Thirdly, and which I think the most important of all, is the great despatch to be gained by the suspension railway, without, in the least degree, endangering either persons or property, its height being sufficient at all places to allow every agricultural and commercial intercourse to go under it without interruption: and then the carriages being so completely locked within the rail prevents any chance of their escape, whatever may be their velocity."

We conclude our account of the second era, by a notice of the construction of the Manchester and Liverpool Railway.

Liverpool is the port whence Manchester receives all her raw materials, and to which she returns a large portion of manufactured goods for shipment to all parts of the world." By means of the railroad, the transit of goods is now effected in about one eighteenth part of the time previously occupied by the water conveyance of fifty miles, besides a saving of fifty per cent. in the cost per ton of carriage; and these two great towns are by thirty-one miles of railway, as much connected for the purposes of business or pleasure, as the eastern and western extremities of London. The undertaking was commenced in June, 1826, under the direction of Mr. George Stevenson. It runs in nearly a straight line. The following are the gradients of the line: -

Miles.

Yds.

Planes.

Tunnel under the Town of Liverpool, from

Wapping to Edge-hill ................................

1

240

Rise, 1 in 48.

Level ..........................................................................

0

1000

Level.

To the Foot of Whiston, or Rainhill Plane ................

5

220

Fall, 1 in 1092.

Rainhill inclination ..................................................

1

880

Rise, 1 in 96.

Rainhill level .............................................................

1

1540

Level.

Carried forward ..........................

10

360

Miles.

Yds.

Planes.

Brought forward .................

10

360

Sutton plane ..............................................................

1

880

Fall, 1 in 96.

Parr Moss .................................................................

2

8S0

Fall, 1 in 2640.

Ditto .........................................................................

6

880

Fall, 1 in 880.

Chat Moss ..............................................................

5

880

Rise, 1 in 1200.

To Manchester .......................................................

4

880

Level.

Total............

30

1240

The Tunnel under Liverpool was constructed in seven or eight separate lengths, each communicating with the surface by means of perpendicular shafts. About half-a-mile from the tunnel the railroad crosses Wavertree-lane; half-a-mile to the north of Wavertree, at Olive Mount, there is an excavation through the solid rock, 70 feet below the surface, and two miles in length. The road is then carried by means of a great embankment, varying from 15 to 45 feet in height, and from 60 to 135 feet in breadth, at the base, across a valley atRoby, or Broadgreen, two miles in length. It then crosses the Hayton turnpike road a little past Roby; six miles and three quarters from Liverpool, there is a junction railway for the conveyance of coals from the neighbouring mines on the right, and at a distance of seven or eight miles from the Liverpool station, it comes to the Winston inclined plane, which is one mile and a half long, and rises about 1 in 96.

There is stationed here an assistant locomotive to aid the carriages in their ascent. For nearly two miles the road is then on an exact level. It was on this part of the road that the contest of locomotive carriages, for the premium of 500/., took place in October, 1830, the result of which determined the directors to make use of locomotive engines instead of stationary ones. About half a mile from the Whiston plane, at Rainhill, the Liverpool and Manchester turnpike road crosses the railway, at an angle of thirty-four degrees. On leaving the level at Rainhill, the railway crosses the Sutton inclined plane, which is of the same extent as that at Whiston, and descends in the same proportion that the other rises; there is here another assistant engine.

The next object of interest is Parr Moss, the road over which is formed principally of the clay and stone dug out of the Sutton inclined plane, and extends about three quarters of a mile. The moss was originally about twenty feet deep, and the embankment across it is nearly twenty-five feet high, though only four or five feet now appear above the surface, the rest having sunk below it. The road is then carried over the valley of Sankey, by means of a massive and handsome viaduct, consisting of nine arches, of fifty feet span each, the height of the parapet being seventy feet above the Sankey canal in the valley beneath. The viaduct is built principally of brick, with stone facings, and the foundations rest on piles of from twenty to thirty feet in length, driven into the ground. The breadth of the railway between the parapets is twenty-five feet. The viaduct is approached by a stupendous embankment, formed principally of the clay dug from the high lands surrounding the valley. A little to the south of the town of Newton the railway crosses a narrow valley, by the short but lofty embankment of Sandy Mains, and a handsome bridge of four arches, each of forty feet span, under one of which passes the Newton and Warrington turnpike road.

The Wigan and Newton branch here enters the railway.

A few miles beyond Newton is the great Kenyon excavation, from which above eight thousand cubic yards of clay and sand were dug out. The Kenyon and Leigh junction railway here joins the Liverpool and Manchester line, and as it also joins the Bolton and Leigh line, brings into a direct communication Liverpool and Bolton. The Liverpool and Manchester railway then passes successively under three handsome bridges; and a little beyond Culcheth, over the Brosely embankment, which is about a mile and a half in length, and from eighteen to twenty feet in height. It then passes over Bury-lane, and the small river Gless or Glazebrook, and a river at Chat Moss. This is a huge bog, comprising an area of about twelve square miles, so soft that cattle cannot walk over it, and in many parts so fluid that an iron rod laid upon the surface would sink to the bottom by the effects of its own gravity. It is from ten to thirty-five feet deep, and the bottom is composed of clay and sand. Hurdles of brushwood and heath arc placed under the wooden sleepers, supporting the rails over the greatest part of the moss, and the road may be said to float on the surface. .The most difficult part was on the eastern border, extending about half a mile, where an embankment of about twenty feet in height was made, and many thousand cubic feet of earth sank into the moss and disappeared before the line of road approached the proposed level.

At length, however, it became consolidated; in 1829 one railway was laid over the whole moss, and on the 1st of January, 1830, the Rocket steam-engine, with a carriage and passengers, passed over it. The line extends across the moss, a distance of about four miles and three quarters; and the road is not inferior to any other part of the railway.