The Leeds and Liverpool Canal links the cities of Leeds and Liverpool , a distance of 127 miles (204 km). It crosses the Pennines, and includes 91 locks on the main line. It has several small branches, and in the early 21st century a new link was constructed into the Liverpool docks system. The canal took almost 50 years to complete, with pauses to raise further capital and delays due to the major tunnels at Foulridge and Gannow and the massive embankment at Burnley.
The most important cargo was always coal, with over a million tons per year being delivered to Liverpool in the 1860s, with smaller amounts exported via the old Douglas Navigation. Even in Yorkshire, more coal was carried than limestone. Once the canal was fully open, receipts for carrying merchandise matched those of coal. The heavy industry along its route, together with the decision to build the canal with broad locks, ensured that (unlike the other two trans-Pennine canals) the Leeds and Liverpool competed successfully with the railways throughout the 19th century and remained open through the 20th century
Good dividends were paid throughout the 19th century so one of the original high value shares was well worth having.