In 1840 the Manchester & Leeds Railway was completed. Seven years later the company acquired eight smaller companies and called itself the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway. It now stretched across the country from the west coast at Liverpool, Southport, Blackpool and Fleetwood, to the east coast at Goole on the Humber.
The Lancashire & Yorkshire line had to cross a large number of hills and valleys. Of the 580 miles (933 km) of the railway, only 25 miles (40 km) was level track. As a result of this terrain, there were almost 100 tunnels and viaducts on the route. At first the railway mainly transported cotton, wool, fish and coal. With the development of seaside resorts such as Blackpool, the trains carried a growing number of passengers.