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Pre-Grouping train services across the Thames?


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Poking around various old maps there are lots of stations and depots in the south London suburban areas which were (at least notionally) owned by pre-grouping companies which are islands among the southern companies. I can't remember the specific mapping - but there are Midland, Great Northern, London & North Western and Great Eastern depots dotted around the suburban loop lines radiating out between london bridge and victoria all the way down towards Surrey and Kent.  In the case of the GER, they had their own station at New Cross Low Level via the East London Railway lines, and in the case of the LNWR they shared Central Croydon off the brighton mainline via Kensington Olympia.

 

Was this a case of liveried locomotives and stock traversing across their networks, over the thames and plunging into the smoky morass of rural south beyond London? Or were trains of coaches or wagons handed over between companies at an appropriate place. I.e. the GER would shuttle 'their' coal train into an area in Bermondsey to be collected by a Brighton loco for its onward journey, or the LNWR would deposit coaches at Clapham Junction (I actually have no idea what the route from Kensington to Crystal Palace looks like - is it the route the overground takes from Shephards Bush to East Crodon?).

 

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Yes, the big northern companies (and the Great Western) had goods stations well off their own systems, particularly in the docks, but also in the East End, off the Metropolitan widened lines - which was one of the key routes for cross-London traffic, along with the North & South Western Junction etc. providing a route between Willesden and Clapham. The Midland (and I think the Great Northern?) had coal depots south of the Thames. At least in the case of the Midland, trains were worked through by their own locomotives, which is why so many 0-4-4Ts and 0-6-0Ts were built with condensing apparatus - also for the passenger services out of Moorgate. In the pre-tube age, there was a variety of what now seem bizarre services, such as the Midland's Victoria - Kentish Town passenger service. 

 

It's a rich topic. A flavour can be got from the currently moribund Basilica Fields website. (I did read that this valuable resource came to a halt because it had reached the capacity of the website software or some such.)

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On 29/10/2019 at 07:28, Lacathedrale said:

"or the LNWR would deposit coaches at Clapham Junction"

There is a photo Klaus Marx's book   An LB&SCR Album looking south from East Croydon station c.1900 showing LNWR Webb 2-4-2T with a rake of carriages waiting to return from where the  Croydon Town hall was later built. The caption mentions regular GER services, but fails to say which company's locos hauled them. The photo was taken on a misty day probably in late autumn or winter at distance so details are very indistinct.

 

 

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There were distinctions between the way that the "foreign" coal depots, goods depots and passenger stations were served.

 

Many coal depots in central and south London were served direct by the northern companies using their own engines and brake vans. The Midland were the "biggies", with coal depots as far south as Maidstone in Kent (that one wasn't served by through locos!), and they used two main routes from their marshalling yard at Brent in North London: the widened lines and Snow Hill; and, the Dudding Hill line, to the west of London, which gave access to the Met District Rly, and thereby to a big coal yard at West Kensington, and a fairly big one at High Street Kensington. The GNR also had a few coal depots, served from Free Park via the Widened Lines and Snow Hill. Finally, the LNWR,which I think only had one, at Knoght's Hill on the LBSCR.

 

Some "foreign" goods depots were also served by direct through trains, the GWR depot at South Lambeth via the WLER, and the NLR/LNWR at Haydons Square near Fenchurch Street via the NLR and the GER from Bow, for instance, but others seem to have been served with "cuts" of wagons conveyed forward from handover locations by the local company.

 

The passenger stations served by "off line" companies were served direct by through trains, and most did not involve the use of the "running powers" that modellers often cite, but were the result of combinations of joint ownership of sections of railway (there were many such sections in London, best known being the WLER and the ELR) and cooperation.

 

The passenger service map of London Suburbia looked massively different pre-1900 from how it looked after the deep tube railways got going, and after the Met and District were electrified, and it is difficult to know where to start in describing long-forgotten through services, there were so many of them. Added to which, the character of the railways was hugely different. Taking one example, the NLR was an immensely busy line, because it had a City terminus (Broad Street) which could be accessed from West, North, and East London, so a city clerk commuting from Richmond (actually, a bit far on a clerk's wages) had a choice of going the whole way round the NLR, or by the Met District, and might choose the former, because the latter was famously crowded and prone to endless signal stops. Come the construction of the Waterloo and City, he probably deserted the NLR, and caught the LSWR to Waterloo.

