The L&Y carriage fleet at its peak grew to 4,360 vehicles, the vast majority of which were built at the company’s carriage and wagon works at Newton Heath, Manchester. Charles Fay was in charge of carriage and wagon affairs until 1877, when Frederick Attock was appointed, and it was he who designed the highly standardised and distinctive style which characterised L&Y carriages for the rest of the 19th century.

Attock used standard doors and windows for all his carriages, simply increasing the amount of plain wooden panelling between windows for the wider first and second class compartments, as illustrated in the photographs on these pages (there was a further standard for lavatory windows). Over the years his designs were built in 4-wheel, 6-wheel and bogie variants. With their flush panelling they gave the L&Y an unmistakable appearance. The sight of a 2-4-2T with a set of Attock arc roof stock remained the typical image of the railway for many years.

The early 1900s saw an increase in train weights and the introduction of more luxurious carriages and restaurant cars. Around this time the L&Y had sent senior officers to America and that influence was seen in the 1904 electric stock for the Liverpool – Southport line and the inset door stock for express services. The L&Y was also the leader in the use of open carriages and the 1913 stock, suitably repainted, would have looked at home in a train of BR carriages of the 1960s.

In 1915 the L&Y pioneered the use of all metal carriages with the introduction of the Manchester – Bury electric stock. These steel framed and aluminium clad vehicles were years ahead of their time and had it not been for the Great War would have been built in greater numbers for the planned (but never implemented) Manchester area suburban electrification scheme. Go to Electrification for more information.

LYR Carriage Diagram Book

The carriage diagram book was a document used by operating staff to determine the most appropriate stock to use for any given traffic requirement. It contained a plan view of the vehicle showing the accommodation and capacity of each type of carriage. Updates were issued to each holder and surviving examples vary. This copy has been produced following careful examination by Mike Fitton of a number of versions and we recommend careful reading of his introduction as an aid to understanding the individual diagrams.



The 80 year period of the L&Y saw the development of the Company’s wagons mirror that of the nation’s railways, from simple 4‑wheel wooden open wagons (unbraked in some cases) through to sophisticated bogie well wagons capable of carrying over 50 tons. During its time the L&Y built or possessed around 67,500 vehicles, the vast majority of which were open wagons for carrying general merchandise (over 80%). The number of wagons in use rose gradually across time thus: 1850 – 3,737; 1879 – 18,536; 1895 – 24,423; 1920 – 37,585. The percentages of wagons built to specific styles in 1895 were opens (1,2 & 3 plank) 65%, half box (4 plank with centre drop door) 14% and covered goods just 8%. Company mineral wagons were 6%, cattle wagons 2½% and brake vans (known on the L&Y as break vans) 2½%. By 1920 the percentages for the same types were respectively 35%, 36% and 19%; minerals 4½%, cattle 2% and breaks 2½%, as before. However, such was the quantity of coal being moved, generally in the wagons of colliery owners or private merchants, that this affected the appearance of trains. One made up of 20 wagons in 1895 would comprise six or seven single plank opens (Dia.1 and mostly sheeted over), four or five two or three plank wagons (again most sheeted over), two half box wagons, two covered goods, four private owner coal wagons and a break van (10T Diagram 21); by 1920 the same length of train would be four single plank and one three plank opens, six half box (4 or more 20ft or longer) and four covered goods (probably two small and two 20ft or longer), four private owner coal wagon and a break van – a transformation in type and size of Company vehicles but not the private owner ones. Only in the 1920 train would there be much likelihood of wagons from another railway company. Specialist vehicles such as tramcar trolleys, large bogie and machinery wagons and perishable covered goods wagons, all so beloved of modellers, were very much the exception rather than the norm.

The men who had the greatest effect on wagon design were Carriage & Wagon Superintendent F. Attock (1875-1895) and Assistant C&WSs G. Banks (1899–1904) and F.E. Gobey (1910–1922), each brought their own idiosyncrasies to the stock. Much of what Attock did was still visible in the 1930s whilst the ideas of Banks and Gobey created a visual image which was unmistakable anywhere in the country. It was the former who introduced the 21ft 6in length of vehicle whilst the latter reduced this to 20ft from 1910. Attock created the iron bodied brake van, basically iron plates fixed to the wooden side frame which was continued on the 20Ton vehicles of the 20th Century, and the canvas roll-back on the roof of small covered goods which allowed crane access to ease the movement of heavier parcels in and out of the vehicle. Among Bank’s creations were the 20Ton Loco Coal Wagons in use from 1903 up to 1955 and the double end door half box (5 plank) general merchandise wagons. He also ordered the painting of ordinary wagon bodies from 1902 (grey) and use the large initials, generally 18in high from April 1903. Banks was also responsible for the flirtation with 30Ton bogie merchandise wagons; these were an American influence following fact finding missions to the New World organised by Aspinall. Gobey’s influence was far more subtle for, having selected 20ft as the length of his underframe, he brought all the general stock into line with his thinking. Under his aegis there was an attempt to fit vacuum braking to all new vehicles, oil axleboxes having been adopted as standard in 1903, and all covered goods were included but cost forced the abandonment of this. He was severely hampered by the building and finance restrictions of the Great War but he was clever enough to alter his designs to suit every specialist demand made of them after 1915.

Another famous traffic, which was largely promoted by the Company itself from 1906, was that of fish. Specialist covered vehicles (now considered a trademark of the L&Y) were built and used to get the fresh fish to the major cities of Manchester or Bradford. (In LMS days this traffic was expanded to include Birmingham and London). Such vehicles, although classed as wagons, were easily able to run at passenger train speeds.

L&Y goods vehicles were built to last about 35 years and their design was based on practicality, any faults which showed up or places where they didn’t meet needs would result in the next order being revised. Around 1913 there were ten new vehicles completed at Newton Heath each working day, about the same number rolled out after general repair and countless more minor repairs elsewhere on the system.

The LMS valued the vacuum fitted vehicles and kept them and the younger single plank opens running throughout its life. Around 5,000 L&Y wagons made it through to BR days.

Carriage, Wagon, Road Vehicle & Platform Truck Drawings and Documents

The following diagrams are pdf scans of original drawings. The wagons and carriages are listed by Diagram Number followed by their official description and the drawing number. For more information on wagons see Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Wagon Diagrams by Noel Coates. Go to the Books page of the on-line shop to get your copy.

To be of use the following pdf files have to be legible down to the individual dimensions so some of the files are around 10mb in size.

Wagon drawings







Drawing_Dia_12_Pitch wagon_Dwg_2403

























Carriage drawings



Drawing_Dia_59_Electric_Baggage_Car_ No_3029_Underframe_Dwg_351E

Drawing_Dia_59_Electric_Baggage_Car_No_3029 Dwg_353E




Platform Truck drawings










Road Vehicle drawings










The men who had the greatest influence on carriage and wagon design were:

F. Attock – Carriage & Wagon Superintendent 1877-1895

G. Banks – Assistant C&WS 1899–1909 (Carriage & Wagon matters now came under Aspinall as CME – Attock had reported direct to the Board)

F.E. Gobey – Assistant C&WS 1909–1922

Others who held important posts at the carriage and wagon works included George Hughes and Nigel Gresley.

From 1904, Hughes, as CME, was in overall control and the AC&WS of the day reported to him.


Further reading





For more details of these titles and an opportunity to obtain a copy, go to our Books page.