foreigners, anxious to obtain LEVELS, AND ADAPTATION FOR RAILWAYS–EASTERN a knowledge of the country they are visiting, and as the following COUNTIES RAILWAY—Its RISE AND PROGRESS-STA
data are by no means universally known even among natives, we
feel the less diffidence in inserting a few remarks upon the geograTISTICS, OFFICERS, &c.
phical divisions and general contour of "merry England." MONG the numerous causes which have of late years Upon glancing over the map of England, it will be imme
given such an impetus to the trade, commerce, and still diately perceived that the country naturally divides itself into increasing prosperity of Great Britain,—few have con- three distinct and characteristic provinces ; the mountainous, the
tributed more largely than the invention and construc- hilly, and the flat. The mounta ous, or western, comprises tion of Railroads. By the heretofore unprecedented facilities they the two counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland, the Princioffer to locomotion, they have induced nearly all classes to travel, pality of Wales, the entire county of Cornwall, and the greater and have thus, through the increased opportunities afforded of portion of Devonshire: its precipitous shores rise suddenly from acquiring information, the more general dissemination of know- the ocean ; and this country of rocky cliffs and overhanging ledge, and the improved tone and expansiveness of thought so pro- mountains, whose heights seem to rise in succession beyond each duced, been obviously one of the principal means of gaining for other, and where the rocks piled in masses to the sky show the England her proud prëeminence as possessing probably the most irresistible power of the internal force that originally upheaved intelligent population in the world. Among nations, too, them,-attains its greatest elevation among the peaks of Snowdon the improved means of intercommunication,-by making the and Plimlimmon in Wales; in this district the mine, the smelting inhabitants better acquainted with each other's habits, customs, furnace, and the stone quarry, furnish the hardy inhabitants with and institutions—is producing its natural results in obliterating occupation and a means of subsistence. The hilly, or middle rapidly those ancient national animosities which have been per- portion, is that district enclosed between lines drawn from Carlisle petuated down to the present time, chiefly from the absence of to Weymouth, and from Sunderland to Brighton; it is full of personal appreciation and knowledge of national character. gentle elevations and fertile valleys, of hills and dales and unduIn introducing, therefore, the present little work to the notice lating plains, where the husbandman tends his flock and tills the of the public, pretending only to be a Guide to a line of Railway, willing land; and though there are spots in this division of a difthough certainly one of the most important in the kingdom, ferent character, as the Staffordshire Potteries and the Derbyshire we trust that the reader will not criticise us too closely, but that he Peak, yet the slope of the whole district is invariably eastward. will be to our very considerable faults by no means a little blind- The flat, or eastern portion, has neither mountains nor hills, and remembering that if we enable him to while away an hour or even its trifling elevations sink at length into the immense marshes two during the tedium of a long journey, adding, perhaps, a which are the peculiar feature of the eastern coast. This district trifle to his store of information, and drawing his attention to is inhabited solely by an agricultural population. points most worthy of his notice, then the main object con- It is therefore evident that the western coast of England is very templated has been accomplished. If, in addition, we should be much higher than the eastern. To use a familiar illustration, it