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Various sources I have read indicate that "UP" was normally towards London, but I recall reading somewhere that on Midland lines Up was towards Derby. Can anyone confirm this was the case on the Midland main line north of Leicester.

Thanks

Mike
 

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QUOTE (mikethetiler @ 8 Mar 2007, 21:55) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Various sources I have read indicate that "UP" was normally towards London, but I recall reading somewhere that on Midland lines Up was towards Derby. Can anyone confirm this was the case on the Midland main line north of Leicester.

Thanks

Mike
According to the Quail map, Up is towards London on the Derby-Leicester section and also through Derby station even though trains to London originally left in the opposite direction. The source of your confusion may be the Derby-Birmingham-Bristol line where the direction reverses on leaving Derby and it is 'down' all the way to the (now) end of the line at Westerleigh oil terminal.
 

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Doug,

Up is always the route you have to follow on the British railway system to travel towards London. This does lead to some confusion. For example, the preserved Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in the West Riding of Yorkshire runs South from its junction with the old GNR and MR at Keighley up a steeply graded line to its terminus at Oxenhope. Trains in the official "up" direction leave Oxenhope and travel North down the incline towards Keighley and geographically away from London where it possible to catch a train which will then connect with a London bound train at Bradford.

I believe that I have heard about the "up to Derby" (Midland Railway centre of operations), somewhere before and I shall ask my friends at the Clay Cross Model Railway Society if they can confirm.

Colombo
 

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QUOTE (Colombo @ 9 Mar 2007, 09:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I believe that I have heard about the "up to Derby" (Midland Railway centre of operations), somewhere before and I shall ask my friends at the Clay Cross Model Railway Society if they can confirm.
Colombo

The Midland, as far as I recall were the only company to use up and down for the same direction. If I remember correctly their locos went "up"to Derby for repair, but up to London for operational use. I have always believed, as pointed out elsewhere, that up always related to the method of getting to London. I also seem to recall that it's another phrase that comes from the age of the flesh and blood horse, as do many others.

Regards

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys, on the basis of what you've said I'm not going to the trouble of reversing all my fiddle yard and main line labelling (not to mention the wiring diagram) in case of a possible query by a nit picker.

Mike
 

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QUOTE (Colombo @ 9 Mar 2007, 09:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Doug,

Up is always the route you have to follow on the British railway system to travel towards London.

Not so on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. Up on the L&Y was to Horwich.

The up and down terminology refers to the direction of the company headquarters or main terminus. In most cases this did actually mean that travelling towards London was the up direction, it certainly is nowadays because Network Rail's HQ is in London, but the term originated with the wagonways in the NE where the main workshops were located at the mines so the up direction was, quite literally, uphill travelling inland from the coast to the headquarters.
 

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Just to further confuse the issue there was a town in the West Country (Yeovil?) where up trains on the Southern and down trains on the Great Western (or vice versa) actually travelled in the same direction.

Regards

John
 

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It was Exeter St. David's - GWR/WR Up trains came in from the South and West and departed North and East, SR Up trains came in from the North and West and departed South and East. A great place for train spotters.

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John Webb
 

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QUOTE but the term originated with the wagonways in the NE where the main workshops were located at the mines so the up direction was, quite literally, uphill travelling inland from the coast to the headquarters

Not so : the origin was actually the Royal Mail stagecoaches which preceeded the railways . The GPO was referring to "up"and "down" coaches in the late 18th century.

Going "up" to London or coming "down" from London , or any other big town seems to have been an 18th century idiom , still used in repect of London between the wars in upper class speech (I'm sure Bertie Wooster "comes up to town") but now only surviving with Oxord and Cambridge Univeristies (to which you go up and come down)

Dickens, Bleak House , Ch 2 (1853) "My Lady Dedlock has been down at what she calls , in familiar conversation, her "place|" in Lincolnshire".
Or the theme to Dad's Army (Flanagan and Allan) "Mr Brown/Goes up to town/On the 8:21..."

The company responsible for transferring this to railways was probably the London & Birmingham which originally saw itself as a fast mail line (Inter City for the 1830s) and didn't much like carrying freight. Apparently when an early adjoining company applied to the L+B to run through coal trains they were turned down .The L+B Secretary wrote to his directors "They will be asking us to carry manure next..."
 

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From the Oxford Companion to British Railway History (Simmons and Biddle, OUP 1997):
"On all railways leading into London, trains were said to travel 'up' in that direction ....following accepted road practice. Some provincially based railways ran 'up' to their headquarters location, hence the Lancashire and Yorkshire company's trains travelled 'up' to Manchester... ...and the Midland to Derby until it extended to London in 1868."

So Mike had heard correctly. The Midland Railway must have considerable work altering mileposts after opening St Pancras when they then measured their distances from that station!

Regards,
John Webb
 

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Just to add another complication to the issue, I have this information from a retired engine driver.

On the Midland Railway routes the only way from Birmingham to London was via Derby, so trains had to go up towards Derby to get up to London. The same applied when Midland trains were running from Bristol or even Bournemouth, they all went up to Derby.

Of more importance to modellers who are intent on providing accurate details, tradition has it that the cross bars on telegraph poles were fixed to the London side of the posts, so you could always tell which way was "up".

Colombo
 

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More trivia:

QUOTE (John Webb @ 10 Mar 2007, 12:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The Midland Railway must have considerable work altering mileposts after opening St Pancras when they then measured their distances from that station!

When the route from London via Corby and Melton was opened, entering Nottingham from the east, they must have changed the mileage in Nottingham to suit the new 'main line'. It still runs the wrong way for the short distance between the station and Mansfield Junction, though 'up' and 'down' do not reverse.

QUOTE (Colombo @ 21 Mar 2007, 12:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Of more importance to modellers who are intent on providing accurate details, tradition has it that the cross bars on telegraph poles were fixed to the London side of the posts, so you could always tell which way was "up".

For the more contemporary, power signalling schemes generally use ascending odd numbers for signals in the down direction and descending even numbers for up.
 
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