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I've been on a roll recently suggesting ideas for layouts, and I suppose I'll keep going until someone tells me to stop! 

 

I think there's definitely some layout potential for the LNWR's "Varsity Line" from Oxford to Cambridge. It cut across seven main lines over its length, which certainly provides a break from LNWR black! 

 

Does anyone know what traffic dominated on the Varsity Line?

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To paraphrase, every undergraduate leaving Cambridge for Oxford would increase the average IQ of both places!

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19 minutes ago, GWRSwindon said:

the LNWR's "Varsity Line"

 

Would that be the "Town drain"?

 

(Good old Spooner...)

 

 

Perhaps it could be run by LNWR Coal Tanks, hauling Hattons generic 6 wheelers in LNWR livery?  :jester:

 

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What time period are you looking at for traffic ? There were many goods that originated in East Anglia as well as on the OxCam that were destined for the Midlands markets.  Most Passenger journeys were between intermediate stations rather than full length.

 

If you look at my signature you'll note I'm modelling 'Sandy' in GN & LNWR.........:crazy_mini: 

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28 minutes ago, chris p bacon said:

What time period are you looking at for traffic ? There were many goods that originated in East Anglia as well as on the OxCam that were destined for the Midlands markets.  Most Passenger journeys were between intermediate stations rather than full length.

 

If you look at my signature you'll note I'm modelling 'Sandy' in GN & LNWR.........https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_crazy_mini.gif 

I'd say roughly 1905 to the beginning of the Great War. 

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As I said before, the Varsity Line met several of the major trunk lines:

Cambridge: GER

Sandy: GNR

Bedford: Midland

Bletchley: LNWR (same company, but I suppose it counts)

Verney Jct: Met/GCR Joint

Oxford: GWR

 

Great fun!

Edited by GWRSwindon
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On 28/10/2019 at 12:13, Edwardian said:

To paraphrase, every undergraduate leaving Cambridge for Oxford would increase the average IQ of both places!

 

On a Regiment sent to Oxford, and a Present of Books to Cambridge, by King George I, 1715. By Dr Trapp:

 

The King observing, with judicious eyes,

The state of both his universities,

To one he sent a Regiment, for why?

That learned body wanted loyalty:-

To th'other he sent books, as well discerning,

How much that loyal body wanted learning.

 

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There are a couple of books by Bill Simpson on the line that would be worth tracking down.

 

A young Argos received them for Christmas from his parents. At that point (early teens) I had decided I was going to model the LMS with a Midland bent as more was available.

 

These books sent me down a different route and started my passion for the LNWR.

The line saw the Problems finishing their days after displacement from mainline services. These little engines in full flight with a light train of LNWR carriages must have been a sight to behold.

 

Shortly after reading the books my Hornby station building was removed and replaced with a card and stone paper model of Bicester station based on the plans in Vol 1.

This was followed by a good shed from lords Bridge scaled from photos in the book.

 

I always though Islip would have made a great model but the there is much of architectural interest along the line. This includes some tudor-esq (there is probably a posh architectural term for them) timber and brick stations.

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Does anyone know if the GC ran trains to Verney Junction? As far as I can tell, all the GC trains diverged to the GCML, with only Met trains running there.

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I’ve become mildly obsessed by the Western part of the route recently, because I often encounter it when out cycling in the area, and have borrowed copies of all of Bill Simpson’s books about the various parts, and got hold of a few other things to read.

 

The history of it is fascinating, especially if you get into all of the very many projected lines that never got built (not all of which are mentioned in the books).

 

I haven’t seen anything to suggest that GCR trains ran to Verney Junction in your era, although later the service was worked by the LNER.

 

The LNWR seem to have used a load of old crocks on the ordinary trains, including Singles, locos displaced from main line service by newer designs, pulling heavier trains, because neither the Oxford nor the Banbury routes really lived-up to hopes, so the passenger trains were light. But, it also seems to have been visited by special traffic/excursions, using more up-to-date coaches and engines, some via the south chord at Bletchley to give a direct route Euston to Oxford.

 

Please build a layout!

