Herbert joined the Blackburn Literary Club, where he met local artist, Charles Haworth, who passed on many tips on black and white work His first success came with the publication of his drawings of a railway accident at Blackburn Station, which were published in the 'Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News.'
Photography in journalism had not yet come into its own, and there was a big demand for illustrators. Herbert Railton became one of the leading men of the day, achieving a distinctive style combining broken lines and ornate detail with areas of white, which was much imitated, though few had his light touch, nor the underpinning knowledge of architecture.
Herbert moved to London and took chambers in Chancery Lane. He joined the community of artists and adopted a bohemian lifestyle, later marrying Frances, an illustrator herself. They had one child, a daughter Ione, who also became an illustrator.
Photography eventually superseded illustration as far as newspapers went, but Herbert Railton was still a name that many publishers wanted on the title pages of their books. J.M. Dent, later famous for their 'Everyman Library,' employed him on many of their early titles. Herbert Railton died of pneumonia on March 15th 1910. He was only 53 and would surely have gone on to embellish the world of letters for many years