History of the North Staffordshire Railway Company
The following extract is taken from the 1908 edition of The Official Illustrated Guide to the District Adjacent to the North Staffordshire Railway:
The Company was formed in 1847, with a capital of £5,820,000, but twelve years previously a committee had been formed, to whom Mr. George Stephenson, the eminent engineer, had submitted a report favourable to the construction of a Railway through the Potteries.
The first sod was cut on the 11th February, 1847, at Stone, by Earl St. Vincent, and the line from Stoke-on-Trent to Norton Bridge was opened on April 17th, 1848. Other sections were soon afterwards completed, and at the end of two years 111 miles had been opened.
At the present time the capital of the Company is £10,693,123, and the annual Revenue, £1,020,000. The Rolling Stock has been steadily increased to meet the requirements of the district, and the Company now own 167 Engines, 2 Steam Rail Motors, 430 Coaches (including Special Vehicles), and 6,413 Wagons, &c.
The number of Passengers carried during the year 1907 was 6,934,530, including 3,805 season ticket holders; the total weight of Goods traffic was 1,623,296 tons, and of Minerals, 5,456,908 tons. The number of train miles run was 3,142,587, and to deal with the whole of the traffic and work of the line generally, 5,100 personal were employed.
The North Staffordshire Railway Company’s principal Station and Chief Offices are situated at Stoke-on-Trent; on the opposite side of the Station Square may be seen the Hotel, erected by the Company in 1848, it is undoubtedly the best equipped house of its kind in the district, containing 130 rooms, with a large hall for meetings; there in also ample stabling, and a lock-up garage, and the Hotel is fitted up throughout with the electric light (Telephone 806).
Pottery towns are the centre of an important industry, viz.: the manufacture of China and Earthenware goods, which finds employment for many thousands of hands. Several firms have fine Showrooms, notably Messrs. Copeland & Sons (late Josiah Spode), Mintons, Limited, and Wedgwoods, Limited, which are well worth seeing, and attendant* are provided to conduct visitors through them.
There are many buildings in the Potteries worthy of a visit, the Museums at Stoke and Hanley, and the Wedgwood Institute, Burslem, being amongst them. There are also several pretty Parks but space will not permit more than a passing reference being made thereto.