Sunday 20 May 2012

Southampton to York : Then and Now [2]

Pleasantly Rounded Gentleman [PRG] does it in 1903 ...
... using his copy of the Midland Railway Timetable, which helpfully lists through and connecting services to other company's destinations, as shown in the extract below.
In 2012 fbb takes approx 5 hours for a Cross Country Trains journey from Southampton Central to York. In 1903 PRG would be travelling for 7 hours and 40 minutes on the "direct route" via Cheltenham departing at 1025; that seems amazingly fast for the time, especially when compared with ten hours for the 0730 departure!

He may well begin his journey at Southampton Docks Station ...
Such a facility, close (ish) to ferries from the Island, is not available to fbb in 2012 although the original building still stands. It's a Casino!
The busy station that lay beyond (subsequently renamed Southampton Terminus) ...
... has all but disappeared, leaving just a few chunks of overall roof. fbb leaves from Southampton Central, then named Southampton West.
Our historical PRG then travels via Cheltenham to join the Midland Railway's main line route through Birmingham, Derby and Sheffield. Birmingham New Street Station looks very different today from the early 1900s shot ...
... and plans for a major rebuild are currently in hand. This somewhat over optimistic video of a near deserted rebuilt station looks really superb (view here) but perhaps the reality may not quite so slick in practice! An interesting piece of railway trivia:- the station was, until rebuilt in its current from, split into two separate halves by a public road passing under some of the station facilities as seen in this 1950s map extract.
This picture looks east towards St Martins Church.
That must have been fun for those trying to manage the station!

Derby Station has changed a bit since this 1903 print!
The latest development has been a complete rebuild of the platform area with footbridge link to Pride Park, off the the right of this aerial view.
And so we travel on to Sheffield which lost its overall roof in the early 1950s ...
... and where the "porte cochère" (familiar to PRG when he joins his carriage en route to a House Party at Chatsworth) ...
has recently been fully enclosed and incorporated into a much larger retail and ticket sales area.
Our PRG wends his weary 1903 way to York station which, pleasurably, retains much of its Victorian grandeur and glory ...
... although it has lost the centre track and the scissors crossover shown here.

By now in 2012 fbb, Mrs and friends Julia and David are happily settled in their B&B. See Southampton to York : Then and Now [1] (read again). Today (Sunday) they will not have been woken by the first Transpennine train of the day. That delight must wait until Monday morning at 0630 when the 0628 to Scarborough growls past.
Tomorrow, a report on the fbb party's journey from Southampton to York; but via Basingstoke, Reading and Oxford. Much has changed in the century of railway development since the journey from the Midland Railway facsimile timetable.

The big questions, as ever, are:- It is better in 2012?; Is it worse in 2012?; or is it just different? and will it be on time?

 Next Blog : Monday 22nd May 


  1. Impressive fly through of a new Birmingham New Street. I agree with many of the comments on the YouTube site. All white paint and subterranean platforms. Will there be extra tracks to relieve the operational capacity constraints? And, to me it looks as though one could avoid the ticket gateline by taking a lift straight to the platforms. That will have to change!

    But even if it still doesn't look like a railway station from the outside, nor feel like a station inside, it must surely be better than the current arrangement.

  2. The current lifts at New Street are outside the barrier line - they emerge on the opposite side of the concourse. Indeed, I get the impression from the video that they will remain in the same position.

    Intriguing that the overhead wires for the tram are shown, but none for the trains.