Fast Services that Link Important Centres
THE “DEVONIAN”, a daily express operating between Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield, Derby, Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter, Torquay, Paignton, and Kingswear (Devon). The 206 miles between Leeds and Bristol are covered in four hours forty minutes. The above illustration shows the train near Breadsall (Derby), hauled by a four-
SO much is heard of the famous flyers which travel over the main lines to and from London that the important cross-
There are certain stretches of railway in Great Britain which form vital links in the development of cross-
This line, sixteen miles in length, was jointly constructed by the Midland, Great Central, and North Eastern Railways and, as will be seen later, is followed daily by trains giving through communication to and from all parts of England and Scotland.
Another important line runs from Woodford and Hinton, fourteen miles south of Rugby on the Great Central main line of the LNER, to Banbury, on the Great Western Railway main line from Paddington to Birmingham. When the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway -
The LMS main line from Derby to Birmingham, Cheltenham, Bath, and Bristol is another path frequented by cross-
Across the centre of England there are three busy main lines connecting Yorkshire with Lancashire. Two of them run from Leeds to Manchester and Liverpool, and the third joins Sheffield and Manchester. The first two were built originally by the London and North Western and Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways; both are now LMS property. The third was part of the former Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire main line. All three, with very heavy gradients and the help of some of the longest tunnels in England, have to penetrate the Pennines on their course.
The longest cross-
It is only in the summer that the full through working obtains; during the winter the through coach, alternately LNER and Great Western stock works between Edinburgh and Penzance only. It leaves Aberdeen at 10.20 am, travelling down through Montrose and Dundee with an East Coast luncheon car train to Edinburgh. Here it is attached to the rear of the 2.5 pm express to London, reaching York at 6.14 pm. To this point the coach has covered 335 miles.
At York, the through coach is detached and made up into a train with another through coach from Glasgow to Swindon, which has preceded it from Edinburgh, a buffet car, and additional coaches and parcels vans. The train leaves for Sheffield at 6.30 pm by way of Church Fenton and the Swinton and Knottingley Joint Line, already mentioned.
From Sheffield the Great Central main line is followed through Nottingham, Leicester, and Rugby to Woodford. Hence the train passes over the Woodford-
The next stage of the journey lies through Oxford, and round the west curve at Didcot, Swindon being reached at 11.32 pm. Here the Penzance coach parts company with the vehicles with which it has travelled from York. It is attached to the 9.50 pm from Paddington to Penzance, which follows it into Swindon at 11.48 pm. This train leaves at midnight for Bristol, Plymouth and Penzance. which is reached at 7.45 am, after a journey lasting 21 hours, 25 minutes, and covering 794 miles. In winter the Penzance arrival is 7.30 am.
A service of considerable importance which works over the same route between York and Banbury is that which was inaugurated in 1905 to connect Newcastle-
“Ports to Ports Express”
The “Ports to Ports Express” is an appropriate title sometimes used for this train. It links Newcastle and Hull by through coaches, and Sunderland. West Hartlepool, and Middlesbrough by connexions, with Newport, Cardiff, Barry, and Swansea. Intermediately the train serves Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Banbury, and Cheltenham. Between Newcastle and Swansea it is a complete restaurant car train, composed on alternate days of LNER and Great Western stock.
Leaving Newcastle at 9.30 am, the southbound express now suffers the indignity of being “looped” between Northallerton and Thirsk, to let the “Silver Jubilee” fly past. It reaches York at 11.27 am, and leaves again at 11.42 am. The fastest section of the journey is in the reverse direction over the 23.4 miles from Nottingham to Leicester, which are allowed only twenty-
From Cheltenham the route is straightforward through Gloucester to Newport and Cardiff, reached at 6.51 pm. Then comes a diversion round the coast southwards to touch Barry, where at one time the service came to an end. It now continues over the line of what was once the Barry Railway to Bridgend, where the Swansea main line is regained. Swansea is reached at 8.45 pm, after a journey of 397 miles, which has occupied eleven and a quarter hours.
MANY IMPORTANT THROUGH TRAINS between the north and south of England run via York, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Banbury, and Oxford. At Banbury the Great Western takes over the west-
At York the train waits for a through coach, which comes down much more quickly from Newcastle to York on the 8.15 am London express. The complete train leaves York at 10.10 am. As before, it travels through Sheffield (where a through coach from Bradford is attached), Nottingham, and Leicester to Banbury, reached at 2.17 pm. At Banbury it is handed over to the GWR. A Great Western locomotive then works the express through Oxford and Didcot nearly into Reading, but it avoids Reading main station by taking the west curve, and so makes its way down to Basingstoke. Here the Southern Railway takes over; in summer the whole train is worked through specially to Bournemouth, but in winter it waits from 4.6 pm until the arrival of the 3.30 pm express from Waterloo to Bournemouth, to which two or three through coaches are attached.
