Odd or appealing names of railway undertakings

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Calthrop

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Prompted by material in several recent RailUKForums threads: a thing which can contribute to the appeal of our hobby, is the sometimes delightfully bizarre railway-undertaking names – an element in what Bryan Morgan calls “the crazy poetry of it”. Names of railway “outfits” can sometimes be wonderfully weird and enticing (or sonorous / evocative) – mostly from the largely private-enterprise past, rather than bureaucratic / “Admass” modern times; though the present day can come up with the odd splendid one. Somewhat in the spirit of the ongoing “Most evocative station names” thread: a few favourite colourful railway names of mine from various parts of the broadly English-speaking world, set out below.

The one which first inspired this thread, is mentioned in the “End of steam” thread: the “originally preserved, turned serious” Crab Orchard & Egyptian Railway in Illinois, USA.

Another from the US: the attempted but ultimately abortive 3ft gauge preservation project on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, after the closure of most of the Oahu Railway of that gauge at the end of 1947 – a name which deserved better fortune than came its way: the Hibiscus & Heliconia Short Line Railroad.

In the British Isles: the Bideford, Westward Ho ! & Appledore Railway (per Morgan,“ surely the only railway ever to have an ! in its name”); the Cleobury Mortimer & Ditton Priors Light Railway; the Campbeltown & Machrihanish Light Railway; and the monorail Listowel & Ballybunnion (this last name sounding more comical in its English form, than per its Irish-language original, meaning “the town or place of the Bunnion family”). Also in Ireland, the Dundalk, Newry & Greenore – listing (like the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch) the names of the places served, in the wrong geographical order, presumably for the sake of sounding better.

In pre-independence India: the Madras & Southern Mahratta, and Oudh & Rohilkund, Railways.

And once more in the USA: the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes; Narragansett Pier; and Tonopah & Goldfield, Railroads.

Others’ favourites on this scene, are invited.
 
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pdeaves

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Probably not 'evocative' by anyone's measure, but I always liked the name 'Silverlink'. Why, you ask? Because it was one of only a few that has no hint of its geography in its name. The others that I know of (all UK; c2c, one, Virgin Trains) simply don't sound as interesting to me as Silverlink.

To each his own, of course!
 

ChiefPlanner

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Probably not 'evocative' by anyone's measure, but I always liked the name 'Silverlink'. Why, you ask? Because it was one of only a few that has no hint of its geography in its name. The others that I know of (all UK; c2c, one, Virgin Trains) simply don't sound as interesting to me as Silverlink.

To each his own, of course!

Personally (and I worked for them at a senior operating level - hated the name - as "North London Metro" and "North County" would have been better as a sub brand....

Other non geographic name was "Northern Spirit" surely....?
 

EM2

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I love some of the early Scottish ones:

Inverury and Old Meldrum Junction Railway
Lochearnhead St Fillans and Comrie Railway
Perth Almond Valley and Methven Railway
Aberlady Gullane and North Berwick Railway
Brechin and Edzell District Railway
Marquis of Lothian's Waggonway
Newtyle Eassie and Glamiss Railway
Dumfries Lochmaben and Lockerbie Railway
Leadburn Linton and Dolphinton Railway
Symington Biggar and Broughton Railway
 

krus_aragon

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I'm particularly fond of the Grand London and Dublin Approximation Railway, a product of the Railway Mania and competitor to the successful Chester and Holyhead Railway.
 

Calthrop

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The Cork ,Bandon and South Coast has a wonderful ring to it .....

I'm particularly fond of the Grand London and Dublin Approximation Railway, a product of the Railway Mania and competitor to the successful Chester and Holyhead Railway.

Ireland has been good for quaint and / or sonorous railway names -- tending to validate some (mostly affectionate) stereotypes of the Irish people. A name I've always relished, is the Cork & Macroom Direct Railway -- it didn't link those two places by a particularly direct route; and there was no other railway between them ! Presumably there was some historical reason for the word "Direct".
 

ChiefPlanner

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Ireland has been good for quaint and / or sonorous railway names -- tending to validate some (mostly affectionate) stereotypes of the Irish people. A name I've always relished, is the Cork & Macroom Direct Railway -- it didn't link those two places by a particularly direct route; and there was no other railway between them ! Presumably there was some historical reason for the word "Direct".

"Waterford , Limerick and Western" (superb)
 

oldman

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The Germans, contrary to stereotype, have gone for brevity with Bob and Alex.
 

Calthrop

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The Germans, contrary to stereotype, have gone for brevity with Bob and Alex.

It looks as though I'm completely ignorant re the above. Please, is there any chance of clarification?

The "Maumee & Western" a US shortline notorious for the extremely poor state of track:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYHUTbyPUS0

Now called "Napoleon, Defiance & Western"

Remarkable video ! An impressively long freight train to be travelling over such a rickety line: seemingly said line has remained -- despite everything -- definitely useful.
 

Harbornite

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It looks as though I'm completely ignorant re the above. Please, is there any chance of clarification?



