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Direct Rail Link To London - For How Long?

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Guest Dan Hardy


I'm would be interested to know how long Sheffield has had a direct rail connection to London? Someone suggested to me that this is relatively recent (last few decades), but cannot find any evidence of this. Could be a useful avenue of research for a research project I am involved in, so any help appreciated.

Best wishes,


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The Midland Railway started in 1844 engineered by George Stevenson. (That's one of the reasons he is buried in Chesterfield) reached their London terminus of St Pancras in 1868.

So this direct connection from Sheffield Midland station to London via Derby was in operation from 1868 to the present.

The Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (Jokingly termed The Mucky Slow and Lazy) built their extension to London completed in 1899. On completion the railway changed its name to The Great Central Railway. Trains from Sheffield Victoria Station to London via Leicester on this line would have started in 1899 and finished with Dr. Beeching's cuts when the line closed.

A portion of the Great Central Railway near Leicester is run as a steam hauled heritage railway. A few years ago there was a scheme to re-open the Great Central because it was built to the continental Berne loading gauge and would allow through railway traffic via the channel tunnel to the north of England. Continental waggons and carriages are wider and taller than ours so they will not pass under our bridges.

It is all on Wikipedia if you want to check it out.

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The first through services between Sheffield and London appear to have been through carriages from Wicker Station which were taken via a rather circuitous route via Derby and Birmingham, terminating at Euston Square Station (as it was then called). This involved the Sheffield & Rotherham Railway, the North Midland Railway, the Midland Counties Railway and the London & Birmingham Railway. FIrst day of this operation was 11th May 1840. By 27th June that same year a more direct service omitting Birmingham was started. Until 1857 trains ran to Euston Square, from 1857 to 1868 they ran to Kings Cross and from 1868 onwards St Pancras.

Through trains from Sheffield Victoria to Kings Cross started on 1st August 1857. This was a joint service operated by the MSLR and the GNR.

The Midland Railway's direct route from Sheffield to St Pancras opened in February 1870 with the completion of the line from Chesterfield to the new Pond Street Station.

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