Manchester Victoria zero milepost

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Senex

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Does anyone know whether the L&Y's zero milepost at Victoria, now alas no longer to be seen, stood at the point where the lines of the two original companies (L&M and M&L) met each other opposite the mid-point of the original main station building or at the later point of junction where the L&Y's independent lines for Bolton diverged from the original through lines (presumaby the later Victoria West Jn), or were the two locations the same place? As with so many other locations, I regret not having paid greater attention while the oppostunity was still there ...
 
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edwin_m

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The Quail Map gives chainages for the east and west junctions which suggests it was somewhere in between. Unlike these junctions which extend over some distance, the buffer stop of the west turnback siding is more easily fixed and sits at 0 miles 28 chains, which is 563m +/-10m or so. That puts the zero somewhere around the buffer line of the east-facing bays, but unfortunately the Quail (in my edition anyway) doesn't give a chainage for the surviving ones, which may not be in the original place anyway.

The Sectional Appendix has an identifiable feature in the speed restriction change at 31 chains on the east side, which is at the end of a crossover visible on Google. This correlates back to approximately the same place. So if I had to take a guess I'd say the zero was in line with the buffer stops of the former east-facing bays.
 

Senex

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The Quail Map gives chainages for the east and west junctions which suggests it was somewhere in between. Unlike these junctions which extend over some distance, the buffer stop of the west turnback siding is more easily fixed and sits at 0 miles 28 chains, which is 563m +/-10m or so. That puts the zero somewhere around the buffer line of the east-facing bays, but unfortunately the Quail (in my edition anyway) doesn't give a chainage for the surviving ones, which may not be in the original place anyway.

The Sectional Appendix has an identifiable feature in the speed restriction change at 31 chains on the east side, which is at the end of a crossover visible on Google. This correlates back to approximately the same place. So if I had to take a guess I'd say the zero was in line with the buffer stops of the former east-facing bays.
Thanks indeed — something in line with the east-facing bays would make good sense, especially if the present platform 2 (?) is on the site of the original M&L arrival line, which does see quite possible. Unfortunately the 1840s 60-inch OS plan of Manchester, which shews the first layout, doesn't indicate any mileposts, and by the time other large-scale mapping is available the OS had apparently already given up on marking the ¼-mile posts. On the other hand the 60-inch plan does have an unlabelled simple thin black line at right-angles across the layout opposite the centre of the main building, which may well indicate the original boundary between the two companies exactly where one would expect — but of course not necessarily proving anything about the later mileposting. If only I'd taken some photographs on at least one of the many occasions when I had the opportunity ....
 

edwin_m

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Thanks indeed — something in line with the east-facing bays would make good sense, especially if the present platform 2 (?) is on the site of the original M&L arrival line, which does see quite possible. Unfortunately the 1840s 60-inch OS plan of Manchester, which shews the first layout, doesn't indicate any mileposts, and by the time other large-scale mapping is available the OS had apparently already given up on marking the ¼-mile posts. On the other hand the 60-inch plan does have an unlabelled simple thin black line at right-angles across the layout opposite the centre of the main building, which may well indicate the original boundary between the two companies exactly where one would expect — but of course not necessarily proving anything about the later mileposting. If only I'd taken some photographs on at least one of the many occasions when I had the opportunity ....
Is it possible to use this old map to identify the location of the original platform more precisely, by matching it to features that still exist? I couldn't find anything old enough on the side to side compare feature on NLS maps. You mention the mileposting was later - do you have information to confirm when they were added or if changed? I thought mileposts were erected when the line was first built, even for early ones, and rarely changed. In which case today's Calder Valley posts would most likely have started from the limit of M&L metals in Manchester.
 

Senex

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I normally reply on the NLS, but in this case it doesn't help. There's also the Old Ordnance Survey site, but unless you pay you can't enlarge beyond a certain limit on that one and it's not a very convenient site to use (in my opinion). The 60-inch OS plan dates from 1844-49 (one source) or 1843-50 (another). It can be found at
,
but it's not an especially good reproduction. I attach the Victoria extract from a clearer version — you can see bits of the labelling for the LNW on the one side and teh L&Y (which the M&L had become) on the other, and the black line at the middle of the station is clear.
Mileposting became compulsory under the 1845 Railway Clauses Act, which comes after both the original railways here had been opened. The M&L must have been measured originally from Oldham Road, so that must have changed at some stage after the move to Victoria. The L&M presumably changed its Liverpool zero after Lime Street was opened; it was measured in both directions according to the old OS maps. I don't know of any great re-measuring for the LNW such as the Midland or the North Eastern had, and I haven't heard of anything similar for the L&Y either (and interesting check would be to see if the L&Y sequence runs via Miles Platting or via Cheetham Hill, since the latter was regarded as the main line once it had been built).
I thought there might have been a little more evidence in the Bill for the 1861 Act that gave the L&Y their own metals into Victoria from the west, but the phrasing there was to allow them to join either their own line of the LNW in Victoria station!
Manchester 60-inch 1844-49.jpg
 

edwin_m

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Good point about Oldham Road. There's no evidence of a mileage change on the Calder Valley in the Miles Platting and Newton Heath area, so the current mileage may date from sometime between the replacement of Oldham Road by Victoria, and the opening of the Cheetham Hill line. However the latter would have been longer and they might have wished to run the miles by the shorter route even if less important, as the Midland did later.

