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A junior boy’s memory. In the late 40s, one Saturday morning, this young lad and his brother would be squeezed into a taxi along with baby brother’s pram and all the luggage plus mam and dad and

A P.Bucket test? or a rail photo with a difference. It was so difficult to do I didn't have the heart to break it up so I framed it!

I'm risking a fearful ear-bashing in saying this, but I'm not convinced that the service on the GC route to and from London was ever all that brilliant. I may be missing something from the middle years, but from the timetables I have been able to source there were no trains that really set the world on fire. In 1902 there were 11 trains to London and 10 coming back. The fastest were the 16.09 from Nottingham Vic at 2 hours 33 minutes, and the 13.40 and 15.25 from Marylebone at 2 hours 31. The 15.25 was non-stop from Marylebone to Sheffield, Nottingham being served by a "slip coach" dropped from the back of the train on the approach to Leicester, and then worked forward to Nottingham and principal stations to Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

By 1947 (the railways still being fairly run-down after the war) there were only 7 trains to London (the first at 06.20 taking 4 and a half hours, and the 12.50 dragging it out to 5 and a half!) There were 6 trains northbound. The fastest were the Master Cutler in each direction - 8.38 from Nottingham Vic taking 2 hours 37 (this being the only timing under 3 hours), and the 18.15 from Marylebone taking 2 hours 45.

By 1956 there was one more service in each direction. (The miserable 06.20 survived and the wretched 12.50 had become 13.15 and mended its pace to "only" 5 hours 10 minutes!) The fastest trains were still the Master Cutler - southbound at 8.46 taking 2 hours 38, and northbound at 18.18 taking 2 hours 41.

It is only fair to say that the Midland route was no better, with 7 southbound and 6 northbound trains in 1947, with best timings of 2 hours 35 on the 13.25 from Nottingham Midland, and 2 hours 25 for the 08.55 from St Pancras. This had been much improved by 1962 (the Great Central certainly hadn't!) but even so, only 5 out of 14 southbound trains reached St Pancras in less than 2 hours 15 (including the little-used midday Midland Pullman trip).

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The good old standby 'Rail Centres: Nottingham' by Michael A. Vanns has some information about this.

My guess is the late 1930s would likely have seen the fastest Great Central Line services, as by the time things were getting back to normal after the war-time run-down of the railways the Great Central services themselves were being run down.

The above book lists some timings for both the Midland and GCR routes in 1939 before war broke out. Out of a total of 12 services (6 each way) the fastest times between Victoria and Marylebone were two services taking 2hr 16min, and one each at 2hr 17min and 2hr 19min.

The Midland route had a total of 21 services (10 southbound and 11 northbound), with 9 of these taking less than 2hr 15min. Four of these took just 2hr 3 min (via Melton and Corby), with two via Leicester at less than 2hr 10min.

The book also gives similar details for 1949, when the fastest timings were three trains at around 2hr 30min, all on the Midland route via Melton and Corby. Fastest on the GCR were the two named trains, The South Yorkshireman and The Master Cutler at 2hr 42min (fastest) and just over.

When I first began travelling to any extent by train to London in the early 1970s the fastest I can remember was 1hr 56min calling at Leicester only, but as a general rule you were thinking of two hours or just over as a typical timing. Then the HSTs came in, and I think around 1hr 40min became the norm, with 2hours for 'stopping' services.

Not sure what it is now, but I was amazed today to get from St Pancras to Leicester in just 1hr 2min. Although in making a comparison you could say trains from St Pancras nowadays have a head start on those in the old days, seeing as they now commence their run from a point a lot nearer to Nottingham than they used to!

#429 The book I mention does give a rather vague mention to what happened to the material excavated from the Victoria Station site. In connection with the bridging of the River Trent and the Midland station it says that by October 1895, 'foundations for these structures were well advanced. Unfortunately fabrication of the steelwork did not begin until March the following year and erection of the Midland bridge did not begin until September. The rest of the line south was almost ready by this time, and it had been intended to use the material excavated from the central station [i.e. Victoria] to make up the ground for the new goods yard near the Trent. As this was not possible, extra land at Ruddington had to be acquired from where the necessary material could be obtained. So that the excavations for Nottingham station would not be delayed either, it was decided to transport spoil northwards to be tipped at Bulwell.' But it doesn't say where!

'

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#430

I don't know where photo 21 was taken or when but it certainly ain't Victoria

Suggest Leicester Midland

Photo 23 was taken by the late Frank Stevenson ARPS and was taken just before Nationalisation

I have the same photo In a publication(Nottingham in Focus) featuring Frank's work published by The Evening Post in 1989

And I think photo 30 is also Nottingham Midland looking at the bridges in the top L/H corner.

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Pity it wasn't possible to ever see one of these at Victoria. When it came to steam locos, the Americans knew how to do it.

american%20train_zpssqui7c1r.jpg

Apparently the wheels were illuminated (the white parts) which must've looked amazing at night.

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Really appreciate the photos here. Especially of Bagthorpe Junction and environs as I grew up on Heatherley Drive.  

My mum said that her mother used to say troops going to war would be shouting and laughing out the train windows etc during WW2 going away but then all quiet and somber with just pale faces at the windows on the return journey. 

I wonder if this is correct and troops would have used this line or one of these family 'Chinese whispers' stories?

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Just now, Basford Lad said:

I wonder if this is correct and troops would have used this line or one of these family 'Chinese whispers' stories?

 

I should think it's quite possible, Basford Lad, this was a main line after all, and could very well have been a main route for troops to reach  the south coast.

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There was a piece on East Midlands News yesterday about a proposal to build a Railway Museum at Leicester North on the Great Central preserved line. It would fully explain the history of the GC. I hope it comes to fruition. 

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7 minutes ago, Merthyr Imp said:

 

I should think it's quite possible, Basford Lad, this was a main line after all, and could very well have been a main route for troops to reach  the south coast.

Thanks for the reply. Its a mental image that has always stuck with me so I'm glad it is likely accurate.

Looking over the forum about local railway lines it seems a great shame so many have gone. Especially now with our roads so crowded! 

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But for the legal hurdles, it might be a worthwhile challenge to use a drone to take a 'Then and now' photo or two from the original locations of Tom Boustead's historic photos at the likes of Bagthorpe Junction.

 

Given the legal hurdles, it might be easier to have the loan of a cherrypicker though - if one of those offered sufficient height that is.

 

Mark

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On the 18th January is the 40th anniversary of Australia's worst railway disaster when 83 people died and 210 were injured when a Sydney bound commuter train travelling on the up main line derailed and hit a bridge support at the Bold Street Bridge bringing the bridge down on the third and fourth carriages. It was one of the most significant events of this type of my early years in OZ

This has always puzzled me, how do you determine which is the up or down line? A google search was confusing and did not help.

 

I suppose that the concept of up or down varies on where you are at the time or where you are going to or from.

When going into Nottingham do you go down town or up to town?

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Generally speaking the up line is usually the one leading to the major destination at one end of the line, with down in the other direction.  This is always the case where the line carries trains heading to London.

 

For example, trains from Nottingham to London are up trains and in the other direction they are down trains.  Another example might be the line from Mansfield to Nottingham - trains heading for Nottingham would be up trains.

 

'Generally speaking' is the operative phrase though! Just to confuse the issue, here in South Wales, although Cardiff is the major destination, trains heading up the valleys away from Cardiff to places like Merthyr Tydfil or Caerphiily are classed as up trains because they are literally heading uphill. 

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