Tag Archives: Great Northern Railway

Old Railway Stations – Nottingham Victoria

Old Railway Stations

Nottingham Victoria

Nottingham Victoria Station 1903

Nottingham Victoria Station 1903

Nottingham Victoria railway station was a Great Central Railway and Great Northern Railway railway station in Nottingham, England. It was designed by the architect Albert Edward Lambert, who also designed the rebuild of the Nottingham Midland station (now known more simply as Nottingham Station).
It was opened by the Nottingham Joint Station Committee on 24 May 1900 and closed on 4 September 1967 by the London Midland Region of British Railways. The station building was entirely demolished (except for the clock tower) and the Victoria Centre shopping centre was built on the site, incorporating the old station clock tower into the main entrance on Milton Street (continuation of Mansfield Road).

Nottingham Victoria 1
Nottingham Victoria on a summer Saturday in August with B1 class 4-6-0 No.61192 taking water on the 6.45am Leicester central to Manchester Victoria train. This vast station site is now occupied by a large shopping centre. The clock tower, which is now overshadowed by skyscraper flats, has been incorporated into the shopping precinct and survives as a monument of a more spacious age.

Nottingham Victoria 2

Nottingham Victoria with a class 9F 2-10-0 rumbling through on an empty coal train from the south. Known to railway staff as ‘Annersley Runners’, these long coal trains were a feature of Great Central main line running. Passengers are waiting for the through trains to Scarborough or Cleethorpes which used to run summer Saturdays only over the closed Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast line.

Nottingham Victoria 3

Nottingham Victoria and the arrival of the 7.20am Leicester Central to Cleethorpes train behind K3 class No.61896. This train ran on three days of the year only and traversed the closed Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway from Mansfield Central to Lincoln, calling at Edwinstowe and Ollerton, two stations which were open to the public for two months of the year only. Note the wheeltappers wondering whether to tap or not.

Some Early Lines Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway – Bourne & Sleaford Railway

Some Early Lines
Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway

Bourne & Sleaford Railway

EPSON scanner imageBillingborough & Horbling Station (remains)
View southwards, towards Bourne; ex-GN Bourne – Sleaford branch. Station and line closed to passengers 22/9/30, to goods 28/7/56 (from Sleaford) 15/6/64 (from Bourne).
© Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, (M&GN) was a joint railway owned by the Midland Railway (MR) and the Great Northern Railway (GNR) in eastern England, affectionately known as the ‘Muddle and Get Nowhere’ to generations of passengers, enthusiasts, and other users.
The main line ran from Peterborough to Great Yarmouth via South Lynn and Melton Constable. Branches ran from Sutton Bridge to an end on junction with the Midland Railway branch from Saxby, at Little Bytham near Bourne, Lincolnshire; from Melton Constable to Cromer; and from Melton Constable to Norwich. There was also a short spur connecting South Lynn to King’s Lynn and its docks.

Bourne and Sleaford Railway

Bourne - BlogBourne Station
Station architecture on the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway at Bourne, which was the junction for the Sleaford and Essendean branches of the Great Northern Railway. Bourne signal box had a huge deflector screen at the corner to prevent the headlamps of cars using the crossing from blinding the drivers of oncoming trains.

The Bourne and Sleaford Railway was a 18-mile (29 km) long Great Northern Railway built single track branch railway line that ran between Bourne, on the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway main line between the Midlands and the Norfolk Coast, to Spilsby, on the Peterborough to Lincoln Line via four intermediate stations, Morton Road, Rippingale, Billingboro and Horbling, and Aswarby and Scredington.

River Nene Crossing - BlogNene River crossing
The view from a train from Spalding to Yarmouth Beach showing the complex arrangements made to take road and rail over the river Nene. The bridge swings open to take river traffic when required, the line being protected by two signal boxes, one at each end. The bridge itself has a box to operate the bridge and signal to ships when the river is clear.

The line was first proposed by the Great Eastern Railway as part of their plan to create a line from Cambridge to York. This plan failed to obtain parliamentary authorisation and was eventually built by the Great Northern Railway, opening in 1872. Although operated by the same company, the line was run separately from the Essendine line, and had its own goods yard. The line closed to passengers in 1930, although the section from Bourne to Billingborough remained open for goods until 1964.

Yarmouth Beach - BlogThe Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway terminated at a place called Yarmouth Beach, an undistinguished terminus at the back of the town.


Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era – 1922 – Gresley ‘Pacifics’ Great Northern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1922 – Gresley ‘Pacifics’

Great Northern RailwayNo.1473 as first built

No.1473 as first built

The final express design for the Great Northern, introduced by Mr. (later Sir) Nigel Gresley in 1922 just before the grouping.  Two engines were built initially, Nos.1470 and 1471.  They were a revolution in the size of power for express working on the GNR, which had hitherto been almost exclusively in the hands of the Ivatt ‘Atlantics’.  They were the only engines (apart from ‘Henry Oakley’) on that line ever to bear a name, No. 1470 being appropriately ‘Great Northern’, and 1471 ‘Sir Frederick Banbury’.  They may in some ways be regarded as a natural enlarged cross-development between the ‘Atlantics’, with their wide fireboxes, and the 3-cylinder K3 2-6-0s detailed in the previous post In this category.

Ten further engines quickly followed in 1923, Nos. 4472-81 (at first temporarily numbered 1472-81), whilst in 1924-5 there appeared Nos. 2543-82.60068

In 1925 No. 4474 underwent trials on the Great Western main line, being matched against the GWR engine No. 4079 ‘Pendennis Castle’, as a result of which No. 4480 was in 1927 rebuilt with a 220 lb. boiler, and four others were likewise treated a few months later.  Following the success of this conversion, further new engines were built with the higher pressure between 1928 and 1935, Nos. 2743-52, 2595-9, 2795-7 and 2500-8.  From 1925 onwards all the class were named, mostly after famous racehorses, but No. 4472, one of the best known of the whole lot had already become ‘Flying Scotsman’ after the train of that name, which it frequently worked.60103 Flying Scotsman

All eventually received the higher boiler pressure, and in 1945 Thompson rebuilt the initial engine No. 4470, when it was considerably modified, and as such became the prototype of a new class of his own, comprising in all fifty engines.  This locomotive received the number 113 under the 1946 renumbering scheme, whilst the remainder became 35-112, and later ran as BR 60035-60112, the Thompson rebuild and subsequent additions being 60113-62.

As Built – Driving wheels – 6’ 8”,  Cylinders (3) – 20”x 26”,  Pressure 180 lb.,  Tractive effort – 29835 lb.,  Weight – ___ ,  GNR & LNER classification – A1 (later A10),  BR classification – N/A

As Rebuilt – Driving wheels – 6’ 8”,  Cylinders (3) – 19”x 26”,  Pressure 220 lb.,  Tractive effort – 32910 lb.,  Weight – 96 tons 5 cwt ,  GNR & LNER classification – A3,  BR classification – 7P6F

No. 4470, modified by Thompson – Driving wheels – 6’ 8”,  Cylinders (3) – 19”x 26”,  Pressure 250 lb.,  Tractive effort – 37400 lb.,  Weight – 101 tons,  GNR & LNER classification – A1,  BR classification – 7P6F60113


Some Early Lines GNR from Leicester Belgrave Road Railway Station

Some early Lines

GNR from Leicester Belgrave Road railway station

Leicester Belgrave Road was the Great Northern Railway terminus in Leicester, England. It was the terminus of the GNR’s branch line from the Great Northern and London and North Western Joint Railway at Marefield Junction.

4A Sundays only express to Skegness leaves Leicester Belgrave Road behind B1 class 4-6-0 No. 61209 on 16th July, 1961.  (P.H.Wells


The station opened on 2 October 1882. Marefield Junction was triangular and allowed through running north or south.


The main services from Leicester were to Peterborough and Grantham. The station was also well provided in summer with specials, especially to Skegness and Mablethorpe.

The Peterborough trains were stopped as a war economy in 1916. Local traffic was never heavy, and by 1950 there were only two Grantham trains remaining, one of which was a semi-fast with limited stops which connected with the Flying Scotsman at Grantham. This train was withdrawn in 1951, the remaining stopping train survived until the end of regular services over the joint line in 1953.

Summer specials continued to run until 1962, in the later years with severe speed restrictions on the Leicester branch.

1A Bank Holiday special nears John O’Gaunt behind an unknown B1 class 4-6-0 on 6th August, 1952.  (P.H.Wells


The line closed in 1962 but various depots continued in use for a few years using a reinstated connection with the Midland Railway which had last been used for materials delivery during construction. The last of these, Catherine Street oil depot, closed on 1 January 1969.

The Leicester station site has been since been developed as a supermarket and adjoining car park.

2The 1.00pm (S.O.) Belgrave Road to John O’Gaunt approaches Humberstone on 6th October, 1956.  The GNR picture is almost complete with the 0-6-0 and the somersault signal.  (G.D.King

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1899 – American 2-6-0 Midland Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1899 – American 2-6-0

Midland Railway

One of the Baldwin engines, MR 2506, later 2205, which was broken up in 1913.