Remarkable video ! An impressively long freight train to be travelling over such a rickety line: seemingly said line has remained -- despite everything -- definitely useful.

I was under the impression that the M&W was due to be "sorted out"> Either way, the trackwork is terrible in its current state!
 

Calthrop

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I think it's hard to beat the Timoleague & Cortmacsherry in Ireland !

I was on the verge of mentioning that one ! That south-west corner of the island does seem to have been particularly good for railway names -- what with the splendidly alliterative Schull & Skibbereen, as well.
 

oldman

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It looks as though I'm completely ignorant re the above. Please, is there any chance of clarification?

BOB and Alex operate services in Bavaria and to Prague. BOB is short for Bayerische Oberlandbahn (and is feminine - die BOB). Alex is masculine (der Alex) and started off as Allgäu-Express, then Arriva-Länderbahn-Express and has kept the name although now owned by a company called Netinera.
 

Calthrop

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BOB and Alex operate services in Bavaria and to Prague. BOB is short for Bayerische Oberlandbahn (and is feminine - die BOB). Alex is masculine (der Alex) and started off as Allgäu-Express, then Arriva-Länderbahn-Express and has kept the name although now owned by a company called Netinera.

Alles ist jetzt klar – dankeschön !
 

EbbwJunction1

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The Manchester and Milford Railway is my favourite.

It didn't start in Manchester, and didn't get to Milford Haven ... other than that, it was a complete success!
 

Calthrop

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I liked the Railway run by the London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company

Part of the fun here, is indeed the long and wordy titles, not all of title being specifically rail-related. On a non-macabre note: the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company, in the "wild west" of Tasmania -- 3ft 6in gauge, from the copper-mining centre Queenstown, via a rack section, to the coast at Strahan. Abandoned 1963, amazingly reinstated in preservation / tourist context half a lifetime later (still more amazingly, nearly all its steam locos were still in existence and usable). Per news a couple of years ago, this enterprise was in financial trouble and its future uncertain -- don't know what the situation is now.
 

ChiefPlanner

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Ireland surely is the winner - "Cork, Blackrock and Passage" , "Sligo , Leitrim and Northern Counties"

"Listowel and Ballybunion" ......
 

Taunton

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The Manchester and Milford Railway is my favourite.

It didn't start in Manchester, and didn't get to Milford Haven ... other than that, it was a complete success!
The USA had worse, the St Louis San Francisco Railroad, commonly known as the "Frisco", never got within 1,500 miles of San Francisco, and basically had a network around the central States and into Texas.

They in turn owned an even more over-the-top named railway called the Quanah Acme & Pacific, which was just a 100 mile short line in Texas, connecting the first two insignificant towns in its name but getting absolutely nowhere near the Pacific.

I liked the Railway run by the London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company
Their station in London was just outside Waterloo, on the south side, where the two stabling sidings now are. It was obliterated in WW2 by one of the largest single bombs to be dropped on London, apparently targeted on Parliament across the river. The LSWR/SR provided a locomotive when required, while the special rake of carriages was lost in the bombing raid.
 
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Romilly

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On a non-macabre note: the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company, in the "wild west" of Tasmania -- 3ft 6in gauge, from the copper-mining centre Queenstown, via a rack section, to the coast at Strahan. Abandoned 1963, amazingly reinstated in preservation / tourist context half a lifetime later (still more amazingly, nearly all its steam locos were still in existence and usable). Per news a couple of years ago, this enterprise was in financial trouble and its future uncertain -- don't know what the situation is now.

Still seems to be running, but as the West Coast Wilderness Railway.
 

Calthrop

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They in turn owned an even more over-the-top named railway called the Quanah Acme & Pacific, which was just a 100 mile short line in Texas, connecting the first two insignificant towns in its name but getting absolutely nowhere near the Pacific.

"North America and oceans" reminds me of another favourite of mine: the Dominion Atlantic Railway in Nova Scotia, Canada. If I have things rightly, most of that province was Canadian Pacific Railway territory: the DAR however, was a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railways -- a bit of a cheeky incursion (running IIRC, Halifax - Digby - Yarmouth) into the rival's realm. I find it both a fine-sounding title; and an agreeable "cog on" the name of the opposing outfit.


After Cleckheaton Central station was closed, was it not the case that the railway station was stolen?

One has to feel that there's a certain amount of style to the theft of an entire station...


Still seems to be running, but as the West Coast Wilderness Railway.

Per my understanding, final reopening throughout, under WCWR name, was in 2002 (involving relaying throughout of track -- lifted decades before, after the line's demise as a commercial operation). According to some sources, the WCWR -- hit by financial losses and declining number of passengers -- expected to have to cease operation from April 2013. I'd heard nothing since -- the above quote sounds encouraging.
 

Busaholic

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In the days of the Victorian Railway Mania, there were some long and convoluted railway company names. My favourite one being....

The Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Wakefield, Huddersfield and Goole Railway

That one hides absolutely nothing under the bushel;)
 
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