The book I read to research this post was Rail Centres: Manchester by Stanley Hall which is an excellent book which I bought from Amazon. This book is a little bit more expensive and a longer book than the rest of the series. Manchester was at the heart of the Rail Revolution & Stanley does say he could easily have written several volumes on the subject. He has concentrated on the rail network within 5 miles of Manchester. One of the earliest railways was the Manchester to Liverpool railway. Obviously Liverpool was a major port and Manchester was a major industrial centre so the potential was obvious. In the old days Victoria was the main station & Manchester Piccadilly was built later on. In 1948 a Labour Government nationalized the railways but considered the many loss making routes a mill stone around their neck and closed many of them. There has been talk of a channel express to Manchester which will take people to Brussels, Amsterdam or Paris. Also recently they built a metrolink which is a 2 car tram that seats 96 passengers and has standing room also. Manchester is at the forefront of transport networks even nowadays. It also has one of the most important airports in the country which is well served by trains. There was a bit of a hiccup with an earlier metro network where they used class 141 trams where as 210′s which would have cost around the same amount would have been a better choice. The 210′s were more reliable, had a longer working life & seated more passengers with plenty of room for standing passengers. The 141 by contrast had very little room for standing passengers and they had to install extra seats to cope with demand at extra cost.
Posted in british history, british rail, history, liverpool, manchester, metrolink, railways, steam engines, trains, trams, transport
Tagged british history, british rail, history, liverpool, manchester, metrolink, railways, steam engines, trains, trams, transport
The book I read to research this post was Rail Centres: Edinburgh by A J Mullay which is a very good book which I bought from Amazon. Edinburgh which has Britain’s most famous castle which is built on an extinct volcano and is Scotland’s Capital City can’t compete with Glasgow & the West Coast in terms of industry but is a great tourist centre. Most people are employed in service industries although there were nearby coal mines & iron ore deposits. Especially since Scotland became self governing, Edinburgh has become a great administrative centre. In 1888 there was a race from the North West Line & North East Line to reach Edinburgh first. The same thing happened with Aberdeen in 1895. After that they progressively tried to shorten the travel time. The North West Line had the edge because it was a slightly shorter route. At one time there was always a stop for passengers for get refreshments and for the engine to take on water. These stops were gradually done away with. There was a factory that built steam trains in Edinburgh and prior to the Forth Bridge being built these were often sent by sea to places like Aberdeen. There was also a shed for servicing the trains and the one in Edinburgh was reputed to be the best in Britain. Waverley station in Edinburgh was the biggest railway station in Britain at one time. The trains to Edinburgh have always mostly transported passengers.
Posted in aberdeen, books, british history, british rail, edinburgh, history, king's cross, london, railways, scotland, steam engines, steam locomotives, the industrial revolution, trains
Tagged aberdeen, british rail, edinburgh, history, king's cross, london, railways, scotland, steam engines, trains
The book I read to research this post was Rail Centres: York by Ken Hoole which is an excellent book which I bought from Amazon. This is a fascinating book about a railway super centre York. It’s often called the capital of Northern England & for many years was the regional headquarters of first the North Eastern Railways & then the Eastern Railways. In the very early days of railways there was a line from Leeds to Selby & York was linked to this railway at Mitford. George Hudson was the big railway boss in this area for many years & didn’t do anything by half measures. He built the glorious station here. Everyone saw the potential of linking Edinburgh to London via York. Initially they had to settle for a Gateshead to Darlington then York line. York had a huge railway works and was the best place in the country for train spotters. Scarborough which isn’t too far away became one of the first seaside towns. Prior to the railway it was very difficult to get there and you had to be very rich. In the summer there were trains from far away to that destination. In winter there was just trains from Leeds via York. York houses the National Railway Museum which I was told among its highlights has a carriage from the Japanese Shinkansen or Bullet Train.