About the turn of the 19th/20th century there was a considerable demand for more engines by many of the major companies which could not be immediately met either in their own workshops or by the various private firms of locomotive builders.  As a temporary expedient, therefore, three railways, namely the Midland, the Great Northern and the newly formed Great central, ordered some 2-6-0s from the Baldwin and Schenectady works of the USA, forty for the Midland Railway and twenty each for the other two lines.

Although of the same general design, they differed slightly in detail, some having two domes, as in the example illustrated above.  The 2-6-0 type, which had long been used in America, was almost, but not quite, new to this country, the Great Eastern having had some very unsuccessful examples built in 1878 to the design of W. Adams before he went to the LSWR; the small Midland and South Western Junction Railway also acquired two of an Australian design from Beyer Peacock in 1895-7, one of which later survived at a colliery in Northumberland until the 1940s.

The new 2-6-0s did not have a very long life on any of the three lines which acquired them, and all disappeared between 1909 and 1915.  They had several features, in particular the bar frames, which were common American practice but alien to the standards of this country.

The Midland engines, at first numbered 2501-40, became respectively 2200-9, 2230-9, and 2210-29 at the 1907 renumbering.

Driving wheels – 5’ 1½”,  Pony wheels – 3’ 0”,  Cylinders – 18”x 24”,  Pressure – 175 lb.,  Weight 45 tons.

No.2516 – Howden Boys Book of Locomotives, 1907

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1898 Ivatt 4-4-2T Great Northern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1898 Ivatt 4-4-2T

Great Northern Railway 

No.1529 as running in 1920 in war-time grey livery.

H.A.Ivatt’s first design of tank engines for the GNR suburban services.  Nos.1009,1010,1013-20 and 1501-20 were turned out in 1898-9, Nos.1521-30 in 1901, Nos1531-40 in 1903 and finally Nos.1541-50 in 1907.  Nos.1502 onwards were fitted with condensing apparatus and shorter chimneys for working over the Metropolitan lines, and spent most of their earlier lives in the London area.  From 1921 onwards, however, they were displaced by larger Ns Class 0-6-2Ts and sent to country branches, the condensing apparatus being in most cases removed, and some being fitted for pull-and-push working.

Their numbers were increased by 3000 at the grouping (the first engine had become No.1009A owing to the construction of a new No.1009 in 1920, and duly became No.4009A).  A few were scrapped in 1937-9, and those that remained were renumbered 7350-99 in 1946.  Most of these survived to become BR 67350-99, and the last of the class did not disappear until 1958.

Driving wheels – 5’ 8”,  Cylinders – 18”x 26”,  Pressure – 175 lb., Tractive effort – 18424 lb.,  Weight – 62 tons 6 cwt., LNER classification – C12,  BR classification – 2P

1505 – lner.info

Some early Lines – Stafford and Uttoxeter Railway

Stafford and Uttoxeter Railway



The North Staffordshire Railway opened its station at Uttoxeter in 1848, while the Shropshire Union Railways & Canal Co. opened its line to Wellington from Stafford in 1849, making the link between the two even more logical. Accordingly plans for the Stafford and Uttoxeter Railway were submitted in 1861.

In support of the line were the growing shoe-making industry in Stafford and the Leighton Ironworks in Uttoxeter, of the Bamford family, forebears of J.C.Bamford. The latter was destined to become one of the largest agricultural equipment maker in the country. Support came initially from the Shropshire Union Railway, for transport of cattle from Wales, but when it was taken over by the LNWR this was withdrawn, and the line was also opposed by the North Staffordshire. However the Royal Assent was given in 1862.

The Stafford and Uttoxeter Railway was created by Act of Parliament in 1862, to run between Stafford and Uttoxeter in Staffordshire, England.  It opened for traffic in 1867. It was nicknamed the Clog and Knocker.

