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Coventry's first railway 1838

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Midland Red

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1 of 6  Thu 26th Nov 2015 4:24pm  
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According to "Warwickshire Railways", Coventry Station opened to passengers on 9 April 1838. A few weeks earlier, on 23 February 1838, The Coventry Standard reported: We understand that a steamer, with four travelling carriages, arrived at the Coventry Station of the London and Birmingham Railway, yesterday, from Birmingham, about 12 o’clock, and immediately returned. Some of the Directors and their friends occupied the carriages. On 23 March 1838, The Coventry Herald reported: The London and Birmingham Railroad, — A train, consisting of five carriages, arrived at the Coventry Station about half-past two o'clock on Monday last, on a trip from Birmingham to Rugby. This is the first time that the entire line so far has been traversed. A considerable number of persons began to assemble as early as ten o'clock in the morning, to await the arrival of the train, and though many became tired and retired, a large concourse had taken up and retained their standings on the bridges and along the line for some distance, when the machinery made its appearance. The delay, however, we presume might be easily accounted for, from the fact that the journey was undertaken rather for purposes of inspection than as an experiment at speed. After waiting about a quarter an hour, the train went forward under a cheer from the spectators. We understand that the London and Birmingham Railway Company have given notice to Messrs. Chaplin and Co., (who are to convey passengers by coaches between Denbigh Hall and Rugby) to have their horses and carriages in readiness on the 9th of April; but that it is more probable that the day of opening will Easter Monday, the 16th of April.
Coventry's first railway 1838
Midland Red

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2 of 6  Thu 26th Nov 2015 5:37pm  
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Coventry Herald - Friday 13 April 1838 COMMERCE, AGRICULTURE, &c. FURTHER OPENING OF THE London & Birmingham Railway. (From the Sun of Tuesday.) Considerable progress has been made in this most important undertaking since the opening of the first portion of the line from London to Tring, a distance of thirty-one and a half miles. Yesterday morning a further portion, to Denbigh Hall, making in all forty-eight miles from London, was for the first time opened to the public, and a great number of persons prompted by curiosity or led by business, started with the half-past seven o'clock train, from the station at Euston-square. At this terminus the entrance gates, and other buildings connected with the depot, have progressed very rapidly since our last notice, and when completed they will present a very elegant and appropriate appearance. The police arrangements, as indeed is the case with all the Railway lines which have hitherto been opened, are excellent, and tend to much to the security and comfort of the passengers. At few minutes after the time appointed, the train, which was of great length, left the station, and proceeded at a very rapid rate up the inclined plane. The delay in attaching the rope is much less than at the outset, and the plan is, we understand, found to work extremely well. The carriages have lamps affixed to obviate the inconvenience arising from passing through the tunnels. We may observe here that much has been said of the nuisance of tunnels, but it appeared to us that, with the exception of the temporary darkness, and a slight change in the temperature, not very remarkable at this season, we did not observe anything to which the most fastidious or delicate traveller could object. After passing under the Edgware-road at Kilburn, the line proceeds along Kensal-green, between which and Wormwood Scrubbs, a second short tunnel occurs. From this to the first station at Harrow, the traveller proceeds through the diversified and richly cultivated landscape which the immediate neighbourhood of the metropolis presents. Having passed the next station, the great Watford Tunnel with lofty shafts appears in view. This tunnel is nearly a mile length, and is one of the most extraordinary efforts of engineering skill that can be imagined. The average time occupied passing through is 2½ minutes. The train arrived at Tring, the former temporary terminus of the line, at half-past nine, having performed the distance in somewhat less than two hours. From this point the line inclines more to the northward, leaving Cheddington and Mentimore [sic] to the left. The first three or four miles of the new portion is carried by cuttings to a considerable depth through loose sandy soil, and thence along a rich agricultural valley to Leighton Buzzard, which it leaves about half a mile to the right. At this station there is another tunnel of nearly a furlong in length, being the only one which occurs on the newly-opened portion of the line. The present terminus at Denbigh Hall, little hamlet about two miles beyond Fenny Stratford, on the high road to Stoney Stratford, which is here crossed at an elevation of about 30 feet, by a lofty and elegant viaduct. The train reached Denbigh Hall at 25 minutes past ten—the last stage, 16½ miles long, having been accomplished in 50 minutes. The day was uncommonly fine, and along the line, particularly the newly-opened portion, the crowds were immense, every village and hamlet pouring out its inhabitants, who greeted the novel and extraordinary visitor as it passed along with loud cheering. At Denbigh Hall the whole population of the surrounding districts appeared to have congregated, and, in default of better accommodation, there being no regular inn or hotel in the neighbourhood, the itinerant vendors of sandwiches, rolls, pies, and other dainties, reaped an abundant harvest. A large tent was erected close to the station in the event of unfavourable weather, and here the passengers for Birmingham were transferred to coaches and other vehicles, which had been provided for that purpose. to be continued
Coventry's first railway 1838
Midland Red

