Saturday, 29 October 2016

Railway Signalling in Britain (Index)

As this blog (like Topsy) 'just growed' the use of the 'Labels' to select a group of posts becomes less useful. The label 'railway signalling' currently produces almost 200 'hits' so I've started to add a few Index Posts to try to make life easier. It remains to be seen how effective this will be.

I've always been interesting in railway signalling so, back in 2013, I started a series of articles on Railway Signalling in Britain. The emphasis on historical systems, rather than modern practice. Progress is slow and erratic, I'm afraid, but the first six parts are available, as listed below:-

Part 1: Introduction 28-Apr-2013
Part 2 - Semaphore Signals 3-May-2013
Part 3 - Slotting 3-May-2013
Part 4 - Semaphore Signal Aspects by Night 13-May-2013
Part 5 - Signal Arm, Slot and Lamp Repeaters 23-May-2013
Part 6 - Mechanical Operation of Points 18-Sep-2014

Further topics are in preparation and, although quite a bit of work has been done, publication dates are uncertain:-

Part 7 - Train Detection
Part 8 - Colour Light Signals
Part 9 - Power Operation of Points
Part 10 - Absolute Block Working
Part 11 - Single Line Working
Part 12 - Automatic Train Control


There are also a number of articles about British signalling which don't form part of a series - more of a 'pot-pourri'. The one on Double Wire working is included because, although this is principally associated with overseas railways, Double Wire working is not unknown in Britain.

L. & N.W.R. Signal box architecture and features 16-Oct-2016
Double Wire Working of Points and Signals 29-Oct-2015
The use of Electricity in Railway Signalling 8-Oct-2015
Life in the Signal Box 20-Sep-2013
Manchester Piccadilly Station - Behind the Scenes 19-Mar-2013
The End of an Era 16-Jan-2013
A. F. Bound 3-Jan-2013
Sealed Release for Signal Boxes 24-Dec-2011
Single-stroke Bells 16-Dec-2011
Reading the Runes: Decoding Train Register Books 5-Dec-2011
The Train Register Book 29-Nov-2011
L&NWR Block Signalling Instruments 18-Jun-2008


In general (but there are no fixed rules in this blog), the above list excludes posts applying to a specific area or signal box, but there's a separate post Signal Box Posts (Index) which lists posts relating to specific locations.

Alternately, a lot of my early experiences working mechanical boxes in the West Midlands in the steam era can be traced through the introductory post Visiting Signalboxes.

Of course, an alternative way of looking for a specific topic is to use the Blogger search box and enter a word or phrase that might be included in the post, for instance 'block control'.

[Posts added 31-Oct-2016: Link to Signal Box Posts added 1-Nov-2016]

Riot of Steam



In preparing the post A Personal History of the Museum of Science and Industry recently, I discovered that, whilst my pictures of the 'Riot of Steam' event appear on the internet here, there was no report in this blog. Back in 2005, I wrote a short article about the event which appeared in 'Lionsheart', the newsletter of the Old Locomotive Committee, when I served as the editor. That article appears below.
On the 15th September 1830, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway commenced passenger operation. 175 years later, the original Manchester terminus in Liverpool Road forms part of the Museum of Science and Industry. To celebrate, the museum staged a four day gala on 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th September 2005.

If you missed it, you missed an excellent event. Well, maybe you can catch the 200th anniversary?

The working replicas of ‘Rocket’, ‘Sans Pareil’ and ‘Novelty’ were on hand, supported by the mainstay of museum steam operations, the ‘Planet’ replica. Twice a day, a cavalcade of these four locomotives was held, with an excellent and informative commentary given by Michael Bailey. For the rest of each day, ‘Rocket’, ‘Sans Pareil’ and ‘Planet’ alternated in giving passenger rides, each with its own reproduction coach (or, in the case of ‘Planet’, two coaches).

It’s hard to comprehend just how much organisation was needed to bring the whole gala together. Everybody at the museum is to be congratulated for their imagination is making it happen, providing the finance, and then providing the staff (paid and volunteer) to run the event over four days.

Particularly noteworthy was the appearance of ‘Novelty’, which lives in Sweden (Ericsson, the designer, was a Swede). Although the museum in Manchester has a non-working replica of ‘Novelty’, there is no substitute for a working locomotive (as we have commented regarding ‘Lion’ a few times). Interestingly, just as occurred at the original Rainhill trials, ‘Novelty’ was a firm favourite with the crowds. Something to do with her diminutive size and the way she dashed about. The first day of the gala was also rather wet, again, like the original Rainhill trials, I believe. ‘Novelty’ has now gone back to Sweden so who knows when there will be such a special meeting of replicas again?

Your Editor was present on each of the four days, along with OLCO member John Archer. Jan managed to drive and fire all the locomotives.

‘Lion’ was the only ‘original’ locomotive present representing the 1830s and, when not wet, Liverpool Museum allowed her to be positioned outside to provide better photographic opportunities. Charles Taylor Nobbs and John Brandrick shared the task of telling the visitors a little of the background of this remarkable survivor.


High-level view of the main 'Riot of Steam' site with (L-R) 'Lion', 'Sans Parel', 'Planet', 'Rocket' and 'Novelty'.

Exploring Britain's Railways

From time-to-time, I travel by train, sometimes for meetings, sometimes to see what remains of our railway system. There are reports of some of these trips, listed below in reverse date order, as they appear in the blog. Note that dates in the list below are original posting dates, not dates of events described.

There's no fixed format for these reports: sometimes they cover both the journey and what I did when I arrived, sometimes the journey features in a separate report. In general, posts on the railway history of geographical areas which don't involve a specific journey I've made are not included in this list (but some are, particularly when they were prompted by recent journeys). The content varies according to what caught my eye at the time, although railway operation and signalling often make an appearance.

An alternative way of looking for a specific journey or topic is to use the Blogger search box and enter a word that might be included in the post, for instance 'guildford'.

Return to Merseyside (Part 3)
Return to Merseyside (Part 2)
Return to Merseyside (Part 1)
Return to Manchester 24-Oct-16
Return to Blackpool and Fleetwood (part 2) 15-Oct-2016
By Rail to Nottingham 2-Sep-2016
Return to Blackpool and Fleetwood (part 1) 19-Feb-2016
Return to Llandudno 17-Feb-2016
Grand Central and Birmingham New Street Station 4-Feb-2016
By Train to Surrey 31-Jan-2016
Wolverhampton to Preston by rail 19-Oct-2015
Preston to Liverpool by Rail 20-Oct-2015
Visiting former 'Southern' stations in London 26-Aug-2015
By Rail to Guildford 14-Aug-2015
By Train to Irlam 7-Apr-2015
Railways around Shrewsbury 31-Dec-2014
Llandudno Railway Station 31-Dec-2014
Ellesmere Port - Helsby line 27-Oct-2014
More Merseyrail 21-Oct-2014
The Cheshire Lines Committee Routes Today 7-Oct-2014
The Great Eastern in the London Area 15-Sep-2014
Day Trip to Shipley 10-Sep-2014
Day Trip to Southport and Liverpool (Part 2) 4-Sep-2014
Day Trip to Southport and Liverpool (Part 1) 30-Aug-2014
A Trip to South Wales (Part 2) 15-Aug-2014
A Trip to South Wales (Part 1) 1-Aug-2014
Furness and the Cumbrian Coast (Part 2) 1-Jul-2014
Furness and the Cumbrian Coast (Part 1) 26-Jun-2016
By rail to Liverpool (Part 2) 24-Mar-2014
By rail to Liverpool (Part 1) 14-Mar-2014
By Rail to Chirk 12-Mar-2014
Railways around Birkenhead 28-Feb-2014
Birkenhead and New Brighton by train (Part 3) 25-Feb-2014
Birkenhead and New Brighton by train (Part 2) 20-Feb-2014
Birkenhead and New Brighton by train (Part 1) 19-Feb-2014
The Holyhead to Crewe Railway Line 14-Feb-2014
Trip to Holyhead (Part 2: Llandudno to Holyhead) 10-Feb-2014
Trip to Holyhead (Part 1: Crewe to Llandudno) 30-Jan-2014
Walsall by Rail 19-Jan-2014
Railways around Blackpool 18-Jan-2014
Railways around Morecambe 30-Dec-2013
Return to Heysham 20-Dec-2013
The Buxton Branch 26-Nov-2013
Another Saturday in Manchester 10-Oct-2013
Railways around Edge Hill in 2013 30-Aug-2013
A Busy Week 5-Aug-2013
A Saturday in Manchester 11-Jun-2013
Day Trip to Ely 5-Jun-2013
'Black 5' to Birmingham 4-Jun-2013
Liverpool Lime Street Station 28-May-2013
Clapham Junction Station, London 20-May-2013
By Rail to Manchester 19-Mar-2013
London & Birmingham in 2012 29-May-2012
Liverpool by Train 25-May-2012
A Trip to the Seaside (Part 2) 27-Nov-2011
East London Line 24-Jun-2010
Day Trip to Liverpool 24-May-2010
Redevelopment at King's Cross Station 8-Dec-2009
Brave New Railway (again) 5-Aug-2009
Crewe Station 22-Jul-2008
Halfex to Blackpool 5-Jul-2008
Stafford Station in the 'Fifties 25-Jun-2008
Birmingham Moor Street Station 1-Jul-2008
9:17 a.m. to Birmingham 9-Jun-2008
London's Terminal Stations 26-Feb-2008
My First Steam Special 17-Jul-2007
A Sunday Stroll to Stafford 19-Jun-2007