 

This subject is huge, and fascinating, to the degree where after forty years working on railways all over London, above and below ground, and following up on the history as I went, I still now find passenger services that I've never heard of before, and goods depots that I've overlooked.

 

Cutting to the chase of the original question: yes, Both GER and LNWR trains, locos and coaches, ran to Croydon, and to tickle your fancy further, the GWR long ran into Victoria (LCD), the GER into St Pancras, the NLR/LNWR along the bottom side of what is now the circle line, and for a short period scheduled services ran across the concourse at Waterloo LSWR station to access the lines out of Charing Cross.

 

Actually, this is quite good place to start, because whoever edited it is good with maps https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Circle_(London) ........ but, it only the beginning!

 

The quick way to find "foreign" goods and coal yards is to use Railmap online, which is based on old OS mapping (but beware, some of the ownership colourings on it are wrong when compared with RCH maps), after which more detail can be found using NLS Maps 1:1056 London Series, but neither will help you with how the trains got to them, or with the passenger services ...... Bradshaw and a magnifying glass are the way to tackle the latter!

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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28 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

 

Many coal depots in central and south London were served direct by the northern companies using their own engines and brake vans. The Midland were the "biggies", with coal depots as far south as Maidstone in Kent (that one wasn't served by through locos!), and they used two main routes from their marshalling yard at Brent in North London: the widened lines and Snow Hill; and, the Dudding Hill line, to the west of London, which gave access to the Met District Rly, and thereby to a big coal yard at West Kensington, and a fairly big one at High Street Kensington.

 

 

Many and strange are the tentacles of the might Derby octopus.

 

29 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

the GWR long ran into Victoria (LCD)

 

... being part owner of the Chatham side of Victoria a one-fifteenth share.

 

32 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

the GER into St Pancras,

 

... as far as I'm aware, this was for main line services - GER Cambridge expresses running into St Pancras as a West End terminus, Liverpool Street being far to unfashionable for genteel Dons' families. Were there also suburban services? I know the Midland ran some Southend fast services over the LT&SR from St Pancras - the famous Beatrice was a regular on these. This was in the 80s/90s, well before the Midland's take over of the Tilbury line.

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I don't think that there were GER suburban services into St Pancras proper, but I seem to remember finding some very strange services that ran Moorgate, Widened Lines, Kentish Town, and then to the GER suburbia via South Tottenham & Stamford Hill (which was the usual limit of the Midland suburban service on this route, but gateway to the LT&SR). I have a vague recollection that some ran to Liverpool Street, because I recall being impressed by the fact that you could go Moorgate-Liverpool street by such an orbit, when you can walk it in five minutes. I can't find any such in the 1910 Bradshaw, so they must have been earlier.

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Come to think of it, I recently saw a photo of an M15 2-4-2T in front of the ornate water tower at St Pancras - the favourite spot for snapping singles - which does suggest some less than long-distance services. I'll have another leaf through my Midland Railway Society Journals.

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1 hour ago, Nearholmer said:

 

And, which company served Gospel Oak via the T&HJct? One of them must have.

 

 

The Midland Carriage Marshalling book for October 1922 (a bit after the period of interest, I know) shows sets of carriages on circuits variously out and back from St Pancras / "City" (Moorgate) and East Ham / Woodgrange Park / Barking all via Kentish Town, so for this date I think not the Midland for Gospel Oak. 

 

The Wikipedia article gives the impression that the Highgate Road Junction - Gospel Oak section,opened in 1888, was moribund for most of the line's history, closing completely in 1926. The modern Gospel Oak - Barking service dates from 1981, replacing that via Kentish Town.

