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Welwyn Garden City
A History of the Great Northern Line from 1850 to 1986
Authors: Revd. Tom W. Gladwin, Peter W. Neville, Douglas E. White.
Published: 1986 by Castlemead Publications, Ware
Format: Hardback 8¾" by 10¾" with 120 pages
From the dust-jacket flaps
This book is a history of the Great Northern, from its inception in 1850 to the present day. The history is depicted in microcosm, using the five-mile stretch of double track between Welwyn Garden City and Woolmer Green. This unique bottle-neck on the East Coast Main Line has been coped with by clever management of train movements, signalling, more powerful locomotives which reduced the number of freight journeys and with increased speeds.
This section of the GN is a living museum of the best in Victorian design and engineering skills exemplified in Digswell Viaduct and Welwyn North's 'italianate' station.
The authors describe in detail the history of the railway in this attractive and largely unspoiled part of Hertfordshire but cover also the overall development of the line from its early construction, through to its heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and its rationalisation and modernisation in recent times. They describe the creation of branch lines, of goods and coal yards, cattle and sheep pens, movements of parcels, coal, minerals and grain, all commonplace up to the 1940s. Then the transformations made at the coming of age of the motor car and road transport into the ever-faster and more distant commuter services and the high-speed long distance passenger services. All these developments and their effects on a local station and services are fully described.
Other chapters provide detailed accounts of Motive Power, Coaching Stock, Accidents, Fares and Tickets as well as Populations and Passengers. The whole supported by a variety of tables with examples of timetables through the years in the appendices.
120 pages containing 8 colour plates, 71 photographs, 8 line diagrams and drawings and 2 maps. A construction plan of Digswell Viaduct dated 1864 is included in the form of a throwout.
The Revd. Tom W. Gladwin
A systems analyst by profession, he was ordained priest in 1982. Better known as a naturalist being co-author of The Birds of Hertfordshire, he is a familiar figure on Welwyn North station where, since boyhood, he has kept a historical record of railway operations for the last 40 years. He is a member of both the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society (RCTS) and The Railway Club.
Peter W. Neville MA
Peter Neville has inherited a lifelong interest in public transport from his father. In 1978 Peter and his wife Denise, who shares his interests, moved to Digswell, since when they have commuted daily from Welwyn North station. Peter's special interests are in the timetabling of services, line usage, and coaching stock design.
Douglas E. White FRICS
Doug's interest in railways started in infancy. His meticulously maintained records extend back to 1921. An early member of the RCTS, founded in 1928, he was Honorary Editor of the national journal Railway Observer from 1933 to 1958. His major work was as joint editor of the Locomotives of the GWR published in 13 parts between 1951 and 1984.
Book jacket design and painting 'Digswell Viaduct' by Ronald Maddox VPRI PSIAD FSAI
List of Illustrations
Part of the official map London and North Eastern Railway and Connecting Railways published in 1930
Map published in 1898 showing the GNR through Welwyn
Diagram showing the gradient profile of the GNR from Kings Cross to Hitchin
Welwyn station looking south, c.1860-70
Welwyn station looking north at the turn of the century
Welwyn Garden City station in 1920 showing the platforms for the Luton and Hertford branches
The original station at Welwyn Garden City on the Luton branch in 1921
The original Welwyn Garden City station prior to closure in 1926
The new Welwyn Garden City station officially opened on 5 October 1926
Welwyn Garden City station showing the up and the Hertford branch platforms
The goods shed at Welwyn Garden City, demolished in May 1986
Diagram of Welwyn station in 1907, based on an official GNR drawing
Welwyn station c.1900 showing the mid-morning departure for Peterborough
GNR Class C1 'Atlantic' No 250 hauling an up stopping morning train from Peterborough c.1913
View from the footbridge at Welwyn station, looking south, 13 May 1908
View from the north end of Welwyn station showing the cattle dock and sidings in use
A pre-1928 morning stopping train to Peterborough at Welwyn station hauled by LNER Class A1 'Pacific' No 4474 Victor Wild
The former shunting horse stable at Welwyn North station
Welwyn North station in 1963 prior to alterations
The first passenger-carrying electric train to call at Welwyn North station, 'The Silver Jubilee Special'