Posted in books, british history, british rail, edinburgh, history, industrial revolution, leeds, london, railways, scarborough, scotland, steam engines, york, yorkshire
Tagged edinburgh, leeds, london, railways, scarborough, steam engines, trains, transport, york, yorkshire
The book I read to research this post was Rail Centres: Crewe by Rex Christiansen which is an excellent book which I bought from Amazon. Crewe is the equivalent of a victorian new town & was just greenbelt land prior to that. In 1974 it merged with nearby Nantwich to form a bigger. It would have probably not existed had it not been an important junction between Holyhead, Liverpool, the Midlands, London & the North West. The route to Holyhead was delayed for 6 years mostly due to problems building the Menai Straits Tubular Bridge. Trains tend to stop at Crewe & passengers change trains but rarely go into the town. The night train to Holyhead The Irish Mail is the oldest named train in the world & has always stopped at Crewe. There is a non stop train to Swansea which is the longest non stop train from Crewe & is only 2 miles nearer than London Euston. Crewe is named after a nearby stately home called Crewe Hall. Trains were manufactured here and the railway company provided decent accommodation for their workers. More recently it has become a major freight centre. The railway station was also rebuilt in the 1980′s.
Posted in birmingham, books, british history, british rail, crewe, dublin, freight, history, holyhead, ireland, liverpool, london, mail, manchester, railways, staffordshire, steam engines, trains, transport, wales
Tagged birmingham, british history, british rail, crewe, freight, history, railways, staffordshire, trains, transport, wales
The book I read to research this post was Rail Centres: Clapham Junction by J N Faulkner which is a very good book which I bought from Amazon. In terms of the number of trains going through Clapham Junction it’s the busiest railway station in Britain. A lot that go through don’t stop though. It is in effect 3 or 4 stations linked by subway and only 1 of these is British Rail, the others are Underground Railway. Most trains going into the centre of London pass through this station. The first railway to go through this station was built in 1837. As you might expect with a very busy station there have been a few train crashes but the one in 1988 was very serious. That is often called the Ladbrooke Grove Disaster & 34 people died & it involved 3 trains. I have a friend who worked for over 30 years for British Rail testing signals & he was one of the people who investigated that crash. He told me he was walking around the area surveying it & he almost trod in someones brains. They do say that because of the huge amount of momentum involved due to the weight of a train that a train crash is even worse than a crash involving ships or aircraft.
Posted in books, british history, british rail, clapham junction, history, london, railways, steam engines, steam locomotives, trains
Tagged british history, british rail, clapham junction, history, locomotives, london, railways, steam engines, trains
The book I read to research this post was Rail Centres: Reading which is a very good book which I bought from Amazon. This book tells you all about the history of Reading as a destination on the British rail network. Reading is the county town of Berkshire and the biggest city in that county. The railway came to Reading quite early on in 1840 in fact. Gradually they wanted to get a link to London, Paddington. Before that there was a temporary station at Hungerford in 1847. Later on there was a train from Paddington that split up at Ascot with a certain portion of the train going to Reading & the rest going to Camberley & Aldershot. Eventually there would be a line linking Bristol to Paddington via Reading. There was also lines to Oxford & Guilford among other places. In 1938 diesel trains were introduced. Also when GWR owned the line it was broad gauge and this was changed to the standard gauge we have today. There was a gas works at Reading and later natural would be piped from Southampton.
Posted in berkshire, books, british history, british rail, history, industrial revolution, london, oxford, paddington, railways, reading, steam engines, steam locomotives, trains
Tagged berkshire, british history, british rail, history, london, reading, steam engines, steam trains, the industrial revolution, trains
The book I read to research this post was Welsh Coal Mines which is a very good book which I bought from a car boot sale. This book has lots of pictures of welsh coal mines but is rather short and hasn’t got a lot of information. There was a large coalfield in South Wales which was in most of Gwent & Glamorgan & extended under Swansea & Carmarthen Bays into Dyfed. A lot of this coal was near the surface. My dad who was an ex coal miner told me much of this coal was anthracite the highest grade of coal which burnt at a high temperature. Also a lot of these coal mines were open cast. Ponies were often used in the underground coal mines and probably were at there peak around 1914 although even in 1974 they numbered several hundred. There is also a coal field in North Wales which is smaller & that extended to near Chester & Oswestry in Britain. Almost all the mines in Britain have closed except for a few open cast mines. The price of coal went very low & although it recovered a little bit and it became feasible to open some of the pits in Kent there is nothing like the coal production of years ago.
Posted in british history, coal mining, history, industrial revolution, the industrial revolution, wales, welsh history
Tagged british history, coal mining, history, industrial revolution, the industrial revolution, wales, welsh history