Up and down lines

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by Conrod, 31 Aug 2015.

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  1. Conrod

    Conrod New Member

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    Hello all. This is my first post here although I have been watching the forums for quite a while.

    I understand the up and down lines terminology when related to lines travelling to and from London, but could someone please explain what is up and down on say the trans-pennine route, or branch lines with no direct London connection?

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. QueensCurve

    QueensCurve Established Member

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    I think the Up/Down nomenclature comes from the fact that a railway has a main terminus (usually in London) to which trains go "up".

    Sometimes the up/down designation is derived from the London-bound lines that the route is extended off so Up and Down Chat Moss lines can be defined by the connection to London-bound routes at Manchester and Edgehill.

    Sometimes though routes meet where the designation of up and down are opposite. Here there has to be a change of nomenclature.

    Does this help?
     
  4. broadgage

    broadgage Member

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    In some cases it is historical, for example the present up line DID once lead towards London, but the connection no longer exists, though by convention the line is still called up.

    IIRC there are a couple of cases where the UP line now leads AWAY from London, perhaps via a different route to that originally existing when the up line was towards London.


    In some places, the convention is that up is towards some large city other than London.
     
  5. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    traditionally, towards the headquarters of the company that built the line is "Up".

    But it's often rather arbitrary. There's no need for a hard and fast rule, as long as drivers, signallers etc are clear on what is "Up" and what is "Down" at any given location.
     
  6. Conrod

    Conrod New Member

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    Thanks to all who have responded. The explanations have confirmed to me that there is no set convention and they in turn have explained my own confusion.;)
     
  7. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    They are also not set in stone long term, changes to operational control might cause them to be swapped, IIRC this has occurred recently as part of the changes to the Oxford Bicester line.
     
  8. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    London is not always the centre of the universe.
    The Lancashire and Yorkshire was based in Manchester, and all its lines from there are "Down" (includes the Calder Valley and Huddersfield routes to Leeds).
    There are some places where there is a collision of lines of different companies, which can lead to some switching of designations.
    From Shrewsbury, for instance, all routes are "Down" except that to Wolverhampton.
    The Midland once had all its lines "Up" to Derby, but at some point the London line designation was reversed to become "Down" from St Pancras.
    It's still "Down" from Derby to Bristol, which clashes with the GWR designations in the Gloucester area.
    So trains to Paddington from there go "Down" to Standish Jn, and then "Up" to Swindon.
    From Exeter St Davids you go "Up" out of the station northwards towards Paddington, and also "Up" in a southerly direction towards Waterloo.
     
  9. Tio Terry

    Tio Terry Member

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    There are always some oddities but normally Up to London or the principle station on the route. But that can change, for example, it's Up to Norwich from Great Yarmouth but just under Thorpe Road bridge in Norwich the Up from Gt. Yarmouth joins the Down from London so the Up becomes the Down!
     
  10. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Isn't that because the L & Y can't run services to London, so they had to have a substitute 'Up' destination? :)
     
  11. Philip C

    Philip C Member

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    No, it is because the L&Y, which owned its own lines, had its HQ at Hunt's Bank in Manchester (adjacent to Victoria Station). Not being able to run trains to London was never seen as an infirmity.

    In the case of lines into Marylebone mileage is measured from Manchester (London Road) as the Great Central Line was built as the London Branch of the MS&L (another fine Northern Railway).
     
    Last edited: 31 Aug 2015
  12. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    Where's the 'like' button?

    :D
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    But there is a set convention! Up is towards the principal location.
     
  13. Railsigns

    Railsigns Established Member

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    Except when it isn't (Welsh Valley lines, for example).
     
  14. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    Indeed in the case of the Valley Lines there's a kind of logic: up=upstream/away from the sea!
     
  15. GRALISTAIR

    GRALISTAIR Established Member

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    Welcome to FT :D
     
  16. Conrod

    Conrod New Member

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    So that's all clear then!:lol:
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Thanks. I'm enjoying the reading.
     
  17. route:oxford

    route:oxford Established Member

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    The fun one is in central Scotland.

    At some point around Falkirk, the Up becomes the Down and vice versa.
     
  18. Pinza-C55

    Pinza-C55 Member

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    I visited the old Haltwhistle signalbox on the Newcastle & Carlisle line in 1990 and the block shelf had brass plates engraved "EAST LINE" and "WEST LINE".
     
  19. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Not exactly rare on the network generally, it has to happen at every triangular junction...
     
  20. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    The like button exists on Tapatalk at least and works. Whether it translates back to the main web forum I don't know.
     
  21. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    The concept of Up and Down being to and from London, or other principal point of the system, pre-dates the railway, as it was used, just as extensively, for stagecoaches on the roads. If you read the book "Tom Brown's Schooldays", written in the early 1800s before railways were developed, the description of the ride by coach from London to Rugby uses these expressions.
     
  22. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    How about not seeing a smiley?
     
  23. Joseph_Locke

    Joseph_Locke Established Member

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    Dore is a fine example. Up to Sheffield ...
     
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