 

I've found the photo I mentioned of the Gobbler at St. Pancras - No. 797. before 1907 [Midland Railway Society Journal No. 55 (Summer 2014)]. There's a follow-up comment in the next issue [Mo. 56 (Autumn 2014)] from Charles Philips, stating that there were two services such an engine could have worked: St Pancras - Hertford GE; and St Pancras - Tottenham Hale in connection with Cambridge line trains - this in addition to the GE Cambridge expresses using St Pancras. He also mentions that St Pancras was the station for royal journeys to Sandringham and for race day trains to Newmarket - separating out the West End nobs from the bookmakers and general hoi-polloi who would presumably have travelled down from the City and East End via Liverpool Street.

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What this thread probably needs is a full set of bound volumes of The London Railway Record, which is where the minutiae of such things are reported, debated and laid to rest.

 

I don’t have the shelf space!

 

coal depots are getting discussed here too, sporadically https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/149726-mile-end-coal-drops-pics-sought/&tab=comments#comment-3757154

 

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17 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

There were distinctions between the way that the "foreign" coal depots, goods depots and passenger stations were served.

 

Many coal depots in central and south London were served direct by the northern companies using their own engines and brake vans. The Midland were the "biggies", with coal depots as far south as Maidstone in Kent (that one wasn't served by through locos!), and they used two main routes from their marshalling yard at Brent in North London: the widened lines and Snow Hill; and, the Dudding Hill line, to the west of London, which gave access to the Met District Rly, and thereby to a big coal yard at West Kensington, and a fairly big one at High Street Kensington. The GNR also had a few coal depots, served from Free Park via the Widened Lines and Snow Hill. Finally, the LNWR,which I think only had one, at Knoght's Hill on the LBSCR.

 

Some "foreign" goods depots were also served by direct through trains, the GWR depot at South Lambeth via the WLER, and the NLR/LNWR at Haydons Road near Fenchurch Street via the NLR and the GER from Bow, for instance, but others seem to have been served with "cuts" of wagons conveyed forward from handover locations by the local company.

 

The quick way to find "foreign" goods and coal yards is to use Railmap online, which is based on old OS mapping (but beware, some of the ownership colourings on it are wrong when compared with RCH maps), after which more detail can be found using NLS Maps 1:1056 London Series, but neither will help you with how the trains got to them, or with the passenger services ...... Bradshaw and a magnifying glass are the way to tackle the latter!

 

 

There is an excellent and fairly authoritative article covering "foreign" goods yards south of the Thames here

http://www.semgonline.com/RlyMag/ForeignDepotsofSthLondon.pdf

courtesy of the superb Semgonline files.

London Railway Record, issue 15, has an article by John Minnis regarding the GNR and MR depots, with a rare, possibly unique photo of a GNR tank at Elephant and Castle, and Railway South East Winter 1991/1992 has an extended article on coal traffic to London that covers the south as well.

I was surprised to see that there was a NLR/ LNWR depot at Haydons Road in SW19, but then I realised that it was Haydons Square!

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On 10/12/2019 at 19:19, Nearholmer said:

I don't think that there were GER suburban services into St Pancras proper, but I seem to remember finding some very strange services that ran Moorgate, Widened Lines, Kentish Town, and then to the GER suburbia via South Tottenham & Stamford Hill (which was the usual limit of the Midland suburban service on this route, but gateway to the LT&SR). I have a vague recollection that some ran to Liverpool Street, because I recall being impressed by the fact that you could go Moorgate-Liverpool street by such an orbit, when you can walk it in five minutes. I can't find any such in the 1910 Bradshaw, so they must have been earlier.

 

In the 1895 Bradshaw you could catch an LT&SR train from Moorgate Street to Barking, and then a GER service from Barking to Liverpool Street.  They did not always exactly connect, and there appears to be no through service.

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So I've been reading 'Subterranean Railway' by C. Wolmar and the early history of the Met and District is fascinating with regard to the antipathy by their respective chairs (also the chairs of the LCDR and SER) - such as one company chaining a loco to a disputed siding, and the other trying to haul it out with their own locos. It reminds me of that quote about Bricklayer's Arms, paraphrased 'The only reason this terminus was built by the LBR and SER, was to force the London & Greenwich to accept favourable terms for their use of London Bridge' - the sheer amount of petty rivalry and brinkmanship makes me smile.