Newcastle to Bournemouth
Leaving at 4.32 pm, the combined train reaches Bournemouth West at 6.27 pm, the journey of 371 miles from Newcastle having occupied all but eleven hours. But the through coach on the 8.15 am from Newcastle reaches Bournemouth Central in exactly ten hours.
At Leicester it may collect a large number of loaded fish wagons which have just arrived from Grimsby, and its running after that is correspondingly slowed down. But from Oxford, where the restaurant car is detached, the travelling becomes slower still, and the through coaches do not finally arrive at Southampton till 10.44 pm, exactly ten hours after the Newcastle departure.
TEMPLE MEADS STATION at Bristol, an important junction on the Great Western Railway, 118¼ miles from Paddington, London, via Bath. It is also the terminus of the important cross-
But this is not so slow as the northbound journey, when the train leaves Southampton at the early hour of 7.33 am, meanders across the country from Winchester through Newbury to Didcot by the old Didcot, Newbury, and Southampton single line, calling at every station. It does not even become an express until it leaves Oxford, only sixty-
The through Glasgow coach then pursues its way to Scotland, finally reaching Glasgow, after a journey of 496 miles, at 9.49 pm, fourteen and a quarter hours after starting. Few, if any, through passengers make end-
As a result of the through engine working just mentioned, when the LNER locomotives are working through, the engines of all four great railways may be seen at Oxford, where the Great Western and LMS stations adjoin, for the Southern Railway sends its locomotives to Oxford daily throughout the year.
The train concerned is the through daily express between Bournemouth and Birkenhead. This leaves Bournemouth West at 9.30 am, and, after a number of stops, including one at Eastleigh to pick up a section from Portsmouth, passes on to the GWR at Basingstoke and travels via the Reading West curve.
The “Pines Express”
North of Oxford this train runs onwards through Leamington, Birmingham and Wellington (Salop), where it divides, the front portion going on to Shrewsbury, Chester, and Birkenhead (reached at 5.29 pm), and the rear portion to Manchester. This is another example of a little used branch line seeing one daily express, for the route of the Manchester section is over the by-
Here a Southern 2-
In this convenient way the north-
There are three independent routes operating between the north and Midlands and the south and west of England. Over them many important cross-
Leaving Liverpool (Lime Street) at 9.40 am, and Manchester (London Road) at 10 am, the two sections of the train are united at Crewe, and leave there for Birmingham at 10.45 am. On arrival at New Street Station (eighty-
At Cheltenham a through coach from Liverpool to Southampton is detached to work over the old Midland and South Western Junction Line through Swindon and Andover to the South Coast port. The M&SWJR became fused with the Great Western Railway in the grouping of 1923, and the Liverpool-
The “Pines Express” leaves Cheltenham at 1.14 pm, and, after calling at Gloucester, diverges from the Bristol main line at Mangotsfield to reach Bath, 182 miles from Liverpool, at 2.15. Reversal is necessary here in Queen Square Station, and there now lie ahead the formidable gradients of the Somerset and Dorset line, with long stretches at 1 in 50 through the Mendip Hills, the summit level being near Binegar, seventeen miles from Bath. Most of the sixty-
Bradford to Torquay
The northbound “Pines Express” is a little quicker from Bournemouth to Manchester, as it takes six hours twenty minutes in comparison with six hours thirty-
Between Leeds, Sheffield, Derby, Birmingham, and Bristol the “Devonian” is the fastest train of the day. It begins its journey in Forster Square Station at Bradford at 10.25, makes the short run into the Wellington Station at Leeds, and is there reversed. Notwithstanding some severe gradients, especially between Sheffield and Chesterfield, Birmingham and Bromsgrove, and Gloucester and Bristol, and stops at Sheffield, Derby, Birmingham, Cheltenham, and Gloucester, the “Devonian” covers the 206 miles from Leeds to Bristol in the excellent time of four hours forty minutes, arriving in Temple Meads Station at 3.32 pm. At Bristol the Great Western Railway takes charge, and some leisurely progress follows over the remainder of the course to Exeter, Torquay, Paignton, and Kingswear, which is reached at 7.19 pm. The entire journey of 330 miles from -
In the reverse direction the “Devonian” starts its daily journey at Paignton at 9.15 am, reaching Bristol, 104 miles away, at 12.11 pm. Again the running over the LMS line is, for a cross-
Leeds is reached at 5.24 pm, after a run of four hours forty-
Birmingham and Bristol are linked also by the competing services of the Great Western Railway. These use the main line that was opened as recently as 1910 from Tyseley, three miles south of Birmingham, through Stratford-
