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Furness Railway
Barrow-Fleetwood Services
This page is devoted to postcards of ships on the Barrow-Fleetwood service of the Furness Railway. The Table below gives links to complete postcard history pages on selected individual ships. Below the table are postcards of the fleet in chronological order, preceded by a brief route history including a route diagram. At the bottom of the page are shown some items of contemporary advertising material.
The first railway to reach the a port on the North West coast of England was the the Furness Railway at Barrow on Furness. Railway companies were not empowered to run shipping services at this stage, so the Barrow Steam Navigation Co was formed to start service from Barrow to Belfast. Both the Midland Railway and the Furness Railway had interests in the Barrow SN. In 1904, the Midland Railway's purpose-built port at Heysham was opened, with direct rail connection. Four new steamers were built to open services to Belfast and Douglas (Isle of Man). In 1907, the Barrow SN was taken over by the Midland Railway, and the City of Belfast and Duchess of Devonshire joined the fleet, mainly used as relief and summer extra vessels. Furness Railway vessels used on the lakes of Windermere and Coniston will be covered on a separate page.
Ships on This Page:-
Lady Evelyn
Lady Margaret
Lady Moyra
Associated Pages:-
British Railways - Header page for all UK railway-owned services
Isle of Man SP Co
Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway - Fleetwood-Belfast services
Midland Railway - Heysham-Belfast & Heysham-Douglas services
London Midland & Scottish Railway - Heysham-Belfast services
Isle of Man SP Co
British Railway Steamers
British Ferry Postcards
Ferry Postcards Header Page
Simplon Postcards Home Page
Maritime Heritage - Barrow & Morecambe Bay by Raymond Sankey (Silver Link, 1986)
Railway Heritage - The Furness Railway by K.J.Norman (Silver Link, 1994)
Merchant Fleets No.25 - Britain's Railway Steamers by Duncan Haws (1993)
Railway & Other Steamers - by Duckworth & Langmuir

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A Brief Route History
The Furness Railway was a relatively minor English company, which founded its early prosperity on the carriage of iron ore. As this traffic declined towards the end of the 19th Century, the Company sought to increase the tourist passenger traffic to the English Lake District, the area in which its trains operated. In 1900 they introduced a passenger ferry service across Morecambe Bay, between Barrow and Fleetwood. There were tram connections onwards from Fleetwood to Blackpool, as shown on the contemporary map below. This service operated successfully, using a total of four paddlesteamers, until the outbreak of war in 1914. The service was not revived after the war.

Furness Railway Fleet List
Lady Evelyn
The first Barrow-Fleetwood boat was the Lady Evelyn, acquired to inaugurate the service in 1900. She had been built by Scotts of Kinghorn for the service, and was so successful that she was lengthened by 30ft in 1904 to increase passenger accommodation. She remained with the Company until requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1914. After the war, she was sold for Bristol Channel service, eventually becoming the Brighton Belle of P & A Campbell. She was lost at Dunkirk in 1940.
Official Furness Railway postcards from Series 20  (images link to larger copies)

Sankey postcard serial 570 of Lady Evelyn, using one of the photos used as an official card above  (image links to larger copy)

Sankey postcard taken on board Lady Evelyn, on September 10th, 1909  (image links to larger copy)

Frith postcard serial 64427 of Lady Evelyn, leaving Fleetwood  (image links to larger copy)

Lady Margaret
Due to the success of Lady Evelyn, a second paddlesteamer was acquired in 1903 from P&A Campbell. She was the Lady Margaret of 1895, which retained her name in Furness service. She was larger and faster than Lady Evelyn, but was sold to the Admiralty in 1908 for tender duties, and was broken up in 1923. She had a short history with both civilian operators, but references are not clear as to why both should discard her so soon. It is suggested that she was heavy on fuel in Campbell's days (who sold her in preference to the much inferior Bonnie Doon), so maybe Furness also found this to be a problem.
Frith's Series postcard of Lady Margaret, posted on June 22nd, 1908.
The card is tinted to show the Furness colours of grey hull and buff funnel  (image links to larger copy)

Unidentified photographic postcard of Lady Margaret  (image links to larger copy)

H.E.Howorth (Fleetwood) postcard of Lady Margaret  (image links to larger copy)

Art Publishing Co (Glasgow) postcard of Lady Margaret posted 16/07/1906  (image links to larger copy)

Furness needed a replacement for the Lady Margaret which was sold in 1908. They acquired the elderly General Steam Navigation steamer Philomel, which had been built in 1889. She required considerable expense before entering service, but soon acquired the local nickname "Full-o'-smell". After only two years in service, her boilers needed replacement, which was to cost almost as much as her purchase price. Furness were unable to sell her for further service, and she was scrapped in 1913.
I do not have a contemporary postcard release of the Philomel, but this is a modern Frith's Series postcard, serial number 59940, using a photograph taken in 1908  (image links to larger copy)

Lady Moyra
The Furness Railway again needed a replacement steamer for the 1910 season, following the boiler problems of Philomel. They planned to buy the magnificent Barry Railway vessel Devonia for £22,750 (Philomel had cost £5250), but the condition of the machinery was deemed unacceptable. Money was authorised to repair the Philomel, until the Devonia's sistership Gwalia was offered at the same price of 22,750. She received a blue hull in Furness service and the new name Lady Moyra. She operated until she was requisitioned at the start of WW1. After the war, she joined Lady Evelyn/Brighton Belle in the P&A Campbell fleet as the Brighton Queen, and she was also lost at Dunkirk, three days after her fleet mate on 31st May 1940.
This is an official Furness Railway postcard of Lady Moyra from Series 20.
Notice the blue hull in the  photo, all other ships being light grey  (images link to larger copies)

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