['Return to Merseyside' added: 9-Jan-2017]

Thursday, 27 October 2016

A Personal History of the Museum of Science and Industry

The Liverpool Road Station Site

The first main-line railway in the world was the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, opened in 1830. The Manchester terminus was situated in Liverpool Road and the immediate success of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway resulted in passenger traffic outgrowing the site by 1844, moving to a larger station at Manchester Victoria which offered interchange facilities with other railways which were springing up. The original Liverpool Road site was retained as a Goods Depot which remained in use until 1975. There's a brief history of the site on the excellent 'Disused Stations' site here. The group of buildings and structures which survive offer a remarkable insight into the start of the Railway Age. The term "World Heritage Site" has often been used in describing the area but, tragically, it was not formally so designated and relied on the protection offered, latterly, by the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

A Science Museum for Manchester

In the 1960s, there was widespread support or the idea of creating a science and technology museum in Manchester and Dr. Richard Hills M.B.E. was involved in the creation of the North Western Museum of Science and Industry, becoming a Curator/Director in 1965. The museum found temporary accommodation in 1967 at 97 Grosvenor Street which had been purchased for redevelopment by the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) but the larger objects being acquired by Dr. Hills for the museum had to be dismantled and placed in store until a permanent home could be found.

The Liverpool Road Station Society

A group of mainly local people formed the Liverpool Road Station Society and adopted these aims in 1979:-
The preservation and restoration to its original condition of Liverpool Road Railway Station in the City of Manchester as a place of historical interest with the outbuildings and appurtenances thereto belonging in such manner as shall be thought fit and in furtherance of these objects but not further or otherwise the Society shall have the following powers: To promote public interest in the Society's celebration of the 150th anniversary of the inauguration in 1830 of of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and for celebrating of the anniversary in succeeding years.
Two aims converge

Greater Manchester Council eventually purchased the Liverpool Road site to provide a permanent home for the Science Museum and this allowed the Liverpool Road Station Society to organise a gala at the site in 1980, the same year that a locomotive cavalcade, 'Rocket 150', was held at Rainhill to celebrate the 150th anniversary of "Rocket's" success at the Rainhill Trials. There's an interesting piece on the acquisition of the Liverpool Road site in the blog of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology & Medicine here.

The Museum of Science and Industry

The Greater Manchester Museum of Science and Industry opened to the public on 15th September 1983. In 1985 the 'Friends of the Greater Manchester Museum of Science and Industry' charity replaced the 'Liverpool Road Station Society' to both continue its work in preserving the railway aspects of the site and also provide volunteers to assist the professional staff in the various museum galleries. Also in 1985, the museum took over the museum established in the former Lower Campfield Market which became the Air and Space Hall.

A short demonstration railway line was created through the museum yard and the Friends operated steam trains on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, giving the public round trips from a station near Lower Byrom Street to the museum railway gates adjacent to Water Street. From here, the original connection to the main line was retained, allowing occasional visiting locomotives. The site had two resident locomotives - 'Agecroft No. 3', an RSH 0-4-0ST and 'Lord Ashfield', a Barclay six-coupled Fireless Steam. Passengers were carried in a pair of 4-wheel vehicles built to resemble typical 1830 coaches which were roofed but open-sided. A modest charge was collected by the Friends with the ambitious aim of funding a working replica of an 1830-era locomotive.

At that time, the museum itself operated as a charitable trust under the name 'The Greater Manchester Museum of Science and industry' (sometimes referred to simply as 'GMMSI') which was also its 'working name'. However, the Greater Manchester County Council was abolished on 31st March 1986 so, later, the 'working name' was changed to the 'Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester' ('MSIM') and, similarly, the Friends Organisation became known as 'Friends of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester' with the aim of "supporting the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester by providing volunteers and financial donations". At that time, all working volunteers were required to be members of the Friends organisation. At some point, I think the museum became known as 'Manchester Museum of Science & Industry' ('MMSI')

The visit of 'Lion'

In the post Lion I described how I became involved with the locomotive 'Lion' during her tour in 1988. As a result, I accompanied 'Lion' to Manchester for a series of very successful steamings in 1988.

Jan and the Museum of Science and History

I found the volunteers at Manchester very welcoming. I shared their affection for the unique location and became a member of the Friends, beginning a long career as a working volunteer on the museum's steam railway. I've been a witness to the various changes at the museum since 1988 but not, I'm afraid, an assiduous chronicler. I didn't become a 'blogger' until the end of 2006 (with a tentative initial post titled In the beginning .... There are a number of posts describing my involvement with the museum both before and after that date but it is a very patchy record I'm afraid. You can find them all by selecting the label 'MOSI', clicking here or select individual posts from the list in the section Related posts on this website below.

As a working volunteer at the museum, I was involved with the operation of the steam train rides, progressing through the ranks of guard, shunter, fireman, driver and operating officer. At first, we used the locomotives 'Agecroft No. 3' and 'Lord Ashfield'. From time-to-time there were other visiting industrial locomotives. I was involved in arranging the visit of the 0-6-0 well tank 'Bellerophon' dating from 1874 and was appointed "owner's representative" during the visit. Because of my involvement with 'Lion', I'd also become a working volunteer at Birmingham Railway Museum (there's a brief description here) so I was gaining practical experience at two, albeit short, railways. I'm uncertain about the chronology, but I was delighted when Manchester obtained permission to run the regular trains beyond the museum railway gates. The extended running line took passengers across the Water Street bridge, the listed Irwell Bridge built by the Stephensons in 1830 and into Salford, stopping at a second set of gates beyond which we had a tantalising view of the connection to the parallel main line. On the extension, we could watch the passing trains and they could watch us. Waving and whistling was usual. Further changes to the railway were to follow.

