The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (L&YR) was formed originally in 1836 (having first been proposed in 1831) as the Manchester & Leeds Railway but in 1847 took its name as the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway to better reflect its coverage of the two counties.  Over the following 76 years it grew to cover no less than 590 route miles and 309 stations or halts.
The Railway became affectionately known as the ‘Lanky’ and very quickly developed a huge amount of business moving raw materials and other goods throughout Lancashire and over the Pennines into Yorkshire.

The L&YR consisted of three divisions

Western Division:
Manchester to Blackpool and Fleetwood
Manchester to Bolton, Wigan, Southport and Liverpool
Manchester to Liverpool

East Lancashire or Central Division:
Manchester to Oldham, Bury, Rochdale, Todmorden, Accrington, Burnley and Colne

Eastern Division: 
Todmorden to Halifax, Bradford, Leeds, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Normanton, Goole and Doncaster

Passenger locomotives of L&YR were painted black, with red and white lining, freight locomotives were black with red lining. Carriages were lake (purple-brown) lower panels and saddle (light brown) upper panels with window surrounds in umber (chocolate brown).

37 miles of routes in suburban Liverpool were electrified:
Liverpool to Southport and Crossens 
Liverpool to Aintree
Southport to Meols Cop
Aintree to Ormskirk

The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway also operated steam ships between Liverpool and Drogheda, Hull and Zeebrugge and between Goole and Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hamburg and Rotterdam. They also (in joint ownership of the vessels with the London and North Western Railway) operated ships between Fleetwood, Belfast and Londonderry.

The Lancashire and Yorkshire and London and North Western Railways merged in 1922 and were absorbed into the London Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923.