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obtain a roof of this construction being the arch or upper member of
the truss, of which the floor girders would form the lower member.
There was a third feature in the case. In iron roofs, as usually con-
structed, the depth of one principal is about one-fifth of the span ; but
here, by adopting an arch extending across the station, the height from
the tie beneath the rails to the crown of the arch became the effective
depth of the truss ; and this height, being about two-fifths of the span,
all the horizontal strain arising from the dead weight of the roof, its
covering, and accumulations of snow, etc., would be about the same in


the arch of 240 feet span with an effective depth of truss of TOO feet
as in an ordinary truss of 120 feet span with a depth of 24 feet.
Excepting, therefore, such additions as might be necessary for retaining
the form and figure of the arch, the actual sectional area at the crown
and for about two-thirds of the entire arch did not require to be greater
than in an ordinary truss of 120 feet span. There were, as Mr. Barlow
pointed out, other advantages belonging to the arch one being that as
the weight of the roof was carried to the floor line and did not rest on
the tops of the walls, there was no necessity to make the side walls
thicker ; for not only was the weight on the tops of the walls avoided,
but also the racking motion from the expansion and contraction of an
ordinary roof, which, though it might be mitigated, was not prevented
by the use of roller frames at the feet of the principals and by appliances
of a like nature. As to the question of the contraction and expansion
of the arched roof, the ties being beneath the ballast, the temperature
would vary so little that no provision would be necessary, and for the
arched part of the roof, which would alone be subject to appreciable
change, the only effect would be a slight rise or fall of the crown.

The general arrangements of the platforms and rails of the passenger
station are shown in the diagram of Mr. Barlow, which is reproduced.
There is nothing calling for special observation beyond recording the
fact that there are three levels of rails one above the other, as has
already been pointed out. On the lowest, or underground level, the
Midland Company also constructed a tunnel for the use of the Metro-
politan Company, in view of the possible widening at some future date
of that Company's system.

The area of the passenger station at St. Pancras, measured within
the walls, is 18,822 square yards. The lower floor contains 720 cast-
iron columns, set with stone bases in brick piers ; there are 49 rows of
principal girders across the station, and 15 similar girders running
longitudinally. These carry intermediate girders, and the whole is
covered with Mallet's buckle-plates. The strength of the girders and
plating is sufficient to carry locomotives all over the floor, the ironwork
of which cost ;57,ooo, or about $ os. 6d. per square yard.

The main ribs or principals of the roof are made of channel iron
and plate iron, and are 6 feet deep, or one-fortieth of the clear span.
The rib between the walls is open work, but the extremities of the
principals in the walls are of solid plates. The total weight of each
rib is 54 tons 16 cwts., and the cost ^1,132 4$. each. The ribs
project in front of the piers of the walls, and the piers project from
the line of wall. The width measured between the walls is 245 feet
6 inches, and the distance from centre to centre of the ribs is




29 feet 4 inches. The arch is slightly pointed at the crown, as this
form apparently possesses some advantages in resisting the lateral
pressure of the wind, while it improves the architectural effect. The
radius of curvature was diminished at the haunches to give increased
head room near the walls. The glazing is ridge and furrow, and
ventilation is obtained along the whole length of each ridge, which
is left open and protected from wet by a ventilation cover. The
ventilation is thus very complete. The roof is also provided with
gangways throughout, so that any pane of glass can be taken out
and replaced. The gable ends or screens consist of three horizontal
lattice girders 6 feet wide, united and carried by verticals of similar

The erection of the roof was effected by means of two large timber
stages, each made in three divisions, so that each part of either stage
could be moved separately. These stages were designed by the Butterley
Iron Company, who were the contractors for the roofing and for
the lower floor, Sir G. J. N. Alleyne being the manager. The stages
were 40 feet in width, of great strength and solidity, and contained about
25,000 cubic feet of timber and 80 tons of ironwork. The weight
of each stage was about 580 tons, and with two ribs on it, the weight
resting on the floor girders where it stood, including men and apparatus,
was about 650 tons. The passage of these two stages, which moved
on wheels along the floor of the building, constituted a good test of
the strength of that portion of the work.

The process of erection was somewhat complicated on account of
the very heavy weights which had to be dealt with. The contract pro-
vided for the formal testing of the roof, but the not inconsiderable
tests to which it was subjected from time to time during erection
were sufficient to demonstrate that this was unnecessary. Heavy
iron girders, weighing over seven tons each, were raised from the
cross-pieces with only a depression of three-sixteenths of an inch, and
after the weight was removed the ironwork at once resumed its
position. During the erection the roof endured several gales of wind
without the slightest visible movement ; and the lines of the roof
are remarkably well preserved. As to the strength of the roof there
were no precedents of sufficient magnitude to be available, and at
St. Pancras it was further required to construct an arch capable of
maintaining its own form without any intermediate connections with
the tie at the rail level. Under these circumstances it was considered
expedient to adopt a low rate of pressure upon the metal, with a large
assumed weight acting in addition to the weight of the principals.
With this view, and to remove all doubt on the question of strength,


the arch was designed so as to be capable of bearing an assumed
load of 70 Ibs. per square foot measured on the plan, in addition to
the weight of the principals, with a stress on the metal not exceeding
3! tons per square inch. Of the 54 tons 16 cwts., the weight of a rib,
a portion belongs to the connecting medium with the ties. Excluding
this portion, the weight of each rib is as follows :


The open arched part between the springings . -35

The feet or pedestals, 9 tons 10 cwts. each (2) . .19


The surface carried by the arched portion of the rib is
240 feet x 29 feet 4 inches = 7,040 square feet ; and with
the assumed weight of 70 Ibs. per foot, the assumed
load is 7,040 x 70 Ibs. . ... 220

Add weight of arch . . . . 35


The great stiffness and almost total absence of deflection or dis-
turbance of any kind which the roof exhibits point irresistibly to
the conclusion that the structure is of great strength.