THE MIDLAND AND GREAT NORTHERN JOINT RAILWAY handles a large amount of cross-
The fastest service through Stratford-
But by far the most important services operating between Hereford and Pontypool Road are those using the historic North to West highway which comes down from Crewe to Hereford by way of Shrewsbury. Between Shrewsbury and Hereford this is a joint LMS and Great Western line, though the express trains are always worked by Great Western locomotives. Throughout this is a route of considerable scenic attraction, particularly at Church Stretton, where the summit-
At Abergavenny Junction the LMS line to Merthyr Tydfil diverges, attaining an altitude of over 1,000 ft above sea-
Along the Welsh Border
Various important trains work every day over the North to West line, carrying through coaches between Manchester and Liverpool, and Plymouth and Penzance. These trains pass through the outskirts of Newport and then reach Bristol by way of the Severn Tunnel. Through portions also run between Manchester and Cardiff, detached and attached at Pontypool Road, and, in certain instances, through coaches to and from Birkenhead, connecting at Shrewsbury. Two new business services in either direction daily were put into operation in the summer of 1935, running between Swansea and Manchester by this route, in faster times than ever previously attempted. Through coaches are also run between Penzance, Plymouth, and Glasgow by way of the Severn Tunnel and Crewe.
Across the centre of England the principal cross-
FISHWORKERS’ SPECIAL at Yarmouth Beach Station, Norfolk. The Midland and Great Northern Joint handles cross-
This historic bore, which consists of two parallel tunnels over three miles long, comes out on the west side at Woodhead, and then there is a long downhill run through Guide Bridge into Manchester, the remainder of the journey between Manchester and Liverpool being over the lines of the Cheshire Lines Committee. Certain Hull-
But the most used route is that which runs through Selby from Hull to Leeds and then follows the old London and North-
Notwithstanding these handicaps, the 4 pm express from Hull to Liverpool covers the 126 miles in three hours ten minutes -
This last is the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, opened in 1830; to-
Then there are the express services between Newcastle and Manchester and Liverpool, which follow a variety of routes. The 8.55 am from Newcastle comes straight down the LNER main line, flying over the forty-
The 10 am from Newcastle pursues a circuitous course round the coast, by way of Sunderland, West Hartlepool, and Stockton-
There are also two LMS trains, one starting from Newcastle at 4.17 pm and taking the coast route followed by the 10 am, the other leaving at 5 pm. The second train travels down to York, and then crosses to Normanton and Wakefield, after which the old Lancashire and Yorkshire main line is pursued to Liverpool (Exchange), making an overall journey of 192 miles. The most direct journey of all is made by the 5 pm dining car express from Liverpool (Lime Street), which, after leaving Leeds, runs up to Harrogate and is then switched on to the main line at Northallerton, thus reaching Newcastle, 168 miles from Liverpool, at 9.15 pm.
A SCOTTISH TRAIN. An Edinburgh-
One of the most interesting and old-
Since the grouping of the railways in 1923, however, the working has been altered. The main train with the restaurant cars now starts at Liverpool (Central) at 2.20 pm and runs over the Cheshire Lines Committee’s main line to Manchester (Central). Here reversal takes place, and to the other end of the train there is attached a three-
Here is waiting the portion which left York at 3.30 pm. This portion incorporates a through coach that left distant Glasgow at 8.40 in the morning, and has come down through Edinburgh and Newcastle, The daily journey of this vehicle is 471 miles and occupies twelve hours forty-
“Sunny South Express”
The remaining stage is through Ely and Bury St. Edmunds to Ipswich, and finally to Parkeston Quay, where the boat connexions are made. Parkeston Quay is reached at 9.16 pm, and Harwich at 9.29 pm. The entire journey of 268 miles from Liverpool has thus occupied just over seven hours.
The train itself, as finally made up from March onwards, is unique as incorporating in one formation through vehicles from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, and Birmingham -
Another important highway to the east coast, and to Cromer, Yarmouth, and Lowestoft in particular, is over the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, which is connected with the Midland Division of the LMS at Saxby, just south of Melton Mowbray. Trains from Birmingham, via Leicester, and from Liverpool and Manchester, via Crewe, Stoke-
Reference must also be made to one of the best-
On Saturdays in the summer many other special through cross-
CHESTER STATION, on the route of the “Irish Mail” from London to Holyhead, is served also by a cross-