 

With that in mind I'm considering moving the layout that prompted this discussion from Croydon way up into the armpit of London - somewhere in the triangle of Cannon Street, Holborn Viaduct and Charing Cross.  It's my understanding that for this area the City Widened Lines as the only realistic source of 'northern' traffic - so that means the GNR and MR.

 

The stimulating discussion of coal drops and goods yards aside, did these railways run passenger services headed by their own locos, into southern suburban termini? The wiki page for the Widened Lines suggests it was travelled by Metropolitan locomotives - which would make sense given Watkin's joint chairmanship of the Met and SER - but no further details on what these locos hauled. I realise that the Great Northern or Midland running trains from their vast stations across London to terminate in a secondary terminus on the river feels a bit of a stretch - but Rule No. 1 and all that ;)

 

 

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Just now, Lacathedrale said:

So I've been reading 'Subterranean Railway' by C. Wolmar and the early history of the Met and District is fascinating with regard to the antipathy by their respective chairs (also the chairs of the LCDR and SER) - such as one company chaining a loco to a disputed siding, and the other trying to haul it out with their own locos. It reminds me of that quote about Bricklayer's Arms, paraphrased 'The only reason this terminus was built by the LBR and SER, was to force the London & Greenwich to accept favourable terms for their use of London Bridge' - the sheer amount of petty rivalry and brinkmanship makes me smile.

 

With that in mind I'm considering moving the layout that prompted this discussion from Croydon way up into the armpit of London - somewhere in the triangle of Cannon Street, Holborn Viaduct and Charing Cross.  It's my understanding that for this area the City Widened Lines as the only realistic source of 'northern' traffic - so that means the GNR and MR.

 

The stimulating discussion of coal drops and goods yards aside, did these railways run passenger services headed by their own locos, into southern suburban termini? The wiki page for the Widened Lines suggests it was travelled by Metropolitan locomotives - which would make sense given Watkin's joint chairmanship of the Met and SER - but no further details on what these locos hauled. I realise that the Great Northern or Midland running trains from their vast stations across London to terminate in a secondary terminus on the river feels a bit of a stretch - but Rule No. 1 and all that ;)

 

 

The antipathy between Watkin and Forbes was exercised on several fronts. Watkin was also Chairman of the Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire and the driving force behind the London Extension - he was also on the board of the Chemins de Fer du Nord and the Channel Tunnel company, with the grand scheme of a through Manchester-Paris route. It's not surprising to find him needling the Midland - he pops up out of the blue as Chairman of the Neath & Brecon, provoking a dispute with the Midland in 1889. James Staats Forbes carried the battle deep into MS&LR territory with the Hull & Barnsley Railway - the LC&DR locomotive engineer, William Kirtley (nephew of the Midland's Matthew) as consultant equipped the line with some very LC&DR-like rolling stock. 

 

The more one delves into the Watkin-Forbes story, the more it becomes apparent that Watkin was ultimately doomed since Forbes had the Midland, with all its wealth, silently behind him. The H&B as a proxy Midland rout to an East Coast port is one example; cross-London services are another, with the Midland definitely aligned with the LC&DR (for all that it had to use the Met to make the link).

 

To get back to @Lacathedrale's more practical questions, yes, in the 19th century (and up until when?) the Midland was running across the river - the 1903 timetable shows Midland trains to Victoria from Kentish Town, calling at Kings Cross (Met), Farringdon Street, Snow Hill, etc. - what I hadn't noticed before was that in addition to the Midland trains, several are marked as SE&CR trains and a number of these start from Hendon. There were also Midland trains from Kentish Town to Herne Hill to provide Kent connections for passengers from the north; see this post and posts linked therein:

 

The moribund Basilica Fields website is a goldmine of information too. 

 

Map (1914 so doesn't distinguis SER and LC&DR lines, unfortunately), as it's easy to become confused!

 

image.png.3125988ade7540e9b487a38ceb886723.png

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The northern companies didn’t operate their services onto the Widened Lines from their main termini, but from suburban stations further out, although the GNR trains did, of course, call at the edges of Kings Cross (York Road on the way south, and the Hotel Curve platform on the way north).

 

But, from what I can work out, the northern company suburban trains all went direct into the city, to Moorgate. (Wrong! Compound cites an exception to that.)

