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"Up to Derby" - myth?

British signalling of the past (UK, excepting Northern Ireland)

"Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby edwin_m » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:22 pm

It is frequently suggested, including on Wikipedia [citation needed] that the the Up direction on the Midland was to its headquarters at Derby.

From looking at diagrams on this site, I strongly doubt this. I've checked several between Derby and St Pancras and after working out the geography it is clear that Up is towards St Pancras. The oldest such plan is Bedford South dated 1903, so pre-dating the wholesale re-mileposting the Midland is thought to have done in 1907 (http://midlandrailway.org.uk/occasional ... ile-posts/) which might also have been a logical time to reverse Up and Down. But can anyone definitely confirm or contradict that the Midland was "up to St Pancras" or give a date when Up was reversed?
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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby steve thompson » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:30 pm

The Midland's Bristol to Derby line was UP to Derby.
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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby StevieG » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:51 pm

Wouldn't there have been a pre-St.Pancras time when, if the then MR's main line direction south from Derby, Leicester etc. was not Down, it would then presumably have been Up to Hitchin (for King's Cross via the GNR) ?
Would that possibly less important direction have lent credence to a theory that north to Derby may well instead have been Up ?
BZOH

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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby John Hinson » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:55 am

StevieG wrote:Wouldn't there have been a pre-St.Pancras time when, if the then MR's main line direction south from Derby, Leicester etc. was not Down, it would then presumably have been Up to Hitchin (for King's Cross via the GNR) ?
Would that possibly less important direction have lent credence to a theory that north to Derby may well instead have been Up ?

Yes, definitely "Up" to London via Hirchin and the GN.

Steve T has hit the nail on the head. That's the route that gets people confused, especially on the bit where they run alongside the GW near Gloucester.

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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby RDNA » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:35 am

This discussion has started me wondering just when the "Up" / "Down" conventions were first used?

Am I right in a vague recollection that I once saw a reference to "North Line" (presumably paired with a "South Line") on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway?

Does anyone know of a reference to line direction on the Midland Counties Railway when it first opened from Derby / Nottingham to Rugby?

All comments will be read with interest.

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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby RDNA » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:59 am

A little 'Googling' has partly answered my last question!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midland_C ... n_1840.jpg

:oops:
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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby edwin_m » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:53 pm

Thanks for these replies.

Thanks for the confirmation John that it was Up towards London even before the Midland reached St Pancras. I don't suppose you have any documentary evidence of this? There's a character on another forum saying that an Wikipedia entry with no citation carries as much weight as several of your track layouts!

I agree it is the Midland's Bristol line that causes the confusion, and I imagine it was done that way either because for a time London trains left Derby going northwards, or to keep directions consistent at the most important stations, with the LNWR at Birmingham and the GWR at Bristol. This raises the subsidiary questions of whether Up was ever northwards in Derby station itself, and which direction was Up (if it was used at all) when the Midland's London trains used part of this line to reach the London and Birmingham at Hampton in Arden (and I imagine nobody had thought about extending it to Birmingham and Bristol!). Perhaps was no reason, and the Midland's directors just tossed a coin?

The timetable gives some general support to the idea that Up was towards London but it can't be definitive. The trains shown will have to reverse in Nottingham so must change between Up and Down at least once on their journeys, and it might also be that the timetable adopted the general convention in speed of the time of "up to London" regardless of how the company assigned its directions on specific parts of the network.
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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby John Hinson » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:57 am

edwin_m wrote:Thanks for the confirmation John that it was Up towards London even before the Midland reached St Pancras. I don't suppose you have any documentary evidence of this? There's a character on another forum saying that an Wikipedia entry with no citation carries as much weight as several of your track layouts!

Not immediately to hand, no. I'm not Wikipedia, and if people don't wish to take my drawings at face value that's their choice. Nobody is perfect, and there are probably as many errors on ancient hallowed documents as there are on my drawings.

Maybe John Gough can help, he has been through everything Midland at York with a fine toothcomb.

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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby Mike Stone » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:39 pm

Actually there is no way of telling from that table if trains ran via Nottingham - most up trains leave Derby and Nottingham at the same time.
Most early timetables and Bradshaw seem to me to rarely given any clear indication of what is and is not a connection.
.

I would have thought Mr Gough's unparallelled tome would have recorded any change?
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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby JG Morgan » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:56 pm

I have had a look at Gough ...
I've read the Foreword, Introduction and Conventions text at the front and have checked the detailed descriptions of the Hitchin to Bedford line and the Derby / Nottingham / Leicester triangle, and can find nothing about a change of direction in 1907 or that it was ever "up to Derby" throughout the Midland Railway.
I can see no mention of a "wholesale re-mileposting" in 1907.

It is, of course, up to Derby on the Bristol line as others have stated earlier; that matches the milepost direction (zero at London Road junction Derby). As far as the MR was concerned, Bristol - Birmingham - Derby is the route to London from the south-west (therefore "Up" in the normal railway sense). The MR might have "cut off the corner" from Stenson to Trent, but would not have wanted to send London traffic via the rival GWR or LNWR.

Trains to London would have left Derby south-westwards (to Hampton in Arden) from August 1839.
From June 1840 a route to London became available leaving Derby station at the north end, turning east to Chaddesden, Sawley Jct, Leicester and Rugby. So trains to London could have left from either end of the station. The route south then east from Derby station (the Litchurch & Spondon curve, the main line as we know it now) did not open until June 1867. Thereafter trains to London St Pancras could leave at either end of Derby station until closure to passenger trains of the old route via Chaddesden in October 1968.
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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby Stuart Johnson » Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:24 pm

JG Morgan wrote:I have had a look at Gough ...

I can see no mention of a "wholesale re-mileposting" in 1907.


That's odd, because the reference in the OP of this thread is to an article by John Gough in which he describes such a re-mileposting in some detail.
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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby Mike Stone » Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:21 pm

But in the article he does say he was unable to find any minutes authorising it. He also refers to distances being measured from St. Pancras from 1873.
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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby John Prytherch » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:31 pm

This message may be out of date as I have not used Derby Midland Station for about two years. But I think that on Derby Panel signals 441 to 446, starting southwards from the station, the indication "S" for Up Main really means "Spondon Branch" as I think that is the engineer's line reference for the remaining route to Spondon. The indication "W" means "Down Main (West)". I have always thought of it as meaning "West of England". I will miss these indications (which I think are still theatre type) when Derby is resignalled later this year.

I don't know what indications the new ROC signals will give, but I expect it will be "M" for Spondon and "B" (which may mean "Branch" but it would be nice to think of as "Bristol") for the Birmingham route. I am of course speculating here - sorry!

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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby steve thompson » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:00 pm

Or it could be B for Burton.
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Re: "Up to Derby" - myth?

Unread postby Mike Stone » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:29 pm

Tamworth Fast and Slow according to the diagram on the railengineer website - not clear if any are reversible to LNW Jct requiring them to show U OR D.
;
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