The museum and the 'Planet' replica

As early as 1984, Doctor Richard Hills, talking about the replica 1830 coaches, said "One day, if finances allow, the dream might be realised of building a replica locomotive of the same period to go with the coaches". Led by Michael Bailey, and with additional sponsorship from British Engine Insurance, the Friends organisation succeeded in designing and building a working replica of the 1830 'Planet' locomotive. The replica was inaugurated in 1992. I participated in 'trials' carried out by 'Planet' at two preserved railways - the Great Central Railway and the East Lancashire Railway. After the excitement of the 'trials', 'Planet' settled into the role of bearing the brunt of operating the regular passenger rides. There's a short review of the history of the replica in the post from 2013 here.

Changing times

The museum continued to develop. The regular use of 'Planet' and the extension of the running line over the Irwell Bridge brought increased interest in the railway but, sadly, when heavy repairs to both 'Agecroft No. 3' and 'Lord Ashfield' were required, funds could not be found for either. I regretted this: 'Agecroft No. 3' was the first locomotive I drove on a regular basis and the use of a fireless steam locomotive on a passenger service was unusual, if not unique.

During the 1990s, the museum seemed to lose its pride in its local connections and a re-branding exercise replaced the old-fashioned 'MSIM' (or was it 'MMSI'?) with the inelegant 'MOSI' - 'Museum Of Science & Industry'. Ostensibly to improve site car parking arrangements, some time in the 1990s, the original platform near Lower Byrom Street was abandoned and a new rather inconvenient platform substituted further down the site. At some stage, the shorter run was more than compensated by the laying of a new line across the top of the Colonnade which joined the original line at the Irwell Bridge, forming a 'Y' shaped route and adding interest for the public in being able to watch the fireman operate the ground frame which controlled the junction points.

'Riot of Steam'

In 2005, the Museum improved the railway facilities by constructing a loop and siding in the vicinity of the 1830 Warehouse, in time to mount a major event called 'Riot of Steam' to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. I enjoyed this event, managing to get brief periods driving on the visiting 'Rocket', 'Sans Pareil' and 'Novelty' replicas, in addition to a 'turn' on 'Planet'. The locomotive 'Lion' was in store in the Power Hall at the time (in non-steamable condition) and, with special permission from the owners Liverpool Museums, was dragged into the sunlight. Unfortunately, the event was not a financial success. Remarkably, 'Riot of Steam' has failed to provoke its own blog post here (as yet) but there is a collection of my pictures called Liverpool & Manchester 175th.

Transport Festival, August 2009

The museum re-instated the running line to its original length by using the remaining siding adjacent to the Power Hall (with the all-important inspection pit) as the new running line and providing a new single platform, ready for a nine-day Transport Festival hosted by the museum in August 2009, the last three days of which carried the sub-title the 'Great Garratt Gathering'. My report is here.

Liverpool & Manchester 180th Celebrations

In September 2010 the 180th anniversary of the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was celebrated at various locations. At the museum, the 'Planet' replica was joined by the 'Rocket' replica (with its own train). As well as working on 'Planet', I was able to renew my acquaintance with 'Rocket'.

More changing times

Although 'Agecroft No. 3' had been transferred to Swindon Museum, with renewed optimism sister engine 'Agecroft No. 1' was acquired (in kit form) and, with support from the Friends, was restored and returned to service in 2011. The museum ran 'Thomas the Tank' events in 2011 and 2012.

MOSI and the Science Museum Group

Amidst increasing austerity, MOSI became part of the Science Museum Group in February 2012. This did not end the financial problems and, in 2013 the Director of Science Museum Group Ian Blatchford said that the further cut in funding proposed by the government would result in one of the northern museums closing, as I reported here. My report also discussed the threat to the museum's extended demonstration line posed by Network Rail's Ordsall Chord scheme. In my later report here in October 2013, I reported that the threat of museum closure had abated, but that a number of paid staff had lost their jobs and that, although the Museum had formally registered objections to the Network Rail proposals, that threat was undiminished.

Happy Birthday 'Planet'

In 2013, the 'Planet' replica was 21 years old and, amid the gathering gloom, a party was held at the museum on 27th November 2013 (report here). When I later heard that the museum had withdrawn their formal objections to the Network Rail plans in return for financial compensation, I think I despaired and subsequently stopped volunteering in circumstances that I would not have chosen.

Spot the difference

Clearly, a little more rebranding was called for. The unloved 'Museum Of Science & Industry' was swept away.


Museum of Science & Industry: The 'Ferranti Tower' in 2012.

The altogether more accessible form 'Museum of Science + Industry' came into use. The '+' sign presumably represents the 'science' part of the brief. Visible on the picture (but not available on a simple 'QWERTY' keyboard, I'm afraid) is the hexagon and circle placed co-axially with the '+' sign. I assume the hexagon and circle form a 'nut' representing the 'industry' side of the brief.


Museum of Science + Industry: The 'Ferranti Tower' in 2016.

Demise of the Friends

The 'Museum of Science + Industry', of course, carries on as part of the Science Museum Group but the museum which the Friends organisation was set up to help no longer exists so the Friends organisation is now disbanded after some 31 years and has disbursed its remaining funds to the 'Museum of Science + Industry' to be used on a number of nominated projects, after which it will be removed from the charities register and will cease to exist. Although the 'Friends' are no more, the Museum is seeking 'Volunteers' - more information here. As far as the railway operation is concerned, there is a role 'Trainee Railway Fireman', described here although I believe paid staff are also used on the operation which still intends to offer passenger rides. The railway 'extension' and the line over the colonnade are no more. The demonsration line is now truncated at the Water Street Railway gate, exactly as it was back in 1988 when I became a Friend.


Museum of Science + Industry: Disconnected tracks at the gates of the Museum.

Commemorating the contribution of the Friends

I received an invitation to attend the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in honour of the Friends of the Museum on 19th October 2016. I attended the well-patronised event, specifically hoping to see some of the many railway operating volunteers I'd enjoyed working with over more than a quarter of a century. I think I counted four. The plaque reads:-
Friends of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester 1983-2015

The museum gratefully acknowledges the time, work and fundraising of the many members of the Friends organisation. Their tireless support and dedication helped us achieve our high reputation for learning and enjoyment.
My pictures of the event are here.


Museum of Science + Industry: Commemorate plaque and (L-R) Sally MacDonald (Museum Director), Michael Bailey, Dame Mary Archer DBE (Chairman of the Board of Trustees).

Related posts on other websites

Liverpool Road (Transport Heritage site)
Liverpool Road (Wikipedia)

Related posts on this website

Dates are original posting dates, not dates of events described.

'Single-Wheeler' locomotives 10-Nov-2015
Driving the 'Planet' replica 11-Sep-2015
Happy Birthday 'Planet'! 29-Nov-2013
'Planet' in Perspective 12-Nov-2013
'Planet' at MOSI - The First 21 Years 21-Oct-2013
Another Saturday in Manchester 12-Oct-2013
The Planet Replica 10-Oct-2013
Manchester Mini Maker Faire 2013 13-Aug-2013
A Busy Week 5-Aug-2013
A Saturday in Manchester 11-Jun-2013
Easter Week at the Museum of Science and Industry 9-Apr-2013
Saturday Steam 4-Mar-2013
Santa Specials - 2012 17-Dec-2012
Day out with Thomas at MOSI 31-Aug-2012
MOSI Mini Maker Faire 15-Aug-2012
Agecroft at MOSI 3-Jan-2012
'Thomas' visits MOSI 4-Sep-2011
Agecroft No. 1 2-Jun-2011
Liverpool & Manchester 180th Celebrations 30-Sep-2010
Beyer Peacock, Gorton 28-Sep-2010
Transport Festival, August 2009 16-Aug-2009
New Platform at MOSI 30-Jun-2009
Dalek Invasion in Manchester 26-Aug-2007
Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester 26-Aug-2007
'Planet' locomotive in Operation 14-Apr-2007

My pictures

All my albums around the museum are here.

