Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts


Posted in Great Britain, Infrastructure by Chairman Pip on 11 April 2010

The development of the railway network in Great Britain can be described as “bitty”. The railways were built each by many different companies, each building their own bits of infrastructure to their own destinations. Of course, in a place as small as Great Britain, invariably places will be served by more than one railway route, and each company will build its own station. So it was that many major cities and towns had more than one major railway station. This is still the case in some cities – London is the obvious one, but Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow are still served by more than one major terminus. However, the “Beeching Axe” saw many of these routes, and thus many of these major stations, closed and removed. The example that I will look at here is Nottingham Victoria. Opened in 1900 by the Great Central Railway, which was the last major railway company to build a main line from London. A three storey building in rennaissance style, it was dominated by a large clock tower and was built in striking red brick. As a through station, it had two large island platforms, with each island having a pair of bay platforms for local trains at each end, giving a total of twelve platform faces. As with all major stations, Victoria was built with an attached railway hotel, with similar architecture to the station itself.

Nottingham Victoria Station

Victoria as built

Unfortunately, by the time the Great Central was open, its competitors had been running for many years, and so it was unable to carve out a major slice of the market. During the grouping of 1923, it became part of the LNER, following which services along the route were gradually run down. Services from London north of Nottingham ended in 1960, and to Nottingham in 1966. Nottingham Victoria itself closed completely in 1967, following which it was demolished to make way for the Victoria Centre, with the only parts remaining being the clock tower and the railway hotel.

Clock Tower and Hotel

The last remaining parts of Nottingham Victoria


Not only did the station disappear, but also much of the infrastructure associated with it, including the viaduct that took the Great Central over the Midland Railway‘s station, Nottingham Midland. This was the case in many cities around the country, but of course the removal of such infrastructure means that it is no longer available for any further use. So, when any new proposal, such as Nottingham Express Transit, that could potentially have use dsuch disused infrastructure, tough. This is a shame, because, given the presence of the Robin Hood Line, it might have been more adventageous to have had the tram line following the Great Central route and serving the Victoria Centre, which is a major retail area and exactly the kind of service that the tram would have been ideal to serve.

“Nottingham Victoria station”


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