Construction and operation

Construction began almost immediately. There were problems with the price of land and with labour. The contractors were Brassey and Field and by 1866 the cost had become £10,000 a mile. In addition there would need to be a tunnel at Bramshall and a major cutting at Hopton, the latter being 60 feet deep in solid rock.Hopton Cutting

Initially four stations were built, at Salt, Ingestre, Stowe and Grindley, substantial enough to last well into the 20th century.Stowe-by-Chartley Station

The line opened for general traffic in December 1867. It owned seven coaches, sixteen wagons and one goods van but, initially, no locomotive. Motive power line was provided by the contractors who had become shareholders in the company. Instead of booking office staff, tickets were sold on the train, and there was little in the way of telegraphic or signalling equipment. The first locomotive was a 2-4-0 tank engine supplied in 1868 by Beyer, Peacock and Co. and was named Shrewsbury and Talbot after a local landowner. By 1874, Stafford had expanded northwards and a new station was built at the Common, where there was horseracing, fares and agricultural showsIt was purchased for £100,000 by the Great Northern Railway in July 1881 as a means of reaching Wales. The latter thus gained a through route from Grantham via the Ambergate, Nottingham, Boston and Eastern Junction Railway and the GNR Derbyshire and Staffordshire Extension.  From Stafford it would reach Shrewsbury by the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Co. line which had opened in 1849 and continue over the Potteries, Shrewsbury and North Wales Railway. Passenger services ended on 4 December 1939.


After the war public freight services resumed until nationalisation in 1948, when the line became part of British Railways, Eastern Region passing to the Midland Region in 1950.

The line finally closed to all traffic, apart from the Air Ministry sidings, in 1951 and the stations were closed and the bulk of the signalling removed in 1953. The last train on the line was in 1957, a special organised by the Stephenson Locomotive Society. The track was lifted between 1957 and 1962.

The junction at the north end of Stafford station is still known as “Uttoxeter Line Junction Number 5”

The through line closed on 5 March 1951 a stub survived at Stafford to serve the RAF Stafford 16 Maintenance Unit, which closed on 1 December 1975.

Stafford and Uttoxeter Line.  Great Northern Railway


This was one of the lines under consideration as a running line for the West Midlands District of the Railway Preservation Society.

16 members of the West Midland District walked along the Great Northern Railway disused branch line from Chartley to Stafford on Sunday, 27th March 1960.  Members assembled at Stafford Station and were taken by car to Chartley.  Our President, Mr. C. E. Ives, although not being able to take part in the walk, very kindly took members to the starting point.  A considerable number of photographs were taken en route for record purposes, as demolition of this line had already begun.  Very keen interest was shown in station buildings at Chartley, Ingestre and Weston and Salt.  Hopton cutting was duly noted as a great work of civil engineering, a tribute to the railway navvies of the 1860s.  The walk finished at Stafford Common Station (part of which is still worked by BR) where a welcome cup of tea brewed by Mr. A. Holden was much appreciated by all.  A special note must be made concerning one of our very enthusiastic members, Vice President Mr. J. Strong of Hereford, who stayed overnight in Stafford in order to take part.

Stafford Common Station

Steam Locos of a more Leisurely Era – the Stirling Single

Taken from the Mercian of September 1971

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era

The Stirling Single

A.J. Louch

Wikipedia: GNR Stirling No.1 at Doncaster Works

Perhaps the outside cylinder 8ft single wheeler is the best known of Patrick Stirling’s locomotives.

When Stirling came to the Great Northern Railway in 1866, he found that many of the locomotives built by Sturrock were inadequate for the job and had put the railway in financial difficulties.  So, faced with lack of funds, he started to rebuild many of the old Sturrock locomotives.  How well he coped can be gauged by the earning of each engine.  In 1866, when he joined the Great Northern, there were some 400 locomotives earning £4,600 per engine per annum; seven years later the same engines were earning £5,600 per engine per annum.lner.info At Doncaster for 150 years celebration

The first 4-2-2 8ft single, No.1 was put into service in April 1870.  For a few months she was put under test to iron out any defects.  By autumn, the testing was complete and it was decided to build further locomotives.  These other locos were built one at a time, steadily improving the design.  It was not until 1877 that Stirling decided that a batch of eight engines were to be built over an eighteen month period.  Even then the design had not reached its peak and within two years of the batches starting, a new general arrangements drawing was required.

No.1 was far from satisfactory, the firebox casing was only 5ft 6ins long and the cylinders were 18 x 28 ins, there were relatively few boiler tubes numbering 175 and only 1⅝ ins in diameter.  The total heated surface was 968 sq ft of which the firebox was 92½ sq ft and a tube area of 875½ sq ft.  The bogie wheels for the front were 3ft 11 ins diameter and the trailing pair 4ft 1in in diameter.  The engine wheelbase was 6ft 6ins x 7ft 9ins x 8ft 8ins = 22ft 11ins in all.  The front bogie was of the rigid centre pin pattern and had no lateral movement, but the pin was placed just behind the centre line of the bogie, splitting it up into 3ft 6ins x 3ft.  The trailing pair of wheels had the effect of following the curves better with less tendency for the main frame to pull the bogie back towards the outside.  The pivot carried very little of the load which was carried on the two outside bearings.vintagegraphics.co.uk

