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Old 10th November 2016, 18:49   #16
yorksrob
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Welcome Jimbob Notts.

Hopefully, should HS2 falter, the GC could be rebuilt as another line to the Midlands and North of England.

London to Aylesbury is in tact, just need to extend to Brackley, Woodford, Daventry, Rugby and then Leicester.
The GC is probably a step too far, however, with some strategic reinstatements, I believe you could improve capacity through the Midlands. I would reinstate quadruple track from Bedford to Kettering, reopen the Old Dalby test track through to Nottingham, then reopen Matlock to Chinley. You get a massively re-vamped MML and additional route between the East Midlands and Manchester.
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Old 10th November 2016, 18:54   #17
Jimbob_Notts
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Nice to hear from you, Jimbob Notts. I've spent little "real time" in the Nottingham area; but have pored over railway maps of it, with interest. As with yourself, the area's former GNR network particularly intrigues me -- with, as you cite, the Nottingham Suburban Railway as was -- lost its passenger service as long ago as 1931 (did it carry on longer for freight?); and the east Nottingham loop.

A digression re the latter: I recall coming on a (not railway-focused as such) article , concerning J.R.R. Tolkien, who in his youth at times paid visits, which he enjoyed, to relatives at Gedling -- including a photograph of Gedling & Carlton station at that time, a little over 100 years ago -- in those days, in the midst of open countryside. (The article was titled Tolkien's Gedling; which inspired the irresistible facetious response, "oh, is he really?")
Funny you should mention that!
I went to school near to Wood Lane in Gedling, over which the old GNR runs, and close the site of the old Gedling station.

For years I've just thought that this was solely the mineral railway which it became, without realising that it was actually the GNR route proper! which came up from the huge Colwick yard, where Victoria retail park now stands!

These old lines did indeed continue to carry freight - the purpose for which it is widely believed the GCR should have been retained.
The images of the old lines are incredible.
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Old 10th November 2016, 18:55   #18
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This website has some good background to the era:

http://www.forgottenrelics.co.uk/beeching/index.html
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Old 10th November 2016, 22:12   #19
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Hi Jimbob. I've enjoyed reading this (welcome by the way ), I wanted to comment earlier but have been ridiculously busy with work today (no such thing as a free day off Ash Bridge).
My mums side of the family are from Nottingham and although I grew up in Devon I've spent a lot of time in Nottingham, I'm I think ten years older than you and obviously missed seeing the area in its railway heyday, but a lot of the infrastructure was still in place when I was a kid.
One of my uncles was actually a fireman at Colwick shed when he was a young man, when steam ended he left the railways for a different career path although he had plenty of stories and info on what it used to be like. My uncle and aunts house actually backed onto the Gedling branch in Netherfield.

I love old maps and I've got a few of Nottingham, my favourite one shows the Southern part of the GCR still open and all the colliery lines in the area open. If you put it next to a present day one the changes that have occurred in my lifetime are pretty incredible.
On the plus side, I suppose the area has benefited from the reopening of the Robin Hood line, the new tram system, the continued use and important role of Toton, the future link up of the two parts of the preserved GCR and the future possible HS2 role which is a lot more than many cities have had.
In this sense Nottingham is still very much a railway city.

Some of the previous posts on this thread have made great reading.
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Old 10th November 2016, 22:22   #20
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The RCTS published a series of illustrated paperbacks about the ex-GNR lines in the Nottingham area. I think they are now out of print, but libraries in that area probably have copies you can view or borrow.
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Old 10th November 2016, 23:33   #21
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Hi Jimbob. I've enjoyed reading this (welcome by the way ), I wanted to comment earlier but have been ridiculously busy with work today (no such thing as a free day off Ash Bridge).
My mums side of the family are from Nottingham and although I grew up in Devon I've spent a lot of time in Nottingham, I'm I think ten years older than you and obviously missed seeing the area in its railway heyday, but a lot of the infrastructure was still in place when I was a kid.
One of my uncles was actually a fireman at Colwick shed when he was a young man, when steam ended he left the railways for a different career path although he had plenty of stories and info on what it used to be like. My uncle and aunts house actually backed onto the Gedling branch in Netherfield.

I love old maps and I've got a few of Nottingham, my favourite one shows the Southern part of the GCR still open and all the colliery lines in the area open. If you put it next to a present day one the changes that have occurred in my lifetime are pretty incredible.
On the plus side, I suppose the area has benefited from the reopening of the Robin Hood line, the new tram system, the continued use and important role of Toton, the future link up of the two parts of the preserved GCR and the future possible HS2 role which is a lot more than many cities have had.
In this sense Nottingham is still very much a railway city.

Some of the previous posts on this thread have made great reading.
Hi Cowley, yes I agree.. I've seen a few of the old maps and you're right, the change is stark to say the least! Especially along what is now the ring road / Vernon Road area.

You're right in inferring that Nottingham is not alone in losing a massive amount of it's railway infrastructure, for better or worse, as has been discussed already here.. But the nostalgia and allure of what was once there is fascinating

Do any of your uncles stories stick out in your memory? care to share??
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Old 11th November 2016, 00:25   #22
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Is there any other country that has put so many resources into creating whole transport networks, only to absolutely obliterate them just decades later?? I can only imagine what those who were lucky enough to see and remember the old lines (nationwide) must feel. Must have felt like their guts had been ripped out.
Of course before the rail network was the canal network, and it was the railways that did for them. It is interesting how many railway lines were built to closely follow the canals, where the obvious aim was to take the freight traffic. For various reasons a not insignificant number of canals remain although many were equally lost.