 

The suburban trains that actually crossed the river from to/from Cannon Street etc were, I think, worked by SER locomotives and carriages. For instance, a train involved in a collision at Cannon Street on 15 October 1889 was a SER service from Enfield(GNR) station.

 

However, there were also a few through main-line services that crossed the river via Snow Hill (most went via the WLER), being portions of Midland trains detached at Kentish Town and taken forward to Herne Hill for attachment to trains going south. We discussed these at great length in another thread, but blowed if I can remember which!

 

The Widened Lines, incidentally, were primarily not used by the Met, but ‘everyone else’ (GWR, MR, GNR, LCDR). The Widened was built, very soon after the Met proper, to prevent all these other services clogging-up the Met.

 

One thing to hugely beware of in all this is that some services only ran for a few years, while others persisted for decades, so what was true in one year might not be in the next.

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3 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

But, from what I can work out, the northern company suburban trains all went direct into the city, to Moorgate.

 

The suburban trains that actually crossed the river from to/from Cannon Street etc were, I think, worked by SER locomotives and carriages. For instance, a train involved in a collision at Cannon Street on 15 October 1889 was a SER service from Enfield(GNR) station.

 

However, there were also a few through main-line services that crossed the river via Snow Hill (most went via the WLER), being portions of Midland trains detached at Kentish Town and taken forward to Herne Hill for attachment to trains going south. We discussed these at great length in another thread, but blowed if I can remember which!

 

 

Links to Herne Hill posts in my post above.

 

The Midland service to Victoria was long-lived, from the 1870s into the 20th century. I hadn't bothered to mention the intensive Midland service into Moorgate as that didn't involve crossing the river!

 

Interesting to find the SER and GNR in cahoots - I once again detect the hand of Watkin, bidding against Forbes and the Midland!

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Indeed. 
 

I’ve long wanted to draw “Sherlock Holmes' Tube Map”, so Here is a bash at a tiny extract.

 

I need to check the GWR outer suburban services, because I think they might actually have gone to Liverpool St or Aldgate, rather than Moorgate.

 

Critique?

 

MAP DELETED - SEE LATER ITERATION BELOW

 

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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Wonderful diagram - does this only cover terminating stops? I assume Farringdon is in there just for easy placement, since it doesn't appear that anything terminates there - but you haven't included Blackfriar's/Ludgate Hill.

 

I can immediately see how this would end up a behemoth of a diagram if you started to include the other services that hang off those shared routes!

 

It does provide a rich tapestry to model something too, so thank you.

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December 1895 Bradshaws  has the only GWR Service as Mansion House to Aldgate via Westbourne Park, which surprised me.  1) As I thought they had more, and 2) I thought that was an LNWR service, but perhaps they only started at Mansion House.

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I put Farringdon on only because it gives a good 'peg' to the modern Thameslink services.

 

I'm in the process of adding St Paul's, mainly because it was a terminating point for LSWR suburban services before the W&C opened.

 

I also need to add Midland services from Moorgate to Hendon and beyond, and to sort out the GWR services along the top of the circle. Things to look at include: Middle Circle (Mansion House-Aldgate via Addison Road ........ some sources cite this as a Met and District service, but it ran via Bishop's Road and I think the GWR were partners in it too); Hammersmith Branch (which I think was technically Met & GW Joint, although possibly only after electrification); and, outer suburban services to places like Windsor

 

The rest of what this doesn't include is omitted because:

 

- it relates to Railway A running services over the tracks of Railway A;

 

- it didn't get anywhere near the Widened Lines;

 

- it becomes mind-bogglingly complicated very quickly!

 

You can probably now see why my ambition to draw the entire service pattern for inner London c1900 remains unfulfilled, but even this tiny extract is sufficient to illustrate the point that the railway map of London then was very different from how it is now.

 

I might have a bash at a "through goods" version for the Widened Lines too, although that isn't really so interesting.

 

Chris - The NLR/LNWR service was the Outer Circle, in alliance with the District, along the bottom half of the Circle, not the Met, and went via the NLR to Broad Street.

 

 

 

 

 

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