[L&M 180th Celebrations added 29-Oct-2016]

Monday, 24 October 2016

Return to Manchester

I was a regular visitor to Manchester for many years after I became a working volunteer at the Museum of Science and Industry in 1988. However, after my volunteering stopped around 2014, my visits to the city became infrequent. An invitation to the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in honour of the Friends of the Museum on 19th October 2016 offered a good reason to return to the city, and look at a little of the railway system. Of course, I chose to travel by train.

My journey on Wednesday, 19th October 2016

The direct service from Wolverhampton to Manchester is currently operated by Cross Country, using 'Voyagers'. The whole of my journey would be 'under the wires' but using diesel traction. The 09:15 from Wolverhampton was a 4-car set and we made good time to Stafford, where we stood for 5 minutes. The new Norton Bridge Flyover came into use on 29-Mar-2016, so we were routed via the Slow Line (now upgraded for 100 m.p.h. running) to Norton Bridge where we diverged to the left onto the new Down Manchester, rising at 1 in 125, before crossing over the four lines of the West Coast Main Line and rejoining the 'old' line to Stone.


View of WMCL from Down Manchester train.


Revised layout at Norton Bridge (Rail Engineer).
[Click on image for larger view]


We made a very slow approach to Stone, finally coming to a stand at signal SOT 411, part way along the curving platform, watched by passengers waiting for a following stopping train. After a few minutes, a Virgin 'Pendolino' scurried past on the Down Line from Colwich and our signal cleared. By the time we had reached the next signal, it was already 'green' and we had a succession of 'green' aspects until we approached Stoke and passed the former Marcroft Engineering, now Axiom Rail and a DB Schenker company. We came to a dead stand just outside the station before being admitted to the platform and, by the time we'd completed station duties and set off, we were about five minutes 'down'. Our next station stop was Macclesfield, where a crowd of passengers joined the train. We'd not recovered any of our lost time when we approached Bramhall and we were once again stopped by an adverse signal.

I always think the design of the signal heads on the Manchester South scheme rather odd. They are the usual modern 4-aspect types using Light Emitting Diodes projected through two 'lenses' but provided with a shaped hood which includes a rectangular tab hanging down inside. I assume the tab is to prevent low sun reflecting off the lens. I believe the signals were supplied by Ansaldo.


Bramhall: Signal MS 385 (sorry about the reflections from the brightly-lit coach interior).

In a while, the signal cleared and we continued at a modest pace to Cheadle Hulme, where we were once again stopped by signal MS 391 sited towards the end of the sharply-curved platform. Presently, we continued to our stop at Stockport, arriving over ten minutes late. We had no further delays on the short journey to Piccadilly. I can't recall an earlier trip from Wolverhampton to Manchester which suffered four signal stops, but on our arrival the Guard only made the usual non-committal comment over the public address regretting our late running and no explanation was offered.

Around Manchester

With a little under three hours before I needed to be at the Museum, I'd decided to make a quick trip to Rochdale to see how the railways had changed. This involved a train from Manchester Victoria so I descended to the Undercroft at Piccadilly which houses the Metrolink tram station. In 2013, I'd seen some of the non-public areas of the Undercroft during a fascinating visit to the Piccadilly Signalling Control Centre, described here (with links to pictures).

I purchased a 'Train and Tram Daysaver' ticket from one of the Ticket Machines on the platform to cover my explorations. Since I first travelled on Metrolink, the network has expanded remarkably - there's a System Map here. My tram was the third to arrive and I sat near the front as we rumbled through the streets, pausing briefly at Piccadilly Gardens, Market Street and Shudehill before arriving at Manchester Victoria.

Victoria tram and train station had changed out of recognition since my earlier visit on 12th March 2013. The station was remodelled in the 1990s when Metrolink took over the former electrified railway line to Bury, and a two-platform tram station huddled under the old train sheds, adjacent to the remaining British Rail terminal platforms. The tram station now has three, improved platforms and, just outside the station, there's a junction leading to a temporary new terminus at Exchange Square. This is part of the Second City Crossing project (inevitably abbreviated to '2CC') which, in the future, will continue to a junction with the existing route at St. Peter's Square.


Manchester Victoria Tram Station looking towards Piccadilly Gardens. The new '2CC' route can be seen diverging to the right.

The enlarged tram station formed part of a 44 million pound station upgrade, completed in October 2015, of which 20 million pounds was spent on a modern, airy overall roof, clad in some sort of semi-transparent fabric, covering the Tram Station, the Terminal Platforms and the Concourse area. The old train sheds have been removed (although the outline of the gables can still be seen on the wall of the main station building facing the platforms) to make way for the modern roof. I noticed a worker (in hard hat and orange High Visibility overalls) walking across the outside of the new roof but the significance of this wasn't apparent until I later discovered that, following a rainstorm on the afternoon prior to my visit, several roof panels above platforms 1 and 2 had fallen to the ground, soaking numerous people with rainwater and injuring two. That discovery rather limited my admiration for the improvements but I suppose all this investment in roofs which cannot withstand normal English weather is to be expected in a country which so mismanages its capital projects.

The following two pictures show the stone facade of the road elevation of the 1909 station building and the rear elevation of the same building with the new roof.


Manchester Victoria's elegant facade by William Dawes, provided for the station extension of 1909, viewed in 2013.


Manchester Victoria: Platform elevation of the 1909 station building, showing the new roof viewed from the Metrolink platforms in 2016. The elevated walkway leads to the Manchester Arena.

The following two pictures show part of the concourse area before and after the traditional glazed roof was replaced by the new roof.


Manchester Victoria concourse area in 2013, showing the traditional glazed roof.


A similar view (taken from the elevated walkway to the Manchester Arena) after construction of the new roof.

Politicians are now fond of calling Lancashire and Yorkshire "The Northern Powerhouse", so I went to platform 1, eager to see what type of train was deemed suitable for the Leeds service, running non-stop to Rochdale - it was a 2-car Class 142 'Pacer'. I'm not a fan of diesel railcars built of bus parts but we lolloped along (as 4-wheel long-wheelbase vehicles do) gamely enough, making noisy progress at full throttle with the folding power doors (and everything else) rattling and the wind howling under the doors, arriving at Rochdale right time.

I knew that the station had been completely rebuilt and that Rochdale can also be reached by Metrolink tram, but, after a quick look at the modernised streetscene outside the station, I decided to defer exploration of the town centre until a later visit and return to Manchester Victoria. However, I was struck by the foreign appearance of the Church of St John the Baptist built in 1927 in Byzantine Revival style and listed Grade II*.


View outside Rochdale railway station. The domed building is St John the Baptist Roman Catholic church.

Waiting for the return service, I could just make out evidence of the platforms of the earlier, larger station. The new station is a simple island with a bay which I presume once serviced the Oldham branch, now part of the 'Metrolink' network. However, there's a new bay at the Manchester end which hasn't yet been brought into service. As recently as 2013, there was a signalbox called 'Rochdale West' (code 'TH') but the modern 4-aspect colour light signal I could see was numbered 'TH 7300', suggesting that control has been transferred to the Rail Operating Centre at Ashburys.


Rochdale. View from end of Up platform looking towards Manchester, with the new bay platform on the right.

The train back was a well-patronised Class 158 but the return journey took a little longer as we made stops at Castleton, Mills Hill and Moston. I look a few more pictures at Victoria, as 66 708 hustled a freight westbound through platform 4. In addition to the terminal platforms 1 and 2, there remain four bi-directional through platforms. Platforms 3 and 4 have some daylight above, but platforms 5 and 6 are buried beneath the massive bulk of the Manchester Arena. To look at the 'western approaches' to Victoria, I headed towards a diesel multiple unit forming the 12:10 to Wigan Wallgate standing in platform 3, which took off before I reached it.


