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GNR The Great Northern Works, Doncaster 1892
This is a first hand account of a visit to the Great Northern Railway (GNR) works at Doncaster in 1892. It contains many items of interest to GNR enthusiasts including plans, photographs and descriptions of the rolling stock. Due to the size of this document it is split into several parts to minimise server load.
"THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY WORKS, DONCASTER.
THE Great Northern, as we now know it, dates from 1844, when the railway mania was at its height. several projects for effecting communication between London and York were put forward in that year, and they were considered together in 1845 by a committee of the Board of trade.
The "London to York" scheme, which eventually passed as "the Great Northern," embraced the construction of 327 miles of railway, the trunk line to York being 186 miles in length. Then there was the Direct Northern, the engineer of which was John Miller. The route was through Hatfield Stevenage, Biggleswade, and St. Neots to Lincoln, and thence to Gainsborough, Selby, and York. The distance from York was 176 miles, the shortest route of any, and the London terminus was to be in Holborn, close to Furnival's-inn.
The portion of the scheme north of Lincoln was recommended for adoption, the Board of Trade Committee being strongly of opinion that Lincoln should be included in the main line. For this reason they paid a good deal of attention to a scheme promoted by Hudson for making a. railway from Cambridge to Lincoln, and they eventually reported in favour of that line, recommending, as already stated, the construction of the Direct Northern line from Lincoln to York.
To show the extraordinary activity which prevailed at that time, it may be mentioned that the Bills considered by this particular committee involved the construction of 1200 miles of railway - including branches and lateral communications from east to west - which was about equal to the total mileage of the railways then in existence in the United Kingdom.
The capital proposed to be raised was twenty millions. The Board of Trade report is good reading, even after the lapse of nearly half a century, and on the whole it does credit to the sagacity of the officials. They failed, however, to appreciate the future importance of what is now known as the East Coast route, and they say :- "In our report on the projected railways in Scotland, we have already stated our reasons for believing that, owing to the interruptions occasioned by the Firths of Forth and Tay, the eastern line can never become the principal trunk line of communication between Scotland and England."