In 1880, No.1 went into Doncaster for general repairs and it was here that many of the new modifications were made.  The boiler diameter was increased from 4ft 0½ in to 4ft 2ins working at a slightly higher pressure.  The tubes were increased to 180 and 1¾ ins diameter and 114 sq ft for the firebox giving a total of 1069.2 sq ft.  With the larger boiler, it was necessary to increase the trailing end from 8ft 8ins to 9ft.  The slots in the splashers were filled in and so subsequently were the other engines of the class.  No.1 also had its mainframe reinforced just above the cylinders, this also applied to many of the early engines of this class.  Later engines were equipped with deeper frames, thus eliminating this defect.No.667 at about the turn of the century 1900

In November 1895 Patrick Stirling died and was succeeded by Henry Alfred Ivatt.  Ivatt set to work at once re-boilering the Single Wheelers with domed boilers.  He also lengthened the cab roof to give the driver and fireman more protection.  The Single Wheelers ran right up to 1916 when the last one, No.1006, was scrapped.

Although I am a Great Western man myself (A.J.Louch), I cannot help but admire Stirling for such a handsome locomotive, which ran for a number of years after the Great Western had scrapped all theirs.  The simplicity of his design must make this one of the finest locomotives ever made.  It must have been a sight to see one of these locomotives at speed.  I only hope that perhaps one day No.1 which is now preserved at York, may steam again, so that we can all appreciate those fine lines.gcrailway.co.uk Passing Woodthorpe

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era – GNR Class C1

Taken from the Mercian July-Aug 1966 5.4

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – Casey Jones


The large boilered Atlantics of the Great Northern Railway were without a doubt one of the most outstanding machines to work on the East Coast main line.

Number 251 the doyen of the class emerged from Doncaster Works in 1902 to the design of Mr. Ivatt of CME.  It had a boiler 5’ 6” in diameter; the largest then fitted to a British locomotive, two cylinders 18¾” x 24”, 175lbs. pressure, a tractive effort of 15,690 lbs., and weighed 65½tons.   It had a stove pipe chimney and flat-sided firebox which were later replaced by the wider Wooton firebox and cast GNR chimney which gave later members of the class their typical looks.

At first the class did not come up to expectations and various experiments were tried in order to improve their performance.  Between 1905 and 1907 numbers292 and 1421 were rebuilt as four cylinder machines on the compound system.  They were then tested against No.1300, an ugly machine of similar design built by the Vulcan Foundry on the De Glehn system of compounding.  All three designs proved weak and all three locos were converted to two cylinder simple machines.  In 1910 numbers 1452-61 were fitted with 20”x 18” cylinders and 18 element superheaters.  These locos were an immediate success and superheaters were fitted to the remainder of the class.  The degree of superheat was stepped up during Gresley’s term of office to a 32 element superheater.  Gresley was also responsible for another interesting experiment applied to No.1419, this being a booster unit on the rear pony truck.  This booster increased the tractive effort up to 50%, and although it proved satisfactory in service, it was not perpetuated.Henry Oakley – Wikipedia

Altogether 94 of the class were built, and it is to their credit that they were entrusted with most of the crack high-speed trains out of King’s Cross between the Wars, in spite of the larger A3s.  It is in their Gresleyfied form that they achieved their real claim to fame during this period.  Although they were ageing at the outbreak of the Second World War they could still put up some fantastic performances with 15 and 20 coach trains.  However, age tells and the coming of the more modern B1 4-6-0s spelt the end of the line, thus when 62832 left Grantham for scrap in 1950 the last of the class disappeared from the chapters of history of the East Coast main line.

Later Years

They were eventually superseded on the heaviest trains by Gresley A1 Pacifics in the early 1920s. They continued to haul lighter expresses up until 1950, although this did include the Harrogate Pullman for a period during the 1920s and 1930s. They were often called upon to take over trains from failed Pacifics and put up some remarkable performances with loads far in excess of those they were designed to haul. One once took over the Flying Scotsman from a failed at Peterborough and not only made up time but arrived early.

Happily the prototype is preserved as number 251 in company with its equally famous forebear ‘Henry Oakley’, and has periodically been used for enthusiasts’ specials.

Original numbers were 251/72-301, 1300, 1400-61, later increased by 3xxx.  Numbers 4300 scrapped 1924, 3292 in 1927.  Survivors became BR’s 62800-91 and withdrawn between 1943 and 1950.Peter Langsdale