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The GCML in BR Blue?


GWRSwindon
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This is a somewhat more frivolous what-if than I try to post here, but I got it in my head, and now can't get it out. Had BR perhaps been less short-sighted and not closed the Great Central Main Line, what classes would have been likely to have worked the line in the 70s and 80s? I would guess similar engines to those on the rest of the Eastern Region or Midland, but I'm not sure.

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I think in the 70s there were the last dregs of the GW northern services albeit running New Street to Paddington though not sure if they went via Oxford?  If you’re “might have beening”, you could perhaps have Westerns giving way to Class 47 or 50s?  For more eastern services, Class 47s would be my guess maybe 45s?

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I believe (though maybe I'm confused) that one of the layouts at the WoR Virtual Exhibition was a BR blue GCML layout, and that they had looked at the traffic flows on alternative routes to see what might have been able to use the GCML. The only problems are that I can't remember the name of the layout or whether it was another closed line instead of the GCML.

 

https://www.world-of-railways.co.uk/virtual-exhibition-layouts//charwelton-into-the-80s

 

And here's their thread:

 

Edited by DK123GWR
I found the layout
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We did a lot of research more into the services we would be running as opposed to the classes of loco that would have continued to use the GCR.

   This was mainly due to us already owning quite a few locos between us and they would have be used to actually be able to run such a large layout.

     The most common light hearted arguments within the group usually revolve around the use of class 50’s and if they ever would have been used regularly on the line!

     I think we are pushing it a bit with the use of my class 26 though!!!

 

Here is a list of current locos we use on Charwelton-

Loco
08419 xo BS
20118 xo TE
20144 xo TI
20135 Xs TO
20165 xo TE
20081 vo TO
25058 xb CD
25109  xi BS
25054 xi CD
26037 xb HA
27024 xb IS
31247 xo IM
31185 xb SF
31230 xb BR
31418 xie MR
33008 xe EH
37033 xb ED
37506 xo TE
37088 xb MR
37238 xo HM
37207 xi LA
37281 xo CF
40004 xo LO
40159 xi HA
45016 xi TO
45122 xe TO
46037 xi GD
47407 xe GD
47520 xe GD
47112 xo SF
47286 xo BR
47576 xe SF
47076 xo BR
47213 xo BR
50004 xe OC
50007 xe LA
50035 xe OC
50044 xe LA
50026 xe OC 
56013 ao TI
56084

 

regards

 

-Andy

 

Edited by 43110andyb
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If the GC had not closed, it would have inevitably been heavily rationalised along the lines of the Waterloo-Exeter route or the GW route to Birmingham. Marylebone/Paddington-Banbury-Birmingham in the 1980s would give a flavour of what Marylebone/Nottingham/Sheffield might have looked like

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1st gen DMUs, like 115s etc. Possibly a few remaining  cascaded 127s (If we're talking 70s/early80s here). Most likely running a more or less skeleton service to Leicester or Nottingham. Closed stations along the route. Very poor connections too and long waits between trains if there are any branches remaining. Station buildings demolished and replaced with bus shelters, Pay train schemes. Definitely if not single track sections then it would have definitely been very basic, like Ravenser said just like the NNML and the Chiltern line up towards Banbury but with island platforms. I'd probably say also the West of England main line through Templecombe, as that had an odd service because of the way it was singled, or the Heart of Wales line in the 70s too now I think of it.

 

Throw in a decaying terminus at Marylebone with a skeleton staff and an equally decaying, or possibly de-roofed station at Nottingham Victoria, the empty bay platforms at Leicester Central and an air of general neglect. Looks to me like the kind of service you ride on to bag the mileage rather than to  actually get anywhere.

 

That said for me now, to get to Leicester to see certain members of my family it would still be quicker to go from Rugby Central rather than via Nuneaton. Bit of a walk at the other end though lol

Edited by The Evil Bus Driver
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But what about if BR had some forethought and closed the MML instead??

 

Would we have been seeing Continental Stock racing up and down the GCML mixed in with Peaks, 47's and HSTs etc, and now possibly TGV's, ICE's & Eurostars.

 

Oooh the mind is starting to boggle ^_^   ^_^

 

Cheers
 

Neal.

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53 minutes ago, Calnefoxile said:

But what about if BR had some forethought and closed the MML instead??

 

 

 

 

Cheers
 

Neal.

 

Well, that was certainly a possibility given the proposal to demolish St Pancras in the 1960s. I seem to remember proposals were mooted that services might have been diverted to Kings Cross, which seemed to me at the time to be completely irrational for reasons of both capacity and the expense of constructing a connecting spur somewhere. 

 

However, for a GC main line service you would need to consider the depots supplying the locos in the 1970s/80s. Tinsley is an obvious one, but services through Nottingham would have to assume Victoria had remained open, and if so Midland may well have succumbed for through passenger trains because of the need to reverse. 

 

In London, it might have been easier to join the Midland to the GC where they come very close at West Hampstead, but a bit of demolition would have been necessary. 