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3 of 6  Thu 26th Nov 2015 5:42pm  
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BIRMINGHAM, Monday Morning. The opening of this great line of Railway communication from Birmingham to the metropolis, took place this day at nine o'clock, a.m. Although the line may now be said to open, there still remains a distance of 37 miles, from Rugby to Denbigh Hall, unfinished, over which passengers and their luggage are conveyed by coaches altogether under the control and direction of the Railway Company. The intermediate coaching distance will, it is expected, gradually diminish as the works advance, till the whole line is completed, when perfect railway communication, with its numerous tributary branches, north and south, will extend from one side of the island to the other, thus bringing within ten hours' travel, & connecting two of the greatest sea-ports in the world. Although the road between Birmingham and Rugby on the one side, and London and Denbigh Hall the other, may now be said to be in the most complete working order, still there are many parts of the line, as regards embellishments and erections, unfinished, particularly at the Birmingham end. The buildings in course of erection at the point where the Grand Junction and Birmingham and London meet, are on a truly magnificent and extensive scale, and when finished will cover an area of about twenty acres of ground. This, however, will comprise a spacious enclosed yard and stores for warehousing goods, a large engine house, capable of holding sixteen engines, with their tenders. At the entrances to this building are two immense tanks, which, when filled, contain 200 tons of water, supplied by the Birmingham Waterworks Company. There is likewise on this area a beautiful range of booking-offices, with separate waiting-rooms at either end for the passengers by the first and second class carriages. In addition to these buildings there is a noble edifice in course of erection at the main entrance to the station, intended as a general office for the meetings of the Directors, and a suite of rooms on the ground floor, which is set apart for refreshments, supplied to the passengers by Mr. Dee, of the Royal Hotel. One of the most striking features of the grand station is the magnificent shedding, supported by elegant pillars, erected by Mr. Bramah, the extreme lightness and beauty of which excites general admiration. It is capable of covering not less than sixty carriages, and is built on the same plan as that at the Euston-square terminus, but is much more spacious. The Commissioners of Birmingham intend to clear away several of the narrow and filthy streets in the immediate neighbourhood of the station, forming a grand thoroughfare to the centre of the town, and from the spirit with which the plan is taken up, there is every reason to believe that will be conceived and executed in a spirit worthy of the body with which it originates, and the great undertaking which called it into existence. To work the seventy miles of road now opened, the Company have already at their command about twenty-six powerful engines, a supply of steam power which, there is little reason to doubt, will obviate much of that inconvenience, and prevent many of those accidents which have marked the working of the Grand Junction line. Availing themselves of the hints which these mishaps have suggested, the Directors have likewise a numerous and effective body of police, who are placed under the direction of an active, experienced, and intelligent superintendent. The men on this establishment have been carefully selected—they are dressed in a green uniform, and are placed along the whole extent of line, almost within hail of each other, so that the slightest obstruction on the rails is immediately detected, and should accident or interruption occur to the trains passing up or down, the intelligence can be conveyed to the next station with a rapidity outstripping even the powers of steam. to be continued
Coventry's first railway 1838
Midland Red

