The first railway to reach the Metropolis was the London and Birmingham Railway. It opened its terminus, ...
For departing trains it was more tricky. Coaches had to be manhandled round the curves at the station throat, then attached to the continuous rope using a "messenger", a length of chain or cable. The platform staff then used a telegraph system to alert the winding house and the train was hauled up the hill. At the top a locomotive was attached and the passengers could wend their merry way northwards.
Apart from the distinctive slender chimneys, a tourist attraction of the day, the works at the winding house were all buried in vaults below the main lines. These catacombs still remain although not open to the public. They are "listed" and in good condition but subject to flooding from the canal.
here. Well worth a read.
A final fascinating factoid. Just off Gloucester Avenue, tucked behind a block of flats and on the edge of the main line tracks, is this:-
So as you speed out of Euston, electrically powered with not a sign of stress as the hill is climbed, give a thought to the technology used for just seven short years as the pioneer line opened. Or you might ride behind a preserved steam loco and experience the roar of the exhaust as the monster at the front hauls its load up the challenging slope of Camden Bank.
Tailpiece. On the engraving of the winding house chimneys etc. above, look closely and you will see Chalk Farm Tavern labelled (far left), then isolated in open country. The pub later moved about 100 yards along the road but the (second) building still exists, now a restaurant but, of course, no longer surrounded by peaceful open country.
Next blog : due Tuesday August 30th