 

Incidentally, the more I read of Mr Simpson, the more I like his writing style ...... he doesn’t limit himself to the dry recitation of facts that make many railway history books as dull as ditchwater.

 

Here is slumbering Swanbourne, which still has LNWR paint buried beneath the flaking later coats in places!

 

 

616B1C5B-2F86-4FD3-AA54-8B3E8838E881.jpeg

AE335AE6-70F0-4384-8BB0-F277B35F3EF1.jpeg

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Why would the GCR run trains to Verney Junction? There's nothing there.

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That didn't stop the Met running Pullmans to the middle of a few damp fields!

 

Incidentally, if you go back a few years before the 1905 date-line, the trains from the Aylesbury direction were operated by the GWR, then the LNWR.

 

The GWR link goes back to the opening of the line, and well before that, in that the very first proposals for a railway through these damp fields was as part of an 1840s scheme for a Nottinghamshire to London main line, which would have run via Buckingham, the picked-up the GWR route into London via Aylesbury and Princes Risborough.

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2 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

I’ve become mildly obsessed by the Western part of the route recently, because I often encounter it when out cycling in the area, and have borrowed copies of all of Bill Simpson’s books about the various parts, and got hold of a few other things to read.

 

The history of it is fascinating, especially if you get into all of the very many projected lines that never got built (not all of which are mentioned in the books).

 

I haven’t seen anything to suggest that GCR trains ran to Verney Junction in your era, although later the service was worked by the LNER.

 

The LNWR seem to have used a load of old crocks on the ordinary trains, including Singles, locos displaced from main line service by newer designs, pulling heavier trains, because neither the Oxford nor the Banbury routes really lived-up to hopes, so the passenger trains were light. But, it also seems to have been visited by special traffic/excursions, using more up-to-date coaches and engines, some via the south chord at Bletchley to give a direct route Euston to Oxford.

 

Please build a layout!

 

Incidentally, the more I read of Mr Simpson, the more I like his writing style ...... he doesn’t limit himself to the dry recitation of facts that make many railway history books as dull as ditchwater.

 

Here is slumbering Swanbourne, which still has LNWR paint buried beneath the flaking later coats in places!

 

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_11/616B1C5B-2F86-4FD3-AA54-8B3E8838E881.jpeg.ce5904f443b8302adc3dec06377a3946.jpeg

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_11/AE335AE6-70F0-4384-8BB0-F277B35F3EF1.jpeg.423db1d9b97a86681ec52abcb8754126.jpeg

I didn't think the GCR ran trains there; the LNWR directors would have swallowed acid before they built a single exchange siding with the GCR.

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1 hour ago, GWRSwindon said:

 the LNWR directors would have swallowed acid before they built a single exchange siding with the GCR.

 you may think so, but you would be wrong. TheL&NWR and the MS&LR jopintly ran the Guide Bridge line from Oldham, through Ashton to Guide Bridge. In 1905 the joint committee became the L&NWR and GCR joint committee. Passenger services ceased in 1959, and goods in 1967. 

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5 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

I haven’t seen anything to suggest that GCR trains ran to Verney Junction in your era, although later the service was worked by the LNER.

 

 

The LNER took over the Met's steam-hauled services in 1937.

 

4 hours ago, wagonman said:

Verney Junction? There's nothing there.

 

That's the very essence and charm of Verney Junction!

 

1 hour ago, webbcompound said:

 you may think so, but you would be wrong. TheL&NWR and the MS&LR jopintly ran the Guide Bridge line from Oldham, through Ashton to Guide Bridge. In 1905 the joint committee became the L&NWR and GCR joint committee. Passenger services ceased in 1959, and goods in 1967. 

 

Also the Manchester South Junction & Altrincham, and they shared a Manchester terminus for many years. 

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1 hour ago, Compound2632 said:

they shared a Manchester terminus for many years

Although famously, not always cordially.

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As far as I'm aware, there was no connection between the LNWR and the GCR on the Varsity Line until 1940 when one was built at Calvert. That said, I suppose one could include it as a "might-have-been" in 1905. 