Manchester Victoria: The 12:10 for Wigan Wallgate leaving platform 3.

However, I caught the 12:14 off platform 4 for Kirkby, via Wigan Wallgate. The four lines to Deal Street Junction now have Overhead Line Equipment and the junctions appeared to have been further simplified.


Manchester area rail: Approaching Deal Street Junction, with the former Threlfall's Cook Street Brewery (now Deva City Office Park) in the background.

We made a quick stop at Salford Central, overdue to be electrified as part of the electrification to Blackpool, then continued past the Hope Street Cement Discharge Sidings on our left to Salford Crescent where the line from Ordsall Lane Junction trailed in, also on our left. We made our second stop at Salford Crescent, where I got off on the single island platform to watch my train disappear on the Atherton Line, heading for Kirkby. I was reminded of the trip I made along the Kirkby Line on 9-Aug-2014, described here.


Salford Crescent, with 12:21 to Kirkby about to leave platform 2. Signal MP 405 is showing 'green' with a 'white feather' for the Atherton line diverging to the left, to which a 30 m.p.h. limit applies, as shown by the reflective sign and arrow on the signal post.

I'd originally intended to re-trace my route back to Manchester Victoria but I discovered that in 5 minutes there was a Manchester Airport service stopping at Deansgate which was a simpler option. Leaving Salford Crescent, we took the right-hand route, leading to Ordsall Lane Junction where we crossed the original Liverpool and Manchester line (now called the Chat Moss line). As we continued to Castlefield Junction, on the left I could see the elaborate civil engineering works involved in the construction of the new Ordsall Chord with the Museum of Science and Industry in the background.


Approaching Deansgate from Salford Crescent. The 1830 Warehouse at the Museum of Science and Industry is visible in the background.

From Deansgate station, I walked to the Museum.

The Journey Home

After the 'unveiling' at the Museum, I walked back to Deansgate station but, with no train to Piccadilly for over half an hour, I took the pedestrian walkway across Whitworth Street to reach Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink station, which I remembered with two staggered platforms. This station had also been rebuilt since my last visit, now having three platforms and pointwork allowing arrivals from either direction to 'turnback'. In fact, one tram from Cornbook direction did just that in the few minutes I waited for a Piccadilly service.


Deansgate-Castlefield with a 'double' unit arriving from St. Peter's Square direction.

On arrival at Piccadilly, I discovered I just had time to jump on the 15:27 Cross Country 'Voyager' to Bournemouth via Wolverhampton. We made our first station stop at Stockport and then were stopped by signals at Edgeley Junction No. 1. The signal cleared after a diesel multiple unit growled past on the down, so I suspect they'd crossed the diesel in front of us from the Buxton Line. But I've no idea why we were stopped again before the junction at Cheadle Hulme. Once under way again we had no further signal delays and, after our booked stops at Macclesfield, Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford, we arrived at Wolverhampton about 'right time', allowing me to catch the last bus home. After recent timetable changes, this is now at the ridiculously early time of 17:10!

Origins of the railways around Manchester

The tangle of railways which developed around Manchester, many of which are still in use, is perhaps better understood by looking at the pre-grouping map below.

I'd arrived that morning at Piccadilly (originally London Road) on what was the London & North Western Railway. The Metrolink network is, of course, modern. My trip to Rochdale and Salford Crescent were on the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, which merged with the London & North Western Railway shortly before the grouping. My journey from Salford Crescent to Ordsall Lane Junction and on to Deansgate (originally Knott Mill & Deansgate) only became possible in 1991 with the opening of the Windsor Link and a new interchange station at Salford Crescent.


Railway Clearing House Map of Pre-Grouping Railways around Manchester dated 1910, showing London & North Western lines in red, Lancashire & Yorkshire lines in blue.
Click for other sizes or to download


Related posts on other websites

Improvingements Stafford - Crewe (Network Rail).
Norton Bridge rail flyover opens.
Easing the Flow (Rail Engineer).
Manchester Victoria station (Wikipedia).
Manchester Victoria (MCV) (National Rail).


Related posts in this blog

By Rail to Manchester.
Manchester Piccadilly Station - Behind the Scenes.

My pictures

Stafford Area rail.
Stoke Area Rail.
Manchester Area Rail.
Manchester Metrolink.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

L. & N.W.R. Signal box architecture and features

LNWR 'composite' signal box at Market Bosworth, under restoration in 2013.

In the post Visiting Signalboxes I described the start of my interest in railway signalling.

In my post The London and North Western Railway, I mentioned the signals and signal boxes introduced by the prolific designer Francis William Webb for the LNWR. There's a little about signals in the post L&NWR Signalling and the 'Bedstead'.

The Building

In the early days of railway signalling, safety was largely dependent upon what the signalman could see, so signal boxes normally had an elevated operating floor to improve the signalman's view of the lines he controlled. The operating floor was usually generously provided with windows, producing a 'greenhouse' appearance. Some of these windows were arranged to open so that the signalman had an unimpaired view. Some railways used one of the railway signalling contractors to supply signal boxes and signalling equipment, others carried out the work 'in-house'.

The LNWR originally used outside contractors but Webb believed that manufacturing in-house led to highest quality and lowest cost to the railway so distinctive LNWR signal box designs were produced, assembled from common parts. The upper operating floor and roof were timber-framed, the lower section (usually termed the 'locking room') could be either wooden or brick, depending upon the site. Where a brick lower section was provided, the height could vary according to the site. For more details, refer to Richard Foster's excellent book [reference 1].

The LNWR was uncharacteristically generous in the provision of opening casements on the operating floor. These were arranged to slide on a rather crude metal rail and, when closed, a thumbscrew with a square thread form was provided to secure the casement closed. But usually, even when closed, windows were a source of draught, as were the slots to allow the levers to be moved. In my post Life in the Signal Box, there's a section titled Heating Signalboxes which deals with this. Needless to say, the LNWR also produced its own cast iron stoves for use in signalboxes in-house.

Crewe Heritage Centre is home to the preserved Crewe Station 'A' Box. There's more about the LNWR signal boxes at Crewe in the post Crewe Station Signal Boxes. Although this example is a little unusual (having a flat-roof because it was situated beneath the All-over roofing of the station, had an electric rather than mechanical frame of the 'Crewe' All Electric pattern and with a non-standard brick base to match the brickwork of the station itself), it still uses elements common to most LNWR boxes.


Crewe Station 'A' Signal Box, as preserved at Crewe Heritage Centre.

Security of Signalboxes

Signal box security remained very simple back at least up to the 1960s. LNWR boxes had a very simple door handle and latch made from a few standard castings which incorporated a screw-down 'lock' requiring only a simple forked key which was common to all boxes. It was so crude, I made my own key out of an old poker. And yet, vandalism didn't seem a major problem then unless the box had remained 'switched out' and unattended for a length of time.

When boxes were staffed, you could just walk in but nowadays lockable 'cages' are being provided around the access steps. Helsby was the first box I'd seen with this feature but it is being introduced more widely. In my post Ellesmere Port - Helsby line, I mused that "this might be to protect the public from a particularly violent breed of signalmen but I'm sure it's actually to protect signalmen from enraged passengers ('customers'?) when they despair of getting to their destination".

Helsby modernised LNWR signal box with 'cage'.

In my post The Holyhead to Crewe Railway Line, there are (not very good) pictures I took of the signal boxes which survive between Holyhead and Crewe. Many of these are LNWR-built boxes, with varying degrees of modernisation (dual glazed UPVC windows are the most common change). The post By Rail to Manchester has a few 'snatched' pictures of LNWR boxes and there are other pictures scattered around my railway posts - I must try to collect then into an album.

