Over 170 years of railway history in one book! All the great names are here – The Midland, Great Northern, Great Central, LMS, LNER. They all made their mark on Nottinghamshire and Nottinghamshire contributed massively to their success.
Mr Vanns is a native of Newark-on-Trent and is a well-known and respected author in the field of railway history. The book covers the period from the first appearance of railways in Nottinghamshire in the 1830s, right through to the high-speed, privatised lines of today – over 170 years of railway history in one book.
It is a broad time frame, yet one in which Mr Vanns is able to show how just four key elements have been responsible for shaping the county’s present-day railway map – coal, geography, competition and politics.
As each railway company is discussed – the Midland, the Great Northern, the Lancashire, Derbyshire & East Coast and the Great Central, LMS, LNER etc - it is startling to see how these four simple themes, occur again and again, shaping our railway heritage and the way services are delivered today – why, for example, the county’s premier electrified main line railway passes through Newark and Retford rather than through the urban centre of Nottingham; and why, in the west of the county, fast trains to Yorkshire and Lancashire again appear to by-pass the city.
Elsewhere, smaller, but no less interesting conundrums are explored. Why, for instance, one small Nottinghamshire market town acquired no fewer than four competing railway stations, and the provocation that lay behind the ‘kidnapping’ and ‘imprisonment’ of a steam locomotive as soon as it entered Nottingham station.