By Great Western to Crewe: The Story of the Wellington to Nantwich and Crewe Line (LP 228)
The centrepiece of this railway history is the town of Market Drayton. Canals reached the town in 1835 enabling the produce of the area to reach the West Midlands and the North West of England with a reasonable chance that much of it would be acceptably fresh. Just as the town was beginning to feel the benefits of canal transport, so railways began to appear connecting neighbouring towns.
Eventually, the ‘railway mania’ spawned a number of schemes that promised to include Market Drayton and thus provide transport links to the outside world. However, these were mostly independent, all failed to materialise. Consequently, the local townspeople made several petitions to the London & North Western Railway to be considered in its schemes, without any success. However, the Great Western Railway was more responsive, although at the earliest stage it wished to remain firmly in the background.
The placement of the town on a through route to enable traffic to proceed with ease in all directions of the compass, rather than being at the end of yet another minor branch line, took about six years from the first steps. This rather dilatory progress caused a degree of impatience locally, but once achieved was welcomed wholeheartedly, and eventually led to the addition of a further route, by the North Staffordshire Railway to Stoke in 1870. The town had at last achieved what it had desired - good communications with an element of competition. The benefits of the railways to the business communities of Market Drayton, and the other smaller towns and numerous remote agricultural enterprises along the routes, were enjoyed for nearly a hundred years. The Wellington to Nantwich line was never a major passenger route, and did not generate large amounts of freight, nor had it ever been anticipated as such. But it was a major strategic route for freight traffic, as evidenced particularly throughout the two world wars, and even in the days of major route closures was called upon to act as a primary diversionary route during the electrification of the West Coast Main Line in the early 1960s.
During British Railways days, the route was principally under the control of the London Midland Region, but it never lost its Great Western flavour and traditions.
A5 format, 208 pages, 190 illustrations, and a laminated colour cover.
Condition: Good/Very Good
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Updated: 29 December 2021