Your map shows that the Victoria station building was originally symmetrical and the east wing must have been demolished before the current southern extension accommodating the bays was built. It also shows two bays to the east (the M&LR arrival platform you mentioned above?). Assuming all the west wing survives and the east wing was the same length, the current zero point must be very close to the stops for these bays, which in turn must be at or very near the stops for the extra bays added later. So I don't think anything here contradicts my theory that the zero was in line with the bay platform buffer stops.
 

Senex

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Two further bits of information, one of which looks as if it might not only confirm your theory but also reconcile it with zero being at the junction for the Bolton line. The first is from the Railway Performance Society, whose distance-chart for the Victoria-Rochdale line notes that the present zero marker is wrongly positioned to the west of the station footbridge and that in fact the present buffer tops of platforms 1 and 2 are at minus 0m01ch. The second is a screen-grab of a1:500 OS map of 1891 (taken from www.old-maps.co.uk, the condition of their free service being no commercial use—and the fee for their paid service allowing greater magnification a massive £9.99 a month—how lucky we all are to have the NLS make its collection available even in England!). This shews the station after the first major enlargements but before the last group of bays and the new buildings were provided, so shews very clearly the relationship of the first of the bays and the junction of the Bolton line to the old buildings. Unfortunately for this query, whilst all signalposts and lamp-posts are marked, mileposts are not marked! But if one looks at the Bolton-line junction, it is clearly to the east of the centre-line of the old building and so well and truly on L&Y territory. But also there is a very curious symbol just to the north of it, on or by a lamp-post, of a rectangle made up of two squares, a lower bacl one and an upper white one. I haven't come across one like this before. It's also very nearly in line with the endof platform 4, which looks as if it could be one of the original bays. Could this be the zero-point?
Victoria on 1 to 500 OS map of 1891 B.jpg
 

edwin_m

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Two further bits of information, one of which looks as if it might not only confirm your theory but also reconcile it with zero being at the junction for the Bolton line. The first is from the Railway Performance Society, whose distance-chart for the Victoria-Rochdale line notes that the present zero marker is wrongly positioned to the west of the station footbridge and that in fact the present buffer tops of platforms 1 and 2 are at minus 0m01ch. The second is a screen-grab of a1:500 OS map of 1891 (taken from www.old-maps.co.uk, the condition of their free service being no commercial use—and the fee for their paid service allowing greater magnification a massive £9.99 a month—how lucky we all are to have the NLS make its collection available even in England!). This shews the station after the first major enlargements but before the last group of bays and the new buildings were provided, so shews very clearly the relationship of the first of the bays and the junction of the Bolton line to the old buildings. Unfortunately for this query, whilst all signalposts and lamp-posts are marked, mileposts are not marked! But if one looks at the Bolton-line junction, it is clearly to the east of the centre-line of the old building and so well and truly on L&Y territory. But also there is a very curious symbol just to the north of it, on or by a lamp-post, of a rectangle made up of two squares, a lower bacl one and an upper white one. I haven't come across one like this before. It's also very nearly in line with the endof platform 4, which looks as if it could be one of the original bays. Could this be the zero-point?
That map shed some more light. Comparing the position of tracks relative to the original building, which seems to have lost some of both wings by this time, the older bay platform appears to have been somewhere in the middle of the later Platform 5 island and I think the platform 4 and platform 5 bays continue a bit further west than the original one.

I found a sketch of the 1903 re-building (Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in the Twentieth Century, Eric Mason) which shows no changes around the junction of the Bolton and Liverpool lines, and notes that the layout "remains virtually the same today", today being 1954. The adjacent box is captioned "West Junction", which I now realise is the one you mentioned in the OP - it confused me earlier as the current West Junction is the other side of the Irwell. There was very little change in the rest of the through platforms either, but the five non-parallel bays to the south are replaced by ten on a new alignment with their buffer stops to the east of the West Junction. Which suggests they aren't the zero milepost, as the mileposts would have been in place before those bays were created.

A recent Sectional Appendix also shows the bay platform buffer stops as being the wrong side of the zero milepost, although no chainage is given for them. But this would, I think, put the zero somewhere east of the former West Junction and would be consistent with my original suggested position, but again contradicts my theory about the zero being the end of the bays. Interestingly, Open Street Map shows some interior details, indicates my original position is west of the footbridge and (within the margin of error inherent in using whole chains for measurement) coincides with the little square marking Victoria. So that is possibly the position of today's milepost and consistent with those of today's chainages I have checked. But I don't think it coincides with the West Junction, though I can't find a map with this on as all the ones on NLS don't show detail under the roof. Perhaps the milepost was moved during the 1990s re-building?
 

Rail Ranger

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I remember seeing the zero milepost at Man Vic next to the Wallside siding where the bankers stood between duties. It was a BR LMR milepost. There must be loads of photos showing the milepost.
 

Efini92

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The zero milepost is now underneath the platform. You can see it from the opposite platform
 
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