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Welwyn Garden City
Authors: G. & S. Woodward
Published: 1977 by The Oakwood Press
Format: Paperback 8½" by 5½" with 72 pages
Chapter One - History
Following the opening in 1838 of the London-Birmingham Railway, which passed through Leighton, George and Robert Stephenson proposed a branch line from Leighton to Dunstable and Luton. However, it was not until 1855 that an Act was passed for the construction of a line connecting the L.N.W.R at Dunstable with the G.N.R at Digswell where there would be a triangular junction, and a bridge to carry the line over to the Welwyn-Hertford line which had been approved by an Act in 1854.
The chapter continues with much detail about the construction of the line.
Chapter Two - Route
This very interesting chapter describes in detail the route followed by the line from Hatfield right through to Leighton Buzzard Station.
The chapter continues with details of the route, well-illustrated by 9 junction layout plans.
Chapter Three - Signalling
Chapter Four - Timetables and Trains
This chapter describes in detail the services run on the line, and is illustrated by actual timetables from 1864, 1881, 1920, and 1963
Chapter Five - Travellers and Traffic
This chapter gives many interesting anecdotes about the various users of the line, from George Bernard Shaw's trips from Ayot to London, to industrial uses:
. . . . . During the Second World War steel sheets were made at Jack Olding’s works at Hatfield, at which Station they were loaded onto the railway and taken to Vauxhall for war vehicle production. In all 24,900 trucks, 5,640 tanks and 2,448 cars were made for the Ministry of Supply, many of which were transported by rail. A large number of tanks were taken as far as Ayot before going on by road to the Tank Corps at Hatfield House . . . . .
Chapter Six - Accidents and Incidents
Chapter Seven - Staff
Chapter Eight - After Closure
This chapter describes the dismantling of the line after it closed in 1966:
Apart from the track layouts and timetables, the book
is illustrated with 25 black-and-white photographs on glossy paper:
Ticket for the Ladies' Tent at
the ceremony of turning the first sod of the Luton, Dunstable & Welwyn
Welwyn Garden City Station on 23 April, 1921 (K. S. Ladbury)