Playing Devil's advocate there are many routes now closed that in 2016 have us scratching our head thinking why? But go back to the 1980s and things looked very different. Sprinterisation opened up opportunities on many regional routes, where shorter trains were offset by more frequency. Many of us now know how that one played out, and has happened again in the 1990s and 2000s - more, shorter trains that create growth higher than expected leading to overcrowding and railways running at capacity in many areas.

And then through into mix the disaster that has been road planning over the last 50 years. In the 1950s and early 1960s the motorway network was to have been huge, and pretty much more joined up than today. The mess that is the M25 between the M3-M4-M40 around Heathrow should not have existed. There should have been the M31 linking the M4-M3 (and on to the M25) whilst the M25 in the West would have been Ringway 4, with Ringway 3 east of Heathrow. I'm not suggesting to resurrect those schemes now, but if they had been built in the 1960s/1970s it would be interesting to see how things looked around Berkshire/Surrey today!
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Old 11th November 2016, 17:46   #23
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Welcome to the forum Jimbob Notts.

I'm no great fan of Beeching, but I think you're blaming the wrong person. The government of the day appointed him to do a job. Which he did. Part of the job was making recommendations to the Transport Minister on which lines should close. Note the word "recommendations", for that is all they were; it was the Transport Minister who made the decision, the Transport Minister who closed the lines (not Beeching).

That minister was Ernest Marples, he is the real villain of the piece. He had shares in a company called Marples Ridgeway. Marples Ridgeway was a road construction firm. To get around the conflict of interest, he transferred these shares to his wife, but with the proviso that she had to later transfer them back to him. By closing down a large part of our railway network, there was a massive transfer of traffic to the road system, leading of course to the massive road construction and widening programme that still continues today.

In short, many people claim that Marples was in fact a crook, who lined his own pockets at the Railways', and the country's expense. In fact he later fled to France to avoid the Taxman. Today, he probably would have ended up in gaol......
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Old 11th November 2016, 18:30   #24
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Of course before the rail network was the canal network, and it was the railways that did for them. It is interesting how many railway lines were built to closely follow the canals, where the obvious aim was to take the freight traffic. For various reasons a not insignificant number of canals remain although many were equally lost.

<Big SNIP, 'cos I only wanted to respond to the canal bit...
The history of the canals and early railways is quite intertwined, there were some canal companies that turned themselves into railways for example.

But the main reason that many early railways followed canal routes was that the canals chose the route between any two places to have the smallest height difference possible. Locks were expensive and water supplies to the top pound could be difficult, especially in summer. To avoid the cost of locks many were built as contour canals, for example the Oxford Canal.

The hill-climbing ability of early steam locomotives was very limited, so the railway builders also followed the path of least resistance and built along river valleys, in many cases tunnelling through the watersheds between river basins. Of course much early industry was also situated on or near rivers, both for transport and for power reasons (waterwheels and such) and in these cases the railway could of course offer a faster service.
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Old 12th November 2016, 00:42   #25
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The GC is probably a step too far, however, with some strategic reinstatements, I believe you could improve capacity through the Midlands. I would reinstate quadruple track from Bedford to Kettering, reopen the Old Dalby test track through to Nottingham, then reopen Matlock to Chinley. You get a massively re-vamped MML and additional route between the East Midlands and Manchester.
In all fairness Network Rail are doing a lot of work to improve capacity between Bedford and Kettering.
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Old 12th November 2016, 18:11   #26
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In all fairness Network Rail are doing a lot of work to improve capacity between Bedford and Kettering.
I believe the plan is to reinstate quadruple track over this whole section, though the project seems to be in a state of flux so some may yet be "deferred".

Extension of the Old Dalby test track back into Nottingham is nearly as much of a non-starter as restoring the Great Central in this area. Edwalton station is now a row of very expensive houses, then at Ludlow Hill Road it is built over with flats leaving only a narrow path. From Melton Road to Bridgford Road it is obliterated, then its crossing of the Trent is now a road bridge which would have to be replaced.

There was talk a few years ago of a new link leaving either the GC or the Melton lines or both somewhere south of the built-up area then linking to the Grantham line possibly using part of the Cotgrave branch. However to be honest I think it's a solution in need of a problem.
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Old 12th November 2016, 18:28   #27
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In all fairness Network Rail are doing a lot of work to improve capacity between Bedford and Kettering.
Indeed, and if thy follow the rest of my plan, we will have a supurb, robust railway with multiple tracks all the way to Clay Cross.
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Old 14th November 2016, 20:15   #28
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Just for reference... I'm aware that Beeching was just symptomatic of Marples and the gov't at the time, but when I created my profile here, Beeching was the only name I could think of! I hate them all
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Old 15th November 2016, 11:52   #29
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In all fairness Network Rail are doing a lot of work to improve capacity between Bedford and Kettering.
I have been involved in the work in that area and 4 track quadrupling won't happen for many years.
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Old 15th November 2016, 15:16   #30
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I have been involved in the work in that area and 4 track quadrupling won't happen for many years.
Perhaps you could tell us all what work you have been involved in?
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