The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 4 (July 1, 1938.)
The Pioneer of the Railway Excursion
The Pioneer of the Railway Excursion.
Even in these enlightened days, not every worker is able to indulge in a week or a fortnight at the seaside. For the benefit of these unlucky folk, the Home railways run an enormous number of week-end, day and half-day excursions to the more popular beach resorts, and excursion travel forms a most valuable source of revenue. It is not generally known, but the pioneer of the railway excursion was Thomas Cook, founder of the travel house which bears his name, and which to-day has ramifications throughout the world. Away back in 1841, Thomas Cook conceived the idea of running a cheap excursion from Leicester to Loughborough, on what is now part of the L. M. & S. system. This was the first public railway excursion organised by a private individual and personally conducted by the organiser. The total distance was 24 miles, and 570 passengers were conveyed, at a fare of one shilling for the double journey. In 1845, Mr. Cook determined to conduct the business on a regular commercial basis, and with this end in view, he applied to the railway authorities to place trains at his disposal, he to find the passengers. The first pleasure excursion under this arrangement left Leicester on 4th August, 1845, for Liverpool, with visits to North Wales, the Isle of Man, and Dublin. Mr. Cook compiled, printed and issued a small guide describing the places of interest to be visited, and this guide was the forerunner of the mass of passenger advertising literature circulated nowadays by the railways of the world.