A large audience welcomed Les Gilpin, chairman of Cumbria Railways Association, who gave an interesting and fact filled talk on the Development of the Ulverstone & Furness Railway.
Les described how the impetus to railway building was the industry in the area of Furness. The first line, opened in 1846, ran from Dalton to Kirkby and Piel Pier to take the Kirkby slates to the coast for export. The rich minerals of the area, especially the iron ore, led to further expansion of the railway. Initially the only passenger connection between the Furness railway system and the rest of the country was via steamers running between Barrow and Fleetwood. The demands of passenger and tourist traffic encouraged the growth of the lines that follow the coast to this day.
Les explained step by step the development of the railway and the main people involved in this growth. He illustrated his talk with slides of old steam engines, old photographs of the Furness area and the important men behind the Furness Railway.