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The Impossible Journey


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One of the key motivations in our hobby seems to be recreating something of the past that it's no longer possible to experience. I've begun to wonder of late what journeys I'd take if easy, cheap and safe time travel were available.

 

I'd quite like to experience trans Pennine tram travel; apparently it was possible at one time to make the trip between Leeds and Liverpool by tram, though I'd be very surprised if anyone did, the train being far quicker. It's an experience that would be firmly on my to do list.

 

Looking further afield I'd also be motivated to take the train through the Chappar Rift, it's a stretch of line that's captured my imagination since first finding out scraps of information about it in the seventies. Fabulous geology and bravura engineering.

 

Neither of these journeys can be made today and it's difficult to imagine that they ever will in the future, It set me thinking what other intriguing impossibilities are out there?

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The tram journey has piqued my interest. Obviously you would have had to change trams, but if you owned or rented your own would it have been possible to do the trip in it? Were all the systems actually connected and of the same technical spec?

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The tram journey has piqued my interest. Obviously you would have had to change trams, but if you owned or rented your own would it have been possible to do the trip in it? Were all the systems actually connected and of the same technical spec?

I've heard about the through tram journey before but if I recall correctly there was a change of gauge involved at one point (?Bradford 4ft?) so taking one car end to end wouldn't have been possible...

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Most of my family elders did not like trams at all and probably for good reason. The stately progress of trams at Crich Museum does not re-enact the hell-for-leather progress that routinely took place on poorly maintained track in many towns and cities after the war.

 

My now impossible journey would be by SHMD prewar Thorneycroft single decker from Godley into Hyde, a prewar Daimler COG6 towards Manchester before changing onto a Crossley Condor into the big city centre. Then a Manchester bogie tram up to Hollinwood and change onto a prewar Layland TD4 with distinctive piano-front English Electric body up to Hollinwood. I have been fortunate to have done all this before except for the Crossley Condor so I know what to expect.

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Easy, first choice would be Bath Green Park to Bournemouth via Midford and Wincanton...

 

Then perhaps Aberystwyth to Carmarthen or Abergavenny to Neath....

 

Or Barnstaple to Lynton...

 

If asked 20 years ago, I'd also have replied 'Dinas Jct to Porthmadog via Beddgellert'....

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Nowadays a toss up between Newport - Brecon - Llanidloes - Moat Lane and Abergavenny - Merthyr over the MT&A. But like the Cap'n I have in the past had a hankering for Dinas Jcn - Portmadoc (as it then was) via Beddgelert (having done it the other way that was once possible but on a train which couldn't stop at the already closed Dinas Jcn).

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I've heard about the through tram journey before but if I recall correctly there was a change of gauge involved at one point (?Bradford 4ft?) so taking one car end to end wouldn't have been possible...

 

Yes there was a change of gauge between Leeds and Bradford, but if I remember correctly they had a number of trams that could work through as the wheels were able to be shifted from one position to another on the axle. I think there were some other different gauges along the way which would still necessitate changing trams.

 

Easy, first choice would be Bath Green Park to Bournemouth via Midford and Wincanton...

 

Now there's a surprise, never have guessed, knock me down with a feather ....

 

If asked 20 years ago, I'd also have replied 'Dinas Jct to Porthmadog via Beddgellert'....

 

This was on the edge of my conciousness when I posed the question; after the Ffestiniog's deviation and the quick build WHR far less seems impossible than it might have done, but I reckon I'm still onto a safe bet with the trans-Pennine trams and the Chappar Rift

 

 

Welshpool - Welshpool Raven Square

 

I'd heard that this was being looked into as a serious possibility, though I'd suspect it might be a little like the Ffestiniog between Ddault and T-Y-G and not be able to follow all the original course.

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id like to do some "missing links" of lines i sign or have signed such as birkenhead to paddington, all that is missing is birkenhead woodside to where it joined the current merseyrail network and wolverhampton oxley to where the midland metro joins the old tracked near west brom.

 

also i'd love to do stratford upon avon to honeybourne, marylebone to manchester via the GC and ironbridge to church stretton via much wenlock (can i say wenlock with it being an olympic banned word?)

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Pontypool - Crumlin High Level : http://www.crumlinviaduct.co.uk

By odd coincidence it is 50 years ago next month that I did Quakers Yard - Pontypool Road & return; the viaduct was - how shall I put it? - an 'interesting' experience, but with an amazing view. And behind one of Aberdare's 'pet' 56XX which they kept superbly clean just for that service.

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from kirkcaldy through thornton jn. station onto the fife east coast line, particularly the bit south of anstruther.

 

line doesn't get as much coverage as the anster-st.andrews-leuchars bit and i've looked at and walked the remaining bits particularly leven-lower largo

 

also, i'd hope that my camera and 50 gajillionB memory card would survive the time-travel!

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Yes there was a change of gauge between Leeds and Bradford, but if I remember correctly they had a number of trams that could work through as the wheels were able to be shifted from one position to another on the axle.

Yep I remember reading a book the rails tapered from the 4 ft Bradford Gauge to the Leeds standard gauge, in Stanningley the picture shows the trams beneath the Stanningley viaduct, now the Bfd Interchange- Leeds Lines, between New Pudsey & Bramley stations- I would assume the 'taper' was at or in the vinicinity of there. Assuming your tramcar was one of those that did this Leeds-Bradford journey it might be theoretcally possible to do the transpennine journey as AFAIK now the Bradford system was the oddball regards gauge.

 

Dates of the systems closure might be a different problem some systems may have been expanding whilst others contracted or deceased entirely I think Bradford was fairly early going onto (trolly)buses instead of trams whereas Leeds was one of the later places for (old-school) trams.

 

This is all recalled from a book I read from school the recollections (nor maybe even the book) might be correct!!! - not old enough to remember 'real' trams other than at Blackpool & Crich :(

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Colne to Skipton and back. I used to visit Colne with my parents as a nipper and spend time watching those services disappear into (for me) unknown regions. Unfortunately a certain Doctor had other ideas. Ah the scuppered dreams of yesteryear!

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