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Midland Railway, Cheshire

Historical Description

Midland Railway, a railway system passing from London, through the midland counties, to Carlisle in the north and also extending from Birmingham, through Cheltenham, to Bristol and Bath in the west, with an extension to Bournemouth by the L. & S.W.R. and M.R. Joint line. From London the main line runs northwards via Bedford, Ketter-ing, Leicester, Trent, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Normanton, Leeds, Keighley Skipton, and Settle to Carlisle. North of Kettering a loop-line strikes off through Melton and Nottingham, rejoining the main line N of Trent Junction. There are important branches from Bedford to Hitchin, from Kettering to Huntingdon, from Leicester via Saxby and Stanford to Peterborough, and thence over the M. R. and G.N.R. Joint line to Lynn; but the more direct route to Lynn from Saxby is by the line opened in 1893 to Bourn and thence by the joint line via Spalding. From Trent a line runs via Nottingham to Newark, Lincoln, and Mansfield. On the W side of the main line there are branches from Bedford to Northampton, from Leicester to Rugby, and an important branch runs from Trent to Derby and Manchester, with connections with Bnx-ton and also with Stockport, thus giving access to the Lancashire towns and an alternative route to the north, rejoining the main line at Hellifield. From Settle there is a branch to Lancaster and Morecambe. From Derby a very important line runs S via Barton, Birmingham, Worcester, Cheltenham, and Gloucester to Bristol and Bath, whence the M.R. and L. & S.W.R. Joint line goes on to Bournemouth. In addition to the above lines there are minor branches and cross-country lines in many places; these are especially numerous in Leicestershire, Derbyshire, and Nottinghamshire. There is a detached line in Herefordshire, and the company has a joint interest in the Cheshire lines. It was constituted in 1844 by amalgamation of the Birmingham and Derby, the Midland Counties, and the North Midland; it extended then only from Birmingham to Leeds, with a fork branch to the North-Western at Hampton, and had a total length of only 181½ miles. It afterwards acquired, by issue of guaranteed shares, the Bristol and Gloucester and the Birmingham and Gloucester, the Sheffield and Rotherham, the Leicester and Swannington, and the Leeds and Bradford; it likewise expanded by the extensions of the Syston and Peterborough, the Nottingham and Lincoln and Southwell, the branchings of the Leicester and Swannington, the Erewash Valley, the Nottingham and Mansfield, and the Mansfield and Pinxton; and in 1853-58 it was extended in a director line toward London from Leicester to the Great Northern at Hitchin, with a branch to the Wellingborough station of the North-Western. The company was authorized in 1859 to extend the Erewash Valley line to Clay Cross on the main line; in 1860 to construct a line from Eowsley to Buxton, and to construct a station in St Pancras parish, London; in 1861 to construct eight new lines or branches, including one from the Tame Valley at Shustoke to the South Leicestershire at Nuneaton, one from Ashchurch to Evesham on the West Midland, one from the Midland main line near Worcester to the Tewkes-bnry branch, one from the Erewash Valley at Blackwell to Feversham, and one from the Midland at Beighton to Aston on the. Manchester and Sheffield, and to construct a line, in extension of the Leeds and Bradford to Otley and Ilkley; in 1862 to extend the Eowsley and Buxton into connection with the Marple and New Mills, giving access to Manchester; in 1863 to construct a line from Bedford to London, and to construct a connecting link with the Bristol and Exeter; in 1864 to construct a line from Mangotsfield to Bath and Thornbury, and to construct a line from Chesterfield to Sheffield; in 1865 to construct a line from Mansfield to Southwell and Worksop; and in 1866 to construct a line from Settle to Carlisle. This great feat of modern railway engineering was completed in 1875 at a cost of £4,000,000, and provided a through main line for the Scotch expresses. The completion in 1879 of the M.R. and N.E.E. Joint line from Swinton to Knottingley provided through communication between the NE and SW of England over these companies' lines, and the Dore and Chinley line, opened in 1894 (cost £1,250,000), provided a new means of communication between Sheffield and Manchester. The company now owns upwards of 1400 miles of lines, and partly owns 500 additional miles. Its authorized capital exceeds £102,000,000, and its annual revenue is nearly £10,000,000. It owns upwards of 220 locomotives, 117,000 carriages, vans, and waggons, and' employs upwards of 53,000 persons. The head offices are at Derby, where the locomotive and carriage works are situated-an enormous establishment, covering 200 acres. The London terminus is at St Pancras, the magnificent span of whose single arch (960 feet X 243) covers four platforms and eleven lines of rails.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Cheshire is available to browse.


Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Cheshire papers online: