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Mirfield Railways 6

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A high embankment and a viaduct bring us to the north side of the river Calder near to the ancient town of Elland, which is 29 miles from Leeds and 31 from Manchester; we passed the town at 19 minutes past ten o'clock. Here, to avoid following the curve of the valley, the railway passes through a projecting tongue of land by a tunnel 424 yards in length; and immediately on emerging from the wood-covered hill, which it does by a very fine entrance, the railway is carried across the Huddersfield and Halifax turnpike road, the Calder and Hebble canal, and the river Calder, by means of a stone viaduct of four skew arches of 64 feet span each.
Crossing the valley by an embankment the railway enters North Dean Wood, the intended point of junction for the branch to Halifax, nearly on the surface. The branch will be about a mile and a half in length, and will turn up the narrow valley past Salterhebble. This point is a little more than 30 miles from Leeds, and rather less than 30 from Manchester.
The railway then passes over the Calder by two viaducts of stone, about 35 feet above the level of the water, near to Lob mill, and is carried by a long embankment over the low meadows towards Sowerby Bridge. Before coming to this place, however, there is one of the deepest and most extensive excavations on the line, the greatest depth being eighty feet below the surface, and the material through which it is made is an admixture of hard rock and shale. Several very lofty bridges, one of them having three arches, with the roadways inclining at a very unusual angle, cross the excavation to carry the various roads from the valley to places on the hills.
At exactly half-past ten, having crossed the Blackstone edge turn­pike road and the Ripponden stream by a handsome viaduct of five arches, 43 feet span each, at an elevation of 30 feet, we drew up at Sowerby Bridge station, 32 miles from Leeds, and 28 from Manchester. Here the crowd of people was so great, and the rush of those who had taken places to the carriages so alarming, that, after a brief stay of four minutes, it was thought absolutely necessary to cause the train to move on.   There being no room in the carriages, the adventurous travellers mounted the tops of the carriages, where already as many persons were sitting as could be accommodated in that position; but those who could not sit stood upright until the whole of the carriages were covered with a crowd of standers, and in that fearful position did they remain all the way to Hebden Bridge, stooping down as they passed under the tunnel and the numerous bridges on the line, and then rising and cheering like a crew of sailors to the astonished specta­tors!   We have seldom witnessed a more alarming scene.  The train was proceeding at the rate of 20 miles an hour, and if a single individual had failed to stoop at the moment of passing under the arches, his brains must have been dashed out, and the fall of one person must have thrown many others off the carriages, to their almost inevitable destruction!       Yet there was no power to prevent the crowd from thus boarding the carriages. The only thing to be done was to move on as soon as the manoeuvre was discovered. Some rather ludicrous incidents occurred in conse­quence.  The train had brought the three revising barristers, Messrs. Lutwidge and Cleasby, and Sir Francis Doyle, from Wake­field to Sowerby Bridge, where they got off to proceed to Halifax for the revision of the lists of that borough. But ere their luggage, containing their books, lists, and we know not what other legal mysteries, could be taken off the carriages, the train was obliged to move on. The Barristers, alarmed at the prospect of losing their paraphernalia, ran after the train, calling "Stop ! stop !" "We can't stop." said one in authority.  "You must stop," responded Mr. Lutwidge, with a voice that would have overawed a whole court, and very red with wrath and running. But alas!  a new race has sprung up in modern days, that of locomotive engines, who know not revising barristers, and have little respect for summonses or precedents. There is no writ of capias avails against these iron and elephantine fellows.   Away the monster moved, insolently puffing back his scorn at his pursues and soon gave the Barristers steam bail; the hue and cry was raised after us in vain; whilst Mr. Lutwidge, out of breath and countenance too, desisted from the pursuit, and returned to consult his learned brothers what decision they should pronounce in this novel case,—a case in which the books would hardly have helped them, even if we had not carried off said books to Hebden Bridge.  We made voluntary restitution, however, an hour or two afterwards, by bringing back the port-mauteaus, bags, &c. to Sowerby Bridge; and thus we hoped the revision at Halifax would not have been very long delayed.
In the afternoon of the same day, under similar circumstances, a manoeuvre was practised at Brighouse, which beats all recorded in the history of naval tactics. The train which left Leeds at three o'clock was assailed in the same way as that in the morning. The second-class carriages were crammed to suffocation, so that extremely few of those who were in could sit, and the least enviable position was that of those who were actually sitting. A vigorous and deter­mined effort on the part of the railway authorities abated this nuisance, but those who were chased out of the carriages scaled the deck, and soon all were covered as in the morning. Some shrewd person—we suspect Capt. Laws, as the piece of strategy was worthy of a British tar—perceiving that this load was too much not only for the engine to draw, but for the springs of the carriages to sustain, ordered out a wagon used for the conveyance of cattle, in which those who were on the tops of the carriages were told that they might be accommo­dated. Instantly the crews descended the decks and rushed into the cattle wagon, which was crowded to excess; and as soon as this had been accomplished, and the wagon was carefully closed, the train cast off wagon, and moved on at full speed, leaving behind the choused and dismayed cattle, amidst the infinite amusement and applause of the spectators! The necessity of the case must be the apology for this ruse dc guerre.
But to return—as Mr. Lutwidge did; when we had taken French leave of that gentleman and his colleagues at Sowerby Bridge, we immediately entered a tunnel of about 640 yards in length, chased by numbers who had taken tickets, and whose angry voices were echoed back through the tunnel by shouts of defiance from our outside pas­sengers. Issuing forth into the peaceful valley beyond, we were far out of the reach of any sound but our own; and away we sped, in the manner we have described. The scenery here, as we passed Ludden-den foot, Mytholmroyd, &c. becomes increasingly beautiful and grand. The railway runs up the west side of the valley, alternately on em­bankments and through cuttings,—the river having in several places been diverted, to save the expense of crossing it by bridge. At 49 minutes past 10 o'clock, that is in two hours and 56 minutes after leaving Leeds, we arrived in perfect safety at Hebden Bridge,—a distance of 37 miles from Leeds and 23 from Manchester. Here is a station both for that place and for Keighley

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