Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Before the Big 4 (1) : North Staffordshire Railway

We begin our series exploring some of the railway companies which flourished before the 1923 grouping into the "Big 4", see the introduction for a brief history of why the grouping took place.

The North Staffordshire Railway was formed in 1845 and operated a number of lines in the Potteries and North Staffordshire based around Stoke-on-Trent. The railways were fast growing in Staffordshire (as in most places) in the 1840s though no lines existed in the Potteries. The North Staffordshire Railway was formed from two smaller projects to build railways in the area. Acts of Parliament were granted and money raised, work to build the railways began in 1846.

Freight and passenger services began in 1848 with the first train running from a temporary station in Stoke to Norton Bridge where the railway was connected to the much larger London North Western Railway. The NSR opened it's permanent station at Stoke-on-Trent later that year, it was to become the railway's headquarters. All of the lines specified in the Acts of Parliament were open by 1852.

The NSR grew it's network with a total route mileage of 221, making it one of the top twenty railway companies by route mileage - just! The NSR served towns such as Crewe, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Congleton, Tutbury, Keele and Kidsgrove.

Unlike other railway companies the size of the NSR it never amalgamated with larger players (until 1923). The LNWR tried a few times though approaches were resisted. The NSR was eventually absorbed into the LMS along with the LNWR, Midland Railway and a number of other companies.

Two NSR locomotives have been preserved, a battery electric shunter and a New L Class steam locomotive - one of the last locomotives built for the company, indeed it did not enter service until after the NSR had ceased to exist.
Battery electric shunter at the National Railway Museum

NSR No. 2 at the Foxfield Railway

Stoke-on-Trent railway station

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Happy in Hereford

Yesterday I went to Hereford, somewhere I have been before but I always wonder why I do not go more regularly as it is a very fine city, with very rich ecclesiastical architectural treasures. I managed to hunt down no fewer than four parish churches, plus the lovely cathedral of course. I was also able to update my images of the railway station. You can see my photos here.

Friday, 31 July 2020

Churches (70) : St Mary, Aylesbury

The parish church of St Mary in Aylesbury dates from around the start of the 13th century though there is evidence of an earlier church of Saxon origin on the site. Like many churches it has been substantially changed over the following centuries. A lady chapel was added in the 14th century, a clerestory in the 15th. The church was also extended at this time. The tower was topped with a spire in the 17th century.

By the 19th century the church was in a poor state and in need of renovation, it was even feared it was near collapse. Restoration under the guidance of Sir George Gilbert Scott took place in the mid-19th century and the church was given a distinctive Victorian feel.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Model Week : Weathering

I've begun to look into weathering some of the rolling stock. This is something i have attempted before, with varying degrees of awfulness, so i have decided to start on some of the lesser used wagons to practice and learn techniques before i move onto the locomotives (if ever!) This wagon had also had some weight added to it, hopefully this will reduce the wobble when it moves on the layout!