Welwyn North station as partially modernised in the 1960s
Newly constructed Welwyn viaduct, 10 August 1850
Welwyn (or Digswell) viaduct approach embankment under construction in 1850
Welwyn viaduct in 1908 showing the salt markings on the brickwork
The viaduct as seen from the Hertford Road, looking west in 1915
The pre-war down 'Flying Scotsman' crossing the viaduct behind LNER Class A3 'Pacific' No 2746 Fairway
The tunnels at Welwyn viewed from the up platform of Welwyn North station
Lineside indicator for Digswell Junction at the south end of Welwyn viaduct, February 1986
Digswell Junction signal box: 1901 track layout
Signal lamp from Digswell Junction up home signal
Welwyn North signal box: 1931 track layout
Welwyn North signal box, 1967
Signalman Horace Ball at work in Welwyn North signal box during 1943
Signalman Henry Bygrave
The upper quadrant up inner distant signals between the tunnels, July 1963
Down starting signals at Welwyn North station (Welwyn North 22) 1971
Woolmer Green signal box: 1903 track layout
A GNR 2-2-2 on an up express train between the Welwyn tunnels in the post 1903 era
A pre-1903 View of a GNR 4-2-2 on a London bound train at the south end of the viaduct
LNER Class A1 'Pacific' No 2547 Doncaster with the up 'Flying Scotsman'
The up 'Silver Jubilee' streamlined express from Newcastle to Kings Cross
LNER Class A4 streamlined 'Pacific' No 4492 Dominion of New Zealand on a Leeds to Kings Cross express between the tunnels in 1938
LNER Class B1 4-6-0 No 61394 on an up semi-fast train between the tunnels in 1953
BR Class A1 'Pacific' No 60122 Curlew hauling an up express between the tunnels in 1958
Up passenger train emerging from Welwyn North Tunnel hauled by BR Type 4 (Class 40) 2000 hp diesel-electric locomotive No D201 in June 1958
BR 'Deltic' diesel-electric locomotive No D9020 Nimbus hauling the down centenary 'Flying Scotsman' on 18 June 1962
Suburban route diagrams for 1936 and 1986
The up 0801 electric multiple unit (EMU) No 312/723 leaving Welwyn North station
BR Cl. 9F 2-10-0 No 92188 on a train of empty coal wagons emerging from Welwyn South Tunnel
LNER Class V2 2-6-2 No 60911 on the down Scotch goods between the tunnels in 1953
Tom the Welwyn North shunting horse with his driver Charles Halls, 1938
BR Cl. 31 diesel-electric locomotive No 31171 on a down train of nine grain wagons
GNR Stirling 8 feet 'Single' 4-2-2 No 1 on the down RCTS special train
LNER Class L1 2-6-4T No 67746 on an up 'Cambridge Buffet Express'
King George V's funeral train hauled by LNER 'Sandringham' Class 4-6-0 No 2847 Helmingham Hall
LMS Cl. 4 2-6-4T No 42374 leaving Welwyn North station
LMS Cl. 5 4-6-0 No 44911 on the 8.10 am Kings Cross to Cambridge train
GWR 'Castle' class 4-6-0 No 7029 Clun Castle approaching Welwyn North station
BR Cl. 37 diesel-electric locomotive No D6748 hauling a Cleethorpes to Kings Cross express
Class 317/2 electric multiple units (EMUS) Nos 354 and 349 passing Welwyn North station
A typical GNR outer suburban train passing Greenwood signal box near Hadley Wood station
Early Gresley articulated-twin, non-corridor coaches forming a Cambridge to Kings Cross train
The 1.56pm Kings Cross to Cambridge train including a Gresley LNER luggage van, two BR Mark 1 coaches and a Thompson LNER luggage van in its formation
BR Cl. 21 diesel-electric locomotive No D6100, built by the North British Locomotive Company
BR Cl. 26 diesel-electric locomotive No D5330, supplied by Sulzer, on the 7.35am train from Baldock to Kings Cross
BR Cl. 23 'Baby Deltic' diesel-electric locomotive No D5909 on a down stopping train at Welwyn North station
Three BR Cl. 105 twin diesel multiple unit (DMUS) sets on an up Cambridge to Kings Cross train
BR Cl. 31 diesel-electric locomotives built by Brush Traction
BR Craven-built diesel multiple unit train between the Welwyn tunnels
The scene in Welwyn North (Harmer Green) Tunnel following the accident on 9 June 1866
Smashed coaches following the accident at Welwyn Garden City on 15 June 1935
LNER Class K3 2-6-0 No 4009 immediately following the accident at Welwyn Garden City on 15 June 1935
The scene at Ayot station following the derailment of LNER Class C12 4-4-2T No 1550 on 8 May 1926
An Edmondson ticket dating machine
The Edmondson card railway ticket issuing rack
An unmodified GNR ticket office
A GNR luggage label
The Cowper Arms Hotel, Digswell 1915
The Cowper Arms Hotel in the 1920s
The Cowper Arms, Digswell 1986
Throwout plan Welwyn (Digswell) viaduct construction plans reprinted from Record of Modern Engineering published in 1864 inside back cover
Bookjacket ‘The Flying Scotsman' heading north over Digswell Viaduct in the 1930s. The viewpoint is from the drive of Tewin Water House. An especially commissioned painting by Ronald Maddox VPRI, FSIAD, FSAI.
The original station at Welwyn Garden City on the Luton branch in 1921