Any interesting rail facts for my area?

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Ladder23

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Hey all, I am from Bedfordshire,

I am curious to know of any interesting facts which would relate to this area, anything from disused stations, or lines.. To special events such as iconic trains passing through at all, anything at all. Maybe someone well known in the rail world was from the area maybe.

I'm hoping from this thread I can hear of some things you guys may be know, an be a interesting thread for you all also.

Thanks.
 
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FGW_DID

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I seem to recall reading somewhere that one of the sequences for "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines" was filmed at Old Warden tunnel on the old Hitchin - Bedford line.

How's that for an interesting fact? :D
 

Ladder23

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I seem to recall reading somewhere that one of the sequences for "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines" was filmed at Old Warden tunnel on the old Hitchin - Bedford line.

How's that for an interesting fact? :D

Haha great start :D
 

causton

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Spend a day walking from Sandy on the ECML to Bedford on the MML along the disused line - it's brilliant :D and if you want more, you can continue west along the Marston Vale line towards Bletchley!

There is a lot of history on that line...!
 

richieb1971

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In 1960 Bedford Midland was connected to Oxford, Cambridge, Northampton and Hitchin as well as all the routes currently active.

The next iconic train running through Bedford is the Flying Scotsman on June 25th. It will probably use the same timings as the previous run so should run at Bedford approximately 08:50am.

This is now South Wing hospital extended car park -



A train crash at Bedford station circa 1960's - Notice the class 45 peak on the up fast.



The engine that starred in "Those magnificent men in their flying machines" stationed at Bedford steam shed prior to shooting the movie -



If you want to know more just ask.
 
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DarloRich

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Nothing interesting happens in Dullfordshire. God it's awful. Not like vibrant Buckinghamshire. That's where it's at. ;)

It depends what you want to see really. There isn't much freight and the most interesting is the Colnbrooke oil train. There are lots of NR test trains coming down from Derby to various points south. The passenger trains are either HST ( yeah!) Merdians ( hmmm) and whatever Thameslink chucks out.
 
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Deepgreen

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Nothing interesting happens in Dullfordshire. God it's awful. Not like vibrant Buckinghamshire. That's where it's at. ;)

It depends what you want to see really. There isn't much freight and the most interesting is the Colnbrooke oil train. There are lots of NR test trains coming down from Derby to various points south. The passenger trains are either HST ( yeah!) Merdians ( hmmm) and whatever Thameslink chucks out.

Some may say that the visit of 'Flying Scotsman' to Bedford on 25 June on its way north will be interesting. Others might say, of course, who cares?
 

yorksrob

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I suppose that an interesting fact is that the original midland mainline from the North ran from Bedford to Hitchin where it joined the ECML to Kings Cross.

The line through St Albans to St Pancreas is a bit of a Johnny come lately. Infact, until Bedford station was rebuilt in the 70's (?) the station used to point towards Hitchen, and there's still a bit of a kink in the slow lines south of the station where they turn towards St Pancreas quite severely.
 

richieb1971

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Lets not forget that Bedfordshire includes the ECML from Biggleswade to Sandy. And the WCML at Leighton Buzzard.

On that note, I believe Bedfordshire is the most northern county that accommodates all 3 lines.

Also Bedford has a tunnel on each side of it. Which most non rail enthusiasts don't know because the tunnel at Sharnbrook is only on the slow/freight line.

The steam shed still exists. It has 50 foot trees growing actually inside of it. I am not sure if Network rail are proud of that fact or not.
 

backontrack

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The Varsity Line from Oxford to Cambridge ran through Sandy. This line is steadily being reopened - watch this space!
 

backontrack

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Closed stations in Bedfordshire include Tempsford, Three Counties, Dunstable Church Street, Luton Bute Street, Luton Hoo, Stanbridgeford, Dunstable North, Chaul End, Chiltern Green, Blunham, Willington, Girtford Halt, Potton, Kempston and Elstow Halt, Wootton Broadmead Halt, Husborne Crawley, Cardington, Cardington Workmen's Platform, Southill, Shefford, and Henlow Camp.
 
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richieb1971

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The loco manufacturer has a 100 centenary coming up. There is a big bill board on the roundabout near the old St Johns station.

I believe they were small electric locos for industrial purposes.

One place that used them I believe is near Kempston Hardwick where the car auction place is now. There used to be an industrial site next to the railway line up by the trees behind the pub.
 

CatfordCat

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The 'Varsity Line' has been mentioned - at the risk of stating the obvious, the Disused Stations website would be a good place to seek more info.

This is their page on Bedford St John's, complete with links to other stations along the line. Most have some info on how much is still visible.

Also, the National Library of Scotland have put a lot of historic OS mapping online (here - centred at Bedford on 1885 1 inch to the mile map, but you can move around, select other scale / age of map)
 
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The loco manufacturer has a 100 centenary coming up. There is a big bill board on the roundabout near the old St Johns station.

I believe they were small electric locos for industrial purposes.
Correct, although the locos were usually petrol or diesel rather than electric. The Motor Rail and Tramcar company had a factory on Elstow Road in Bedford. Their main claim to fame was that they built the armored locos for the trench railways in WW1. The company itself actually started off earlier than that building trams for a tramway in india, but the "Simplex" locomotive was their mainstay for most of their life.

Further to that, the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway recently did a cavalcade of 17 Simplex locomotives on a passenger train (I was one of the guards on this train). The Higgins Museum in Bedford also has an exhibit on at the moment about the trench railways (with some stock on loan from the LBNGR)
 
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