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Which is exactly what Rev Denny did on his Buckingham Branch, connecting the real Verney Junction on the LNWR to the imaginary Grandborough Junction on the GCR with an exchange chord.

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On 08/11/2019 at 11:27, wagonman said:

Why would the GCR run trains to Verney Junction? There's nothing there.

 

The GCR and LNER ran a service from Aylesbury to Verney Junction until it was taken over by LT in 1937. From 1905 a steam railmotor was used, which was replaced by a p&p set, using a 12 wheeled driving, coach post WW1

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4 minutes ago, billbedford said:

 

The GCR and LNER ran a service from Aylesbury to Verney Junction until it was taken over by LT in 1937. 

 

Wasn't it the other way round: the LNER took over LT steam-hauled services in that year?

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The plot as to which of the Met and GC ran what over this section is, I think thicker than it first appears, and trying to piece it together the chronology seems to be:

 

- A&BR service operate for it by GWR locos, which kept a couple of locos specially for the task at Aylesbury;

 

- Met bought the line in 1891, but initially had no locos, and had put the GWR's nose out of joint, so hired a couple from the LNWR;

 

- the Met doubled the line, wasted vast amounts of money creating lavish new stations, and bough some locos for the job, and the service was worked entirely by Met until the GCR arrived, and then the joint committee was formed;

 

- under the joint committee, there seem to have been, at various times, local Aylesbury/Verney Jct local services, Baker Street to VJ through services, and (this one surprised me), the odd Marylebone to VJ through service (8:45am ex-VJ, arr Marylebone 10:55am, and 5:26pm ex-Marylebone, arr. VJ 6:55pm Mon-Sat in 1910);

 

- as things became Met/LNER JC, then LPTB/LNER JC, the services was gradually reduced, with the Pullmans disappearing, through trains ceasing, then the whole service ceasing in 1936. Towards the end, once through trains had ceased, it seems to have been entirely LNER-worked.

 

It is the Met./GC JC period that is hardest to untangle, and I'm prepared to believe (pending further delving) that what Bill says is right, that the GC worked the Aylesbury to VJ locals, at least at some dates.

 

For a bit of railway that served virtually no passengers, the passenger service history was jolly complicated!

Edited by Nearholmer
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26 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

 

- Met bought the line in 1891, but initially had no locos, and had put the GWR's nose out of joint, so hired a couple from the LNWR;

 

- the Met doubled the line, wasted vast amounts of money creating lavish new stations, and bough some locos for the job, and the service was worked entirely by Met until the GCR arrived, and then the joint committee was formed;

 

 

I understood this to be the outcome of the Met's Watkin-induced ambition to become a main line to Birmingham. All part of his grand plan for the Chemins de Fer du Nord to live right up to its name by becoming a Paris - London - Birmingham - Sheffield - Manchester high-speed system via the Channel Tunnel.

 

Sounds familiar? 120 years on, we're still struggling to get HS2 off the drawing board!

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When you delve, it gets rather confusing, though, because it is anything but crystal clear that the MS&L was happy to be married to the Met. 
 

The connection between the GCR London Extension and the GWR via Akeman Street was partly about getting a route that avoided the steep, twisty and congested route into London via the Met, but also seems to have been a symptom of an incomplete meeting of minds between the Met and MS&L Boards - Watkin seems not to have had it all completely in his pocket.

 

Going to Verney Junction was a tactical error that turned into a waste of money, given that the GCR London Extension was routed a few miles to the west in the end.

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1 hour ago, Compound2632 said:

 

I understood this to be the outcome of the Met's Watkin-induced ambition to become a main line to Birmingham. All part of his grand plan for the Chemins de Fer du Nord to live right up to its name by becoming a Paris - London - Birmingham - Sheffield - Manchester high-speed system via the Channel Tunnel.

 

Sounds familiar? 120 years on, we're still struggling to get HS2 off the drawing board!

HS2 strikes me as a reminder of the original ideas for the London and Birmingham, to follow a route through the Vale of Aylesbury, etc, not too dissimilar to the M40.

 

Maybe 200 years on, and we are still struggling to get that built?

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