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Author Topic: What could have been ...  (Read 1125 times)
didcotdean
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« on: August 04, 2017, 10:14:52 AM »

Nice little article in the Herald historical series about the route choices made by the GWR and others through Oxfordshire and Berkshire:

Steventon Parkway Station
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"Next train on platform three is for London Paddington calling at Abingdon, Steventon, Reading and London Paddington."
Wallingford and Wantage might have been the 'natural' route for the main line west from a traffic perspective, but this would have been in direct competition with the existing turnpike and hence some local vested interests - irrespective of extra cost. In the end there was a road connection made with the turnpike at Didcot - the connection being the modern day Station Road to the former turnpike now Broadway.

Of course the Abingdon authorities soon realised their mistake but the eventual branch was too little and too late to arrest the start of its relative decline in importance in a Berkshire context, especially with respect to Reading.

In that way maybe Abingdon should be considered an Railway UnTown.


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GBM
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2017, 10:57:38 AM »



In that way maybe Abingdon should be considered an Railway UnTown.

[/quote]

As could Dartmouth.
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eightf48544
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 03:14:16 PM »

Don't forget Brunel was building a London to Bristol Trunk Railway as part of his London to New York link using his steam ships.

Thus he took a direct route at the expense of serving existing towns and villages. You can add Marlborough Calne
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2017, 04:20:43 PM »

The railway untown is a very useful category to think of. There must be hundreds such places in Britain alone. I was struck by this:
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In 1824 the London and Bristol Railroad Company first proposed a railway linking London to Bristol via Reading, Wallingford, Wantage and Mangotsfield (no mention of Didcot) but it was abandoned due to lack of funding.
Mangotsfield was then worth mentioning as a destination in its own right, not just a suburb of Bristol. However, I don't think I'd consider it a railway untown as even if it had ended up on a main line, it was probably still destined to be swallowed up by its big neighbour in the long run.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2017, 04:24:41 PM »

However, what makes Abingdon a railway untown must be that it started its own decline by opposing the railway rather than simply by the railway choosing a different route.
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didcotdean
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 04:29:11 PM »

There were some interesting amendments that didn't get into the 1835 Act that formed the GWR such as banning its use on Sundays, originating from a petition from the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Defeated 212-34. Also some curious thoughts early on that rail could be built from Bristol to Bath and Reading to London, but travel in between was to be by the existing canals, at least for some time. Bi-modes are nothing new it seems.
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 05:00:51 PM »

There's a notorious canal untown, which is Bewdley on the River Severn. The story goes that James Brindley, when plotting out the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, was intending to terminate it at Bewdley - until the residents told him to "take your stinking ditch elsewhere".

Except it's not true. If you look at the lie of the land, getting to Bewdley would have required a massive tunnel. The eventual destination of Lower Mitton (aka Stourport) was always much more sensible: the canal could just continue down the Stour valley, and those wanting Bewdley could turn upstream along the Severn from Stourport. In fact, Bewdley petitioned Brindley to send his canal to their town, but he wasn't that stupid!
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 05:37:22 PM »

Out of area, Northampton is oft quoted as a town that turned the train line away, and to this day is on a loop rather than having the main one pass through.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2017, 01:25:03 AM »

... and, in our area, Weston super Mare is oft quoted as a town ... etc.  Wink Cheesy Grin

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