Other websites

The Signal Box site has many signal box pictures, plus links to similar resources.
Signalling Record Society is an indispensible source of information.

Book references

[1] 'A Pictorial Record of L.N.W.R. Signalling' by Richard D. Foster (Oxford Publishing Company 1982) SBN: 86093 147 1.
[2] ‘A Pictorial Record of L.M.S. Signals’ by L. G. Warburton with V. R. Anderson (Oxford Publishing Company 1972) SBN 902888 09 9.
[3] ‘The Signal Box – A Pictorial History and Guide to Designs’ by the Signalling Study Group (Oxford Publishing Company 1986) ISBN 0-86093-224-9.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Return to Blackpool and Fleetwood (part 2)

On 13th February 2016, I made a day trip to Blackpool and Fleetwood. The train journey to Blackpool didn't go quite to plan so it was about five hours between leaving home and arriving at Blackpool North station. This is described in Return to Blackpool and Fleetwood (part 1). This part continues the story.

Click on any image below for 'uncropped' view, or search 'My pictures' to view or download in various sizes.


Blackpool

The weather in Blackpool, famous for its amusement park and seasonal 'Illuminations' (sometimes called 'The Lights') was dry and sunny but there was a fairly cool wind coming off the sea. I knew I'd want to take a trip to Fleetwood on the modernised tram system so I'd taken the precaution of printing out the tram timetable. I judged that by the time I'd walked down Talbot Road to the North Pier tram stop, I'd just miss the next tram going north. However, by hustling along a little, I reached the tram stop before the tram arrived and I gratefully took a seat at the front with a view down the line ahead for the 8-mile journey.


Blackpool Trams: View ahead en route to Fleetwood. The tram rumbled along Lord Street, the 'main street' but a little shabby in places. There's a large market nearby but I stayed on the tram until the last stop at 'The Ferry'.

Fleetwood's History

Until the 19th century, the area was fairly barren sand dunes. In 1835 the then-owner of the land, Peter Hesketh (1801-1866), later Sir Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood, decided the location could serve as both a resort and a seaport for ferries taking passengers to Scotland before the developing railway system was able to compete. The layout of the new town was arranged with a part-cartwheel plan (clearly visible in the picture below) by the architect and garden-designer Decimus Burton (1800-1881). The 'spokes' of the part-cartwheel radiated from the largest dune in the area, which was landscaped, turned into gardens and became 'The Mount'. There's a short history of 'The Mount' here and information on both the modern restoration and history of the site on the Wyre Council site here.

There's a Wikipedia article on Fleetwoodhere.


An aerial view of Fleetwood taken a few years ago (Photo:urbed.coop)
Click here for a larger view.


Fleetwood on Foot

I alighted at 'The Ferry' and walked past the futuristic-looking Radar Station operated by the Fleetwood Nautical Campus, part of Blackpool and the Fylde College. Looking seawards, the remains of the Wyre Light were visible, two miles out and, further away, the massive buildings of Heysham Nuclear Power Stations, mentioned in the post Railways around Morecambe.


Radar Station operated by Fleetwood Nautical Campus.

I walked to the Fleetwood Marine Hall and then across 'The Mount' to emerge in the town's main street, continuing to Dock Street in order to admire more of the buildings designed by Decimus Burton before relaxing with a splendid fish and chip meal at 'The Fish House'.


Fleetwood: Mount Pavilion.

Suitably fortified by the food, I decided to carry on walking to the 'Freeport', a retail mall where the outside shopping areas are curiously reminiscent of a Wild West Town.


Freeport Fleetwood: The wooden-clad shops with canopies reminded me of a 'Wild West' town.

The 'Freeport' is adjacent to the dock area now almost wholly converted into a yacht marina. I saw one preserved ocean-going trawler which is open to the public at certain times.


Fleetwood: Former Dock now a Marina.

Saddened at the sight of the loss of a vital fishing port, I walked towards Lord Street, at an area called Fisherman's Wharf, suitably 'prettified' for tourists with displays of ship's anchors and a buoy next to the 1994 Frances Mary Lofthouse Clock. This lady was the late mother of Tony Lofthouse, the husband of Mrs. Doreen Lofthouse who is the present CEO of Fisherman's Friend. I gather there's another public clock further along Lord Street usually called the "Four-faced Liar" because of a reputation of showing different times on each of the four clock faces.


Fleetwood: 1994 clock in memory of Frances Mary Lofthouse.

The Former Railway at Fleetwood

The Preston & Wyre Railway opened in 1840, with a terminal station next to the ferry landing stage served by the nearby North Euston Hotel. Back in 1965, I visited the area when the station was still open, but threatened with closure. I made a very rough sketch of the arrangements which can be found here. Today, no trace of the railway remains.

Returning home

I caught a tram back to Blackpool and had a quick stroll in the vicinity of the North Pier, before walking to Blackpool North station and returning to Wolverhampton by train.


Blackpool Tower viewed from the North Pier, showing improvements to the sea wall.

Related articles in this blog

Return to Blackpool and Fleetwood (part 1).
A Trip to the Seaside (a trip to Blackpool & Fleetwood in January 2014).

My pictures

Blackpool Trams.
Blackpool and Fleetwood (the towns).

Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 4 - Pre-Grouping Approaches to London

The pattern of Pre-Grouping lines which were to form the Southern Railway was initially determined by the complex parliamentary approvals given to the early railways. The success of the railways resulted in that pattern being overlaid by a complex of suburban lines as London developed.

Since 1899, the London Chatham and Dover Railway and the South Eastern Railway, still retaining their separate legal identities, had operated jointly as the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR) so, at the Grouping, that railway merged with the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) and the London Brighton & South Coast Railway (LBSCR). The complexity of these routes is shown on the map below.

The River Thames makes its serpentine progress across the top of the map, with the various termini close to the River on both banks - Victoria, Waterloo, Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Blackfriars and London Bridge (the last two having both terminal and through platforms).

The earliest route, the former London and Greenwich, runs initially south east from London Bridge operated by the SECR, serving their routes in north Kent. The LBSCR line branches south from the SECR within 2 miles of London Bridge to Norwood Junction. Further south, the LBSCR divides into the main 'Brighton' line through East Croydon and the line through West Croydon to Dorking and Guildford.

The LSWR runs from Waterloo south west to Clapham Junction where it divides, one fork forming the main line to Southampton, Portsmouth and the West, the other leading the Richmond and the suburbs.

The SECR line from Victoria heads south east to connect with its original route from London Bridge serving north Kent. The LBSCR line from Victoria provides interchange facilities with the LSWR at Clapham Junction before joining with the earlier 'Brighton' route just north of East Croydon. At Clapham Junction, the map also shows a short, multi-coloured branch heading north west. This is the important West London Extension Railway, jointly owned by the Great Western, London and North Western, LSWR and LBSCR.

The South Eastern Railway developed the through platforms at London Bridge, leading to the additional stations on the north bank of the Thames at Charing Cross and Cannon Street, ultimately becoming part of the SECR.

The SECR also operated Blackfriars, originally built by the London and Chatham Railway, with an onward extension through Snow Hill Tunnel to the Metropolitan Railway. Although British Railways closed Snow Hill Tunnel for a number of years, re-opened, it now forms part of the essential 'Thameslink' route.

Click here for larger image
Southern approaches to London.



Line key for London map.



Maps
The map above is from the 'Railway Map of England & Wales', 11th Edition, published W. & A. K. Johnston.

Details of these railways today are shown in the 'Quail Track Diagrams':-
'Railway Track Diagrams Book 5: Southern and TfL' Third Edition, published by TRACKmaps (ISBN 978-0-9549866-4-3).

