Trivia: Long sections of straight tracks

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Tomnick

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It`s considerably more than 10 miles. Probably over 15.
I make it about 14 miles, with the former alignment beyond Firsby South Jn towards Burgh-le-Marsh continuing along the same straight line for another couple of miles.
 

fkofilee

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The curve ends at 24m 15ch, but there is a very slight one marked at the north end of Three Bridges, radius 5450m(?) at 29m 5ch to 29m 15ch according to the 5 miles.
Correct although it is so very slight on the entry to Three Bridges. It could be considered almost dead straight to some degree...
 

zwk500

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Correct although it is so very slight on the entry to Three Bridges. It could be considered almost dead straight to some degree...
I would contest that 'dead' straight means 0 curve, and that something is either dead straight or it is not. I agree it's almost straight, but by the best definition we have (the railway curvature records), it is curved.
 

Ken H

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One fly in the ointment is that both Google Maps and Ordnance Survey use Mercator Projection. That projection tends to make straight lines into curves. But the distances have to be great. One of the downsides of plotting the surface of a sphere onto a flat bit of paper.
 

snowball

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Interesting, thanks.

I'm guessing we're unlikely to find anything above the 20-odd miles of Selby to Brough?


Wouldn't it gain height towards the middle then lose the same amount to be back where it started (purely curvature of the earth related, not any other gradients)?
If it was perfectly and absolutely straight, including with respect to its vertical layout (which I suspect is not usually included in what people mean when talking about straight track), as measured by a light beam, then it would be lowest in the middle and highest at the ends, relative to the curved earth.

On the other hand if it was at a constant height above sea level or Ordnance datum throughout its length, so that a trolley on it had no tendency to roll either way, then it would not be a perfectly straight line as seen from the side.

Being Selby to Brough, its height above sea level is not very much (probably single digit metres throughout).
 

Old Yard Dog

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Hooton to Helsby is dead straight for nearly all of its 9 mile length before curving away just before its two ends. However there isn't a through line of sight as the line rises and falls between Stanlow & Thornton and Ince & Elton stations.
 

Shimbleshanks

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I vaguely remember that my Guinness Book of Rail Facts & Feats in the 1970s gave Redhill-Tonbridge an honourable mention as it was almost dead straight between the two junctions at either end with only minor deviations - and it passed through five stations en route.
 

David Dunning

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Always the racecourse between york and darlington
The line actually has a few sweeping curves between York and Darlington. I think the longest straight bit is roughly from the northern by pass bridge at York to Raskelf. I used to live in the middle by the 7mile (from York) post. I think the distance is 12-13 miles. Could be the longest 4 track straight?
 

ge-gn

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Dead straight section on the GEML between Haughley and Diss just shy of 10 miles. Around 84 milepost to 93 1/2 milepost
 

steamybrian

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I vaguely remember that my Guinness Book of Rail Facts & Feats in the 1970s gave Redhill-Tonbridge an honourable mention as it was almost dead straight between the two junctions at either end with only minor deviations - and it passed through five stations en route.
There are long straight sections with a few small curves on that section and am aware of one through Penshurst Tunnel.
 

Mag_seven

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Regarding stations that are on long straight stretches Bishopton and Cheddington spring to mind.
 

vic-rijrode

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I was going to suggest the Channel Tunnel but looking at Bing maps, there is a kink in the middle.
 

swt_passenger

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The line actually has a few sweeping curves between York and Darlington. I think the longest straight bit is roughly from the northern by pass bridge at York to Raskelf. I used to live in the middle by the 7mile (from York) post. I think the distance is 12-13 miles. Could be the longest 4 track straight?
But the line between Tollerton and Raskelf fails the Google maps straight line test. Bypass to Tollerton is just over 7 miles.
 

RichJF

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I vaguely remember that my Guinness Book of Rail Facts & Feats in the 1970s gave Redhill-Tonbridge an honourable mention as it was almost dead straight between the two junctions at either end with only minor deviations - and it passed through five stations en route.
On Google Maps it's two sections of...
Near 6 miles between Hartspiece Rd bridge exiting Redhill & Dwelly Lane (where the line curves slightly)
Near 9.5 miles from Grants Lane to the line passing under the A21.
 

vic-rijrode

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I note that there is no mention of any candidates from the Midland Railway - perhaps an affirmation that the LNWR was built by engineers and the Midland by mountaineers.
 

Revaulx

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The former Selby to Market Weighton line looks impressively straight. Not as long as Selby to Brough, admittedly.
 

WesternBiker

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One would also expect long straight stretches on the similarly flat and relatively undeveloped topography of the Fens and Somerset Levels - but lines in both areas seem to have small curves between modest straight stretches. The one I know best from childhood - south from the old Bleadon & Uphill station - has a distinct curve at Highbridge before another straight stretch to Dunball.
 

swt_passenger

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On Google Maps it's two sections of...
Near 6 miles between Hartspiece Rd bridge exiting Redhill & Dwelly Lane (where the line curves slightly)
Near 9.5 miles from Grants Lane to the line passing under the A21.
I’d say that between Godstone and Dwelly Lane there is an obvious curve on satellite view even before you apply a straight edge. But Streetview also shows the curvature quite well looking east from Gibbs Brook Lane Bridge (near Crowhurst).

But even then, the other 9.5 mile section is just not really that straight. There are still slight curves - and if you draw a shorter straight line on a map just between Edenbridge and the A21, it’s offset about 60m north of the tracks at Penshurst station.

I’m beginning to think straight line perception from a train isn’t much use in this matter…
 
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Peter0124

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To quote myself (as the OP) - Heres a photo of a 390 rounding the curve between Law Junction and Shieldmuir (About 2.3 miles from where this photo was taken - Shieldmuir station overbridge).
 

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CEN60

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Hi, I am wanting to know any sections on the UK rail network that are purely straight (almost perfectly?), anything longer than a mile would do, though what is the longest? I can think of an example being just west of Law Junction to just west of Shieldmuir which is about 2.7 miles of straight track. Are there any other sections on UK network with really long straight sections of track? Especially ones where there is a spotting location you can zoom with a good camera miles away and see the train coming on a clear day
Being pedantic - a very wise old Pway engineer once said to me "There's no such thing as a straight, its just a curve of infinitely flat radius" - however the straight north of Carlisle at Kingmoor is pretty long, as you look north you can see a train way in the distance and it disappears into a dip and then reappears! (my guess would be around 5km - but I don't have access to the NR 5mile diagrams)

Also - railway "straights" sometimes have subtle "changes of direction" which in modern alignments are generated by short very flat radii (for example 50,000m maybe 30m or so in length), or back in B&W days "straight" alignments just had kinks in them.
 
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Clansman

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Closer to home for the OP, Glencarse to Longforgan (between Perth and Dundee) at around 8 miles.
 

D6130

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Closer to home for the OP, Glencarse to Longforgan (between Perth and Dundee) at around 8 miles.
In the same general area, ISTR that the old Caledonian main line between Perth and Forfar had some fairly long straight stretches....or so it seemed when I covered it in the front of a DMU on a railtour in 1982.
 

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