Sunday, 15 April 2018

Clifton, Wilford and Meadows (i.e. a P.P.S.)

Yesterday Was a Splendid Day...
... but did become a bit of a nightmare when Mrs fbb dug out the dreaded wedding photos!
But back to Wilford we must go. Historically the community was linked to Nottingham by a ferry ...
... which dates back 400 years. Wilford has a Ferry Inn ...
... near where the Main Street peters out. It was once a farmhouse, briefly a coffee shop in the eighteenth century with its present name being of dubious origin and probably more recent than the ferry which ended in the late 1860s. Usually a "Ferry Inn" is located at the ferry slipway but this one is some distance inland, despite the implications of the pub sign!
Perhaps it should be renamed "The Tramway" (station, poles and overhead seen centre right).
Names are a funny things and it often comes as a surprise to learn that Wilford Suspension Bridge ...
... connects Meadows with West Bridgford and not Wilford.
It is not a public right of way and is owned by the Severn Trent Water Company as it was built to carry a large water main over the river. It opened in 1906 - a veritable newcomer to the Wilford Bridge collection!

It lies downstream of the Wilford Toll Bridge and close to the famous Trent Bridge of, amongst other things, Notts County Cricket fame. There it is, next to the County Hall ...
... seen (thanks to Google) from the suspension bridge.

Between "Toll" and "Suspension", in date order as well as river order, was the third Wilford Bridge completed in about 1895.
It carried the original (and best) "High Speed 0" railway line, The Great Central Railway, en route from Sheffield via Nottingham. Loughborough, Leicester and Rugby fast to London.

Almost all evidence of the GC has been expunged from the City of Nottingham including the bridge which was demolished in the late 1960s (?).

The line then ran south, passing Wilford on its western side, but on an embankment.
Even the embankment has gone because the tram to South Clifton now uses the flattened ex-embankment.
After crossing the former toll bridge the tram executes a neat wiggle to join the route of the GCR. The track is now at ground level as it crosses Wilford Lane.
Ditto at Compton Acres tram stop where there is no road access.
Just after the Ruddington Lane stop, the tram veers right to Clifton waving a fond farewell to the former "proper" railway and, soon, you come to a piece of the GC that remains, namely the northern terminus of the Great Central Railway (Nottingham).
This is soon to be joined to the Leicester to Lougbborough Central bit by a bridge over the Midland Main line just south of Loughborough Station.
This replaces the original bridge which, like much of the GC, was demolished.
The new bridge was very visible when fbb travelled from Leicester to Sheffield and back on the Friday of his Grand Tour.
Sadly, this conjoined heritage line will never reach Nottingham or Leicester, but the two bits will make a superb length of preserved "Main Line" for visitors to enjoy.

Until all is joined up there is a ride on the tram to Clifton South to enjoy and at least a bit of the route remembers the glory days of the Great Central railway.

Tomorrow, another tram!

 Next Grand Tour blog : Monday 16th April 

1 comment:

  1. Actually, some of the GCR embankment *is* still there. After the wiggle at Wilford, the tram is running to the east of the embankment - there is still a bridge under it, giving access to a path that runs to the south of Vernon Avenue. The tram thus runs parallel to the GCR route, until just north of Wilford Lane tram stop, where it is indeed on the GCR alignment.