Related articles on this web site

Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 1 - L.S.W.R..
Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 2: L.B.S.C.R.
Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 3 - S.E.C.R..
Victoria Station, London.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Southern Railway (Index)

As a child growing up in the Midlands in the early days of the post-war Nationalised railway, I became familiar with both the former L.M.S. and G.W.R. lines but the former Southern Railway was very much a 'foreign railway' to me. Once I travelled on it, I was fascinated by the complexity of the network, the frequency of trains and the electric services - the 'juicers' - unknown at that time in my part of the country.

The Southern Railway had been created in 1923 by the government-directed grouping of railways into the 'Big Four' (L.M.S., G.W.R., L.N.E.R. and S.R.). The Southern Railway brought together the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, the South Eastern and Chatham Railway and the London and South Western Railway.

Upon Nationalisation in 1948, the Southern Region of British Railways absorbed the assets of the Southern Railway.

There are now a number of articles in this blog on the Southern Railway, its predecessors and successors, which are listed below.

Where a topic is split into two or more parts, links are normally provided between these parts, but note that unconnected posts may deal with a similar theme. I'm sorry if it appears confusing, but the Search Box (with the magnifying glass symbol) in the header can always be used to find posts including any particular word or phrase. From time-to-time, other topics may appear.

My Articles

Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 1 - L.S.W.R. 17-Nov-2015
Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 2: L.B.S.C.R. 11-Oct-2016
Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 3 - S.E.C.R. 11-Oct-2016
Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 4 - Pre-Grouping Approaches to London

Waterloo Station, London 8-May-2013
Waterloo Station, London (Part 2) 17-Sep-2015
London Underground: The Waterloo & City Line 7-Oct-2015
Victoria Station, London 15-May-2013
Clapham Junction Station, London 20-May-2013
By Rail to Guildford 14-Aug-2015
Visiting former 'Southern' stations in London 26-Aug-2015
By Train to Surrey 31-Jan-2016


My Pictures

These are albums which include pictures taken in recent times showing former Southern Railway infrastructure:-

Clapham Junction.
London: former 'Southern' lines.
London's Railways.
Waterloo Station.
London: Victoria Station.
London Cannon Street Station.
London Charing Cross Station.
London Bridge Station.

[Amended 16-Oct-2016]

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 2: L.B.S.C.R.

The Southern Railway was created in 1923 by the government-directed grouping of railways into the 'Big Four' (L.M.S., G.W.R., L.N.E.R. and S.R.). The Southern Railway brought together the London and South Western Railway, the London Brighton and South Coast Railway and the South Eastern and Chatham Railway.

Upon Nationalisation in 1948, the Southern Region of British Railways absorbed the assets of the Southern Railway.

There's a brief history of the London and South Western Railway here.
There's a brief history of the South East and Chatham Railway here.

Brief early history of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway

The Royal Pavilion, also known as the 'Brighton Pavilion' was completed by the architect John Nash in 1822. The popularity of Brighton with Royalty made the town a fashionable location, attracting the attention of railway builders keen to improve communications with London.

Engineer John Rennie brought forward a series of plans for the London and Brighton Railway in the early 1830s. These plans were reviewed unfavourably by Robert Stephenson who had his own scheme for the line rejected by the Lords in 1836. In 1837, a revised scheme by Rennie passed in the Lords, subject to review by a Military Engineer, resulting in approval of the main line from Croydon to Brighton, with branches to Newhaven and Shoreham.

A proposal to construct a line from London to Dover by the South Eastern Railway had already obtained parliamentary approval in 1836.

Meanwhile, the first passenger railway to actually operate in London was the London and Greenwich Railway which opened in stages between 1836 and 1838. It was elevated on brick arches throughout its length with the London terminus in Tooley Street.

In 1839 the London and Croydon Railway opened, running from a terminus near the present West Croydon station to join the London and Greenwich railway at a point about halfway to Greenwich which became Corbett's Lane Junction. The London and Greenwich Railway levied a toll on the London and Croydon for use of the shared line. The London and Greenwich Railway land in Tooley Street was sufficient for a station which could be used by a number of companies. In 1844 the joint terminal opened, part paid for by the London and Croydon Railway and the station acquired the name 'London Bridge'.

The approvals for the South Eastern Railway line to Dover and London & Brighton Railway to Brighton required both railways to use the existing route of the London & Croydon Railway from Croydon and then the route of the London & Greenwich Railway for the last 1.75 miles to reach a joint terminus at London Bridge. The South Eastern Railway was to share the lines of the London & Brighton Railway as far as Purley. In addition, the London & Brighton Railway was then to build, at cost, the line on behalf of the South Eastern Railway from its junction with the London & Brighton Railway near Purley to Redhill. This line stayed quite close to the London and Brighton line and crossed under it to reach Redhill. Subsequently, the South Eastern Railway re-imbursed the London & Brighton Railway for the construction costs.


1905 Railway Clearing House Map showing the L.B.S.C.R. line (coloured green) and the S.E.R. line (coloured pink) south of Purley.
Click on the map for a larger view.


The first section of the London and Brighton line to open was the branch from Brighton to Shoreham in 1840. The scale of the engineering works on the main line, involving tunnels, cuttings and the Ouse Viaduct delayed the opening of the main line to London until 1841.

In 1846, in response to shareholder pressure following disappointing results, the London and Croydon Railway and the London and Brighton Railway amalgamated, together with the Brighton and Chichester Railway and the Brighton Lewes and Hastings Railway, to form the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. This amalgamation provided excellent connections to the south coast around Brighton and Eastbourne. The LBSCR was flanked to the east by the South Eastern Railway which later became the South Eastern and Chatham Railway(see article Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 3 - S.E.C.R.) who were not well-liked and constantly feuded with the LBSCR) and to the west by the London and South Western Railway (see article Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 1 - L.S.W.R.).


Click for larger image
1908 Railway Clearing House Map showing lines in the vicinity of London Bridge. London Bridge Station is top left.

In a joint venture with the Great Western Railway, the London & North Western Railway and the London Chatham and Dover Railway called the 'Victoria Station and Pimlico Railway' (VS&PR) the LBSCR provided significant backing for the construction of a new bridge over the Thames leading to a new terminus called Victoria, first opened in 1860 as a joint station. The station was very successful so, by 1862, the bridge over the Thames was extended to carry more tracks and a second, separate terminus had been built to the east, purely for the LCDR, after which the LBSCR solely used the western station. The two stations at Victoria were well-situated on the north bank of the Thames for West End passengers, although departing trains were immediately faced with a climb leading to Grosvenor Bridge over the River Thames.

Under an agreement between the London Chatham and Dover and the South Eastern Railway in 1899, the two railways traded together as the 'South Eastern and Chatham Railway' (SECR). The former South Eastern Railway was now 'next door' to the LBSCR at Victoria but this didn't reduce its agressive behaviour. When the two stations were rebuilt (the Chatham in 1906, the Brighton in 1908) it was in notably contrasting styles.

London Victoria: Approaching Victoria on the Up Brighton Fast. Today the 'Brighton' platforms (on the left) are buried and gloomy beneath a modern shopping centre, but the arched roof over the Chatham platforms (on the right) is still in place.

Click for larger image.
Details of the junctions between the L.B.S.C.R. (green) and other railways in the vicinity of Clapham Junction. Victoria Station is just off the map, top right. This map (and the two above) are from a series prepared by the Railway Clearing House in 1914 which appear in the reprint 'Pre-Grouping Railway Junction Diagrams 1914', published by Ian Allen (ISBN 0 7110 1256 3).

Book references

[1] 'The London Brighton and South Coast Railway' by C. Hamilton Ellis, 1971 edition by Ian Allen (SBN 7110 0269 X).
[2] 'The London to Brighton Line 1841 - 1977' by Adrian Gray, The Oakwood Press.
[3] 'Stroudley Locomotives' by Brian Haresnape, Ian Allen (0 7110 1391 8).
[4] 'History of the Southern Railway' by C. F. Dendy Marshall, revised by R. W. Kidner reprinted 1982 by Ian Allen (ISBN 0 7110 0059 X).
[5] 'Great Locomotives of the Southern Railway' by O. S. Nock, Guild Publishing, 1987 edition by Book Club Associates.
[6] 'Southern Steam' by O. S. Nock, published by David & Charles (ISBN 0 7153 5235 0).
[7] 'London's Termini' by Alan A. Jackson, published by David & Charles (0 330 02746 6).
[8] 'London Brighton & South Coast Railway: Signal Boxes in 1920-1922: Part 1 - London to Brighton', from the J. M. Wagstaff Collection, Signalling Record Society (1 873228 08 2).
[9] ‘A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: Volume 2 Southern England’ by H. P. White, 4th edition published by David & Charles (ISBN: 0-7153-8365-5).

Maps
Details of what remains of the L.B.S.C.R. today are shown in the 'Quail Track Diagrams':-
'Railway Track Diagrams Book 5: Southern and TfL' Third Edition, published by TRACKmaps (ISBN 978-0-9549866-4-3).

Related articles on other web sites

London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (Wikipedia).

Related articles on this web site

Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 1 - L.S.W.R..
Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 3 - S.E.C.R..
Victoria Station, London.

My Pictures

There are sets which include pictures taken in recent times showing former L.B.S.C.R. infrastructure:-

Clapham Junction.
London: former 'Southern' lines.
London's Railways.
London: Victoria Station.

Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 3 - S.E.C.R.

The Southern Railway had been created in 1923 by the government-directed grouping of railways into the 'Big Four' (L.M.S., G.W.R., L.N.E.R. and S.R.). The Southern Railway brought together the London and South Western Railway (LSWR), the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) and the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR).

Upon Nationalisation in 1948, the Southern Region of British Railways absorbed the assets of the Southern Railway.

There's a brief history of the London and South Western Railway here.

Brief early history of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway

Originally called the South Eastern Railway, parliamentary approval for a line from London to Dover was obtained in 1836, based on sharing the lines of other companies near London. The London & Greenwich Railway opened throughout in 1838 with its London terminus at Tooley Street (now London Bridge). The following year, the London & Croydon Railway opened from West Croydon to a junction with the London & Greenwich Railway, sharing the Tooley Street terminus. In turn, the London & Brighton Railway opened throughout in 1841 from Brighton to a junction with the London and Croydon Railway, then sharing their lines to Tooley Street.

The South Eastern Railway was to share the lines of the London & Greenwich Railway, the London and Croydon Railway and the London & Brighton Railway as far as Purley. In addition, the London & Brighton Railway was then to build, at cost, the line on behalf of the South Eastern Railway from its junction with the London & Brighton Railway near Purley to Redhill. This line stayed quite close to the London and Brighton line and crossed under it to reach Redhill. Subsequently, the South Eastern Railway re-imbursed the London & Brighton Railway for the construction costs.

After this rather tedious route out of London, William Cubitt then provided the South Eastern Railway with an almost dead straight main line from Redhill to Folkestone and Dover, with major intermediate stations provided with through lines for fast trains and platform loops for stopping trains. Construction started in 1838 and the line to Dover was completed in 1844.


1905 Railway Clearing House Map showing S.E.C.R. line (coloured pink) in between Purley and Redhill.
Click on the map for a larger view.


The railway was not well-liked and constantly feuded with neighbouring railways. Dissatisfaction with the services provided by the South Eastern Railway in North Kent led to the bill for the East Kent Railway being introduced into parliament in 1853. This line would provide much shorter journeys to the coast and, for the first time, bring important towns like Chatham and Rochester onto the railway system. In 1859, the East Kent Railway was renamed the London Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR). Although funding was a perpetual problem, the railway managed to provide a service to Blackfriars and link up with the Metropolitan Railway (on the north bank of the Thames) before collapsing into bankruptcy. The LCDR somehow managed to carry on.

In a joint venture with the London Brighton & South Coast Railway, the Great Western Railway and London & North Western Railway called the 'Victoria Station and Pimlico Railway' (VS&PR) the London Chatham and Dover Railway participated in the construction of a new bridge over the Thames leading to a new terminus called Victoria, first opened in 1860 as a joint station. The station was very successful so, by 1862, the bridge over the Thames carried more tracks and a second, separate terminus had been built to the east, purely for the LCDR, after which the LBSCR solely used the western station. The two stations at Victoria were well-situated on the north bank of the Thames for West End passengers, although departing trains were immediately faced with a climb leading to Grosvenor Bridge over the River Thames.

The London Chatham and Dover continued to face financial difficulties and finally, in 1899, came to an agreement with its erstwhile enemy the South Eastern Railway. Under this agreement, the railways would operate jointly, trading as the 'South Eastern and Chatham Railway' (SECR). However, the two railways remained legally distinct (until 1923 when both, and the VS&PR, were absorbed into the Southern Railway by the Grouping).

The 1899 changes didn't stop the feuding between the former South Eastern Railway and the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, even after the railways occupied two termini side-by-side at Victoria. The eastern station now served the South Eastern and Chatham Railway and was called 'The Chatham' whilst the western station served the London Brighton and South Coast Railway and was thus called 'The Brighton'. Even when the both side-by-side stations were rebuilt (the Chatham in 1906, the Brighton in 1908) it was in notably contrasting styles.

The 'Chatham' platforms at Victoria remain light and airy, thanks to the simple, arched roof. Unfortunately, all the clutter at platform level largely destroys the sense of space.

Click for larger image.
Details of the junctions between the S.E.C.R. (coloured pink) and other railways in the vicinity of Clapham Junction. Victoria Station is just off the map, top right. This map (and the one above) are from a series prepared by the Railway Clearing House in 1914 which appear in the reprint 'Pre-Grouping Railway Junction Diagrams 1914', published by Ian Allen (ISBN 0 7110 1256 3).

Book References

[1] 'The South Eastern and Chatham Railway' by O. S. Nock, 1971 edition Ian Allen (SBN 7110 0268 1).
[2] 'The Locomotives of the South Eastern Railway' by D. L. Bradley, 1963 The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society.
[3] ‘A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: Volume 2 Southern England’ by H. P. White, 4th edition published by David & Charles (ISBN: 0-7153-8365-5).
[4] 'History of the Southern Railway' by C. F. Dendy Marshall, revised by R. W. Kidner reprinted 1982 by Ian Allen (ISBN 0 7110 0059 X).
[5] 'Great Locomotives of the Southern Railway' by O. S. Nock, Guild Publishing, 1987 edition by Book Club Associates.
[6] 'Southern Steam' by O. S. Nock, published by David & Charles (ISBN 0 7153 5235 0).
[7] 'London's Termini' by Alan A. Jackson, published by David & Charles (0 330 02746 6).

Maps

Details of what remains of the S.E.C.R. today are shown in the 'Quail Track Diagrams':-
'Railway Track Diagrams Book 5: Southern and TfL' Third Edition, published by TRACKmaps (ISBN 978-0-9549866-4-3).

Related articles on other web sites

South Eastern Railway (Wikipedia).
London, Chatham and Dover Railway (Wikipedia).
South Eastern and Chatham Railway (Wikipedia).

Related articles on this web site

Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 1 - L.S.W.R..
Origins of the Southern Railway: Part 2: L.B.S.C.R..
Victoria Station, London.

My Pictures

Various albums which include pictures taken in recent times showing former S.E.C.R. infrastructure:-

London: former 'Southern' lines.
London's Railways.
London: Victoria Station.