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4 of 6  Thu 26th Nov 2015 5:43pm  
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The first train started precisely three minutes past nine, (London time,) and as it cleared the station, was greeted with hearty cheers by immense crowds of persons who had assembled on every point which could command a view of its progress. At thirteen minutes past nine the train passed the Yardley viaducts, moving through a beautiful country at a rapid rate—this portion of the line being an inclination of 1 in 300 inches. Soon after leaving Yardley, a passing view of the village and church of Coleshill was afforded to the left, while the village of Sheldon lay in the valley on the other side. After leaving Sheldon, the train passes Packington, the seat of the Earl of Aylesford. At twenty-two minutes past nine, the train crossed under the Coventry turnpike-road, having now accomplished about eight miles of the journey, at the rate of four-and-twenty miles an hour. Passing Bickenhill, which lies to the right, a momentary view is obtained of the spire of the Church, as also of the village of Hampton-in-Arden. After passing this point, a distant view of the village of Meriden, on a pleasant hill, is obtained to the left, with Barston on the right. The long embankment of about two miles, after passing Hampton-in-Arden, though still on an inclined plane, was crossed with much caution. On reaching the deep cutting at the village of Berkswell, the speed was considerably increased, previous to arriving at which the nearest turnpike-road to Kenilworth is passed, the village, with its celebrated ruins, lying about five miles to the right. After leaving this point the train proceeds through fertile pastures and well-wooded land. As it approached Coventry numbers of persons lined the embankments on both sides of the road, and the various bridges crossing the line, and the train reached the station, eighteen and quarter miles from Birmingham, precisely in fifty minutes. The station lies to the south side, about quarter of a mile from the town, at which the train remained six minutes to set down and take up passengers, after which it proceeded on its journey to Rugby. Every elevated point, for two or three miles, from which a view could be obtained, was crowded by multitudes of spectators. The works seem to be progressing rapidly at this portion of the line, where great difficulties had to be overcome, if we might judge from the great depth of the cuttings, and the rocky nature of the ground through which the line runs. From Coventry to Rugby few points of attraction presented themselves to the eye of the traveller—" town, village—none are on his track." The general aspect of the country, however, with its rich pasture and undulating land, presents a most pleasing feature. At 32 minutes past ten the train reached Rugby, at which place omnibuses and coaches were provided for conveying the passengers to Denbigh Hall. Here there was necessarily some delay removing the luggage, &c.; but the whole time did not exceed twenty minutes. The ground being extremely heavy, it required six or eight horses to pull some of the coaches; and the fourth coach was about to start, the nave broke, which caused some unexpected delay. The coaches reached Denbigh Hall at a few minutes past three, and the passengers having been previously provided with tickets, took their seats in the railway carriages. A further stoppage was then occasioned by the non-arrival of the luggage van, and it was ten minutes past four, instead of half-past two o'clock, when the train carriages left Denbigh Hall, for London. The journey to Euston-square was completed in two hours and twelve minutes, including a stoppage of a few minutes at Tring and Watford. This gives an average speed of 23 miles per hour for the whole journey! The crowds at the different stations were still greater than in the morning, and such was the anxiety of persons living in the immediate neighbourhood of Tring and Denbigh to try this new and expeditious mode of conveyance, that it was found necessary to attach an extra train of carriages. On a great portion of the line we observed that the granite blocks upon which the rails rest are placed diamond-wise ; thus giving the greatest support to the rail which the blocks can afford. Over the embankments where the ground is not as yet sufficiently firm, instead of granite blocks the rails are supported by square blocks of wood, which run across the entire breadth of the line. One peculiarity in the London and Birmingham Railway is that the whole line is fenced in, and a kind of telegraphic communication by means of flags is kept up, by which the different trains are immediately apprized of any obstruction. It is confidently stated that the entire line will be opened by the middle of June. We fear that without some extraordinary exertions, on the part of the Directors, this will not be practicable. Let the Company, however, avail themselves of the present fine weather, and by onlays of workmen, night and day, there is little doubt that the remaining portion the line may be completed within that period. Within a very short time the line might by this means be extended to the point where it crosses the high road, three or four miles to the right of Daventry—the intermediate distance of two miles to Rugby being accomplished by coaches. Birmingham would thus be brought within 6 or 6½ hours, and Liverpool and Manchester 11 hours' ride of the metropolis. We would also suggest to the Company the propriety of lighting the tunnels on the line with gas, as has been done on the Liverpool and Manchester line.
Coventry's first railway 1838
Midland Red