 

The whole scenario raises so many sub-plots of 'what might have been'. 

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I'm not sure that, other than St Pancras itself, BR could ever really have closed any part of the Midland Main Line; Longer distance services could I suppose have been diverted from Market Harborough to Northampton and thence to Euston, but the route from Bedford to London would surely have remained as a commuter line, so not that much would actually have gone ! Nowadays of course any such proposals just seem ludicrous.

 

An idea I had once for a layout was that Milton Keynes New Town would actually have been built at Woodford Halse. Therefore part of the GC route would have survived, with trains running to Marylebone or Paddington via Banbury, Going north a new connection would have been constructed in the Leicester area, for services to Derby, Nottingham etc. And the SMJ would have been kept from Woodford New Town to Fenny Compton, with a new connection there to allow a Birmingham service.

 

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BR could have had its hand forced if mining subsidence had differed such that the MML had to abandoned at Clay Cross meaning the GC was the only route available between the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. Given that the Loughborough chord would be double track, possibly the GC abandoned south of it, the GN Derbyshire extension retained and upgraded and the Nottingham Suburban Railway reopened equally upgraded so that SW-NE trains ran from Burton via Derby Friargate and the Nottm Sub so as to enter Nottm Vic facing north.

Edited by Butler Henderson
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 13/07/2020 at 18:56, Butler Henderson said:

BR could have had its hand forced

...

the GN Derbyshire extension retained and upgraded and the Nottingham Suburban Railway reopened equally upgraded so that SW-NE trains ran from Burton via Derby Friargate and the Nottm Sub so as to enter Nottm Vic facing north.

 

Rather than the Suburban Railway being upgraded, given the nature of the route and need for demolition , it's more likely that Mapperley Tunnel would be repaired and such trains routed round by the main line through Gedling and Colwick.  Although with the time penalty on such route and the costs of repairing the tunnel, it may have proved worthwhile to just come in from Bagthorpe and reverse in Victoria.  After all, in the real world, MML through trains were reversed in Nottingham Midland, instead of keeping the Melton route and running in from the east.

Edited by DavidBird
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It's a good one this...

Let's say the Midland stayed open as well, and the old Great Central clung on. Proposals to electrify never happening, so loco changes to 76 at Sheff, the EM2 would have stayed then

And let us pick up from whence it stopped.

Eastern Region, with LMR interlopers.

115 DMUs still commuter belts but Marylebone Depot having a loco allocation , and Tinsley at the t'other end...

37s were strong, they did the Newcastle-Bournemouth with a reversal at Sheff Victoria, and Gateshead might have turned out 46s for this one, and 47/4 Generators

Class 48s later 47s on the reinvented MAster Cutler, and the odd Deltic and York 40 as they were displaced by HSTs

I think like the GER mainline the mainstay would be 37s perhaps Tinsley 45/0s, until 47/4s displaced. Cricklewood 25s and later 31s are pictured around the lower part, Trashy old DMUs LEicester to Nottingham to Sheffield, later replaced by 31/4s. 

The failed Blue Pullman was seriously considered for the route, and perhaps lingered, and a Single HST turn for the MAster Cutler would have been tried.

43 Warships were diverted there with work at Paddington, on the Brun turns, and later Western 47s/50s may have joined. The boiler heating Class 15 made in to Marylebone, and 08 shunters, the Eastern liking its speedy 03s for shunt releases. ....Maybe!

 

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On 11/07/2020 at 11:52, The Evil Bus Driver said:possibly de-roofed station at Nottingham Victoria, the empty bay platforms at Leicester Central and an air of general neglect. Looks to me like the kind of service you ride on to bag the mileage rather than to  actually get anywhere.

 

I seem to recall mention that the early plans for Nottingham’s Victoria Centre shopping mall included retention of two tracks through the lowest basement level. “Minories” meets New Street perhaps?

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I've been modelling the GCR London extension  (not main line - that was east/west!) in 1981 for a while now.  I agree that it would have become a bit of a cinderella route like Waterloo/Exeter and had to work with cast-offs from other regions. 

 

In my world 1981 conveniently allows Deltics displaced from the East Coast to work the Sheffield / London expresses with some Class 50s on trains from the Western Region via Banbury.

 

In the last days of the GCR there were 37s and 47s on the cross country route to Oxford and Swindon so they would have been the mainstay on those services.  My semi-fasts are in the hands of 25s, with 31s from the ER gradually taking over.  Local trains would have been DMUs - probably LMR 108s, withe the odd 101 later. The modern windcutters (MGRs) are 47 and 56 hauled.   

 

In the real world I suspect the best case scenario post -968 would be a route curtailed at Nottingham operated by intercity DMUs, perhaps replaced by 31s in around 1984 when the older DMUs became life-expired.  Then 158s/159s would have appeared post 1993/4.  Occasionally I operate my layout  in 2003 during the Central Trains era.  Then it is all Green 153s/156s/158s that match the Farish station buildings very nicely....

 

Btw - absolutely love Charwelton - just hope we may see it at an exhibition again one day.

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