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5 of 6  Thu 26th Nov 2015 5:57pm  
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Coventry Herald - Friday 13 April 1838 THE RAILWAY. In another part of our paper will found full and interesting particulars of the opening of the London and Birmingham Railway, on Monday last, the 9th of April. In addition to these particulars we may observe that the curiosity of the inhabitants of Coventry and its vicinity to witness this additional feature in the new era travelling, was most intense on the occasion ; for from the immense number of persons collected along all parts of the line, the day appeared to have been made an universal holiday. For an hour or two before the arrival of the first train, every eligible position for obtaining a view of the road was taken up by multitudes, anxious to obtain for the first time in their lives a glance at this novel, self-moving, but huge apparatus. At about five minutes before ten, the first train from Birmingham made its appearance, and the brilliant style in which it went along, gliding with the ease and velocity as it were on a sea of glass, elicited admiring bursts of applause from the crowds of spectators assembled to form a first opinion on travelling by steam. As it approached the station, within the distance of a few yards the pace gradually slackened, and finally stopped for the exchange of passengers, which occupied about six or eight minutes, and the train proceeded forward to Rugby. Another train arrived from Birmingham at a few minutes before two o'clock ; and at about a quarter-past four the first train from London made its appearance, heavily loaded. It will be observed that this was considerably beyond the time at which they were expected ; but the delay is accounted for by the loss of time in the repeated changings of passengers and luggage from the trains to coaches, and from coaches to trains, for the distance from Denbigh Hall to Rugby. The distances, where no such process was required, were performed with an extraordinary punctuality to the regulated time for starting and arrival, especially when it is considered to have been the first day's business on the line. The train from London to Birmingham reached the Coventry station a little after nine in the evening. The day being fine, was in perfect keeping with the temper of the spectators, and the scene was altogether cheerful and animated. Some temporary erections for the supply of eatables, and to meet the demands of the thirsty, were set up on the turnpike road near the station ; but with one exception—the occupation of a workshop by the landlord of the "Albion Tavern"—nothing of the sort was permitted on the Company's line. Some of the workmen turned the opportunity to considerable advantage, by letting standings at the “low charge of twopence,” on the top of some buildings near the station, commanding a good view of the trains as they approached and left their destination—a chance of which great numbers availed themselves, willingly handing out their coppers. So far as we have to speak of the business connected with keeping the line, the transfer of passengers and luggage to and from the different Inns in this City, for which several elegant new-built omnibuses are always in readiness, nothing could exceed the quiet order, and dispatch with which the whole appeared to be conducted ; and on the whole there can be no doubt that the impression caused by the entire scene was decidedly favourable.
Coventry's first railway 1838
DBC
Nottinghamshire
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6 of 6  Mon 30th Nov 2015 1:12pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:171

What goes around comes around. The original Birmingham station was located in Curzon Street. That site, including remnants of the original station building will be the location of the Birmingham HS2 station. There are some artists impressions of this new station in the latest edition of Modern Railways. Edited by member, 30th Nov 2015 1:17 pm
Coventry's first railway 1838

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