The roof as originally designed had twenty-four main ribs, and the
gable or screen at the northern end; and Sir Gilbert Scott designed
a second gable and screen for the southern end, so as to separate the
passenger station from the hotel buildings. This second screen
involved an additional main rib. The total cost of the roof, including
the two screens, amounted to .69,365.

The area of space within the walls on the ground being 245 feet
6 inches wide and 690 feet long, it follows that the extent of the
floor to be covered is 169,400 feet, and the cost for covering, exclud-
ing the cost of the screens and the extra rib at the south screen,
works out at 31 us. per square of 100 feet superficial. The cost
of the floor girders, which perform the double duty of girders and
roof-ties, is taken as part of the cost of the floor. If there had been
no floor-girders, the quantity of metal required for ties at that level
would have made an addition of about i per square of 100 feet
superficial to the cost of the roof.

The roof is not more costly than those of other railway stations;
it possesses a unique character of its own, has many advantages, and
forms a most worthy engineering work at this important London
terminus. The greatest credit is due to Mr. William Henry Barlow,
the Engineer of the Midland Company, who designed the structure,
of whose skill it will form a lasting and worthy memorial. The whole
of the ironwork was executed by the Butterley Iron Company.


The Bedford and London extension was not all opened at one time,
for before the stations were completed, and indeed as soon as a pair
of rails was available, coal was conveyed locally to the town to which
the line then extended.

The line to St. Pancras goods station was opened on September 7th,
1867. Local passenger traffic from Bedford to Moorgate Street com-
menced on July 1 3th, 1868. At that time the locomotives which had
worked the trains up to Kentish Town were uncoupled at that station,
and the trains taken forward by the new Midland condensing tank
engines via St. Paul's Road Junction, King's Cross Junction (under-
ground), the termination of the Midland system, and then forward
over the Metropolitan Railway to Moorgate Street.

Finally, on October ist, 1868, the St. Pancras Station was opened for
passenger traffic, and during the night the whole of the Midland staff,
tickets, carriages, and property of the Midland was transferred from
King's Cross to St. Pancras.

The first train to enter the new terminus was the up mail from
Leeds, which arrived at 4.15 a.m. The first train to leave the new
station was the newspaper express, at 6.15, for the north. The 7.45 a.m.
and the 9 a.m. trains, which formerly had run from King's Cross,
followed; but at ten o'clock a new express for Manchester left St.
Pancras, and after stopping at Kentish Town left that station at 10.6
and ran straight through to Leicester, a distance of 97 J miles, in
2 hours 8 minutes, arriving at 12.14 p.m. At this period this was
a wonderful run, and constituted a world's record. This performance
was repeated four times a day, namely, by the 5 p.m. down and the
two expresses to London leaving Leicester at 12.29 a d 7-34 P- m -

Thenceforward the Bedford and Hitchin line was an unimportant



AT Brent and West End enormous siding accommodation has been
provided for the great concentration of the coal and goods
traffic, and adjoining these, at Child's Hill, are extensive engine sheds,
which accommodate the tank locomotives which are engaged in con-
veying the traffic to all the various depots in the London district and
to the junctions with other railway systems. Brent and West End
sidings constitute a vast marshalling and distributing ground, where
the traffic for the London district is made up into trainloads for its
particular destination, and where the return traffic and empty wagons
are concentrated before being despatched to the north.

The first branch line to diverge from the main route runs from
Brent and Child's Hill junctions to Acton, and was originally con-
structed by the Midland and South Western Junction Railway
Company by virtue of an Act passed in 1864. This short line, four
miles in length, was from the opening worked by the Midland Com-
pany, and in 1874 became vested in the Midland at a rental of
^6,000 per annum. At Acton Wells it forms a junction with the North
and South Western Junction Railway Company's system, which by
an Act passed on August i4th, 1871, was jointly leased in perpetuity
to the Midland, London and North Western, and North London
Companies, and extends to Kew and Hammersmith.

By means of this jointly leased line the Midland obtains communi-
cation with the Great Western and London and South Western Rail-
ways, and the London and South Western Company runs its own engines
and goods trains to the Midland sidings at Brent. Also, by the same
route and by the use of the Metropolitan District Company's Hammer-
smith Junction line, the Midland obtains access to its own depots for
coal, goods, and cattle traffic at West Kensington and for coal at
Kensington (High Street), which were opened on March ist, 1878.

From Kew Junction to Clapham Junction the Midland runs its own
goods and coal trains over the London and South Western rails.



Returning again to Brent and proceeding forward on the Midland
main line, a junction is formed with the Metropolitan Railway at
Finchley Road, and after passing through the Belsize Tunnel, there
are important junctions situated at Carlton Road and Kentish Town,
both of which communicate with the Tottenham and Hampstead
Junction line. As early as the year 1862 an independent company
was formed with the object of connecting the London and North
Western Company's Hampstead line at Gospel Oak with the Great
Eastern system at Tottenham, and it therefore adopted the name
Tottenham and Hampstead Junction ; but the little company found
that the two companies which it desired to connect together had
already communications and agreements, and the junction points and
crossings at the Gospel Oak Station, instead of being used for traffic,
were pulled up and laid in a heap by the side of the line.

However, although this railway was useless for the purpose for which
it was constructed, it was afterwards made of great value as a link
between the Midland and the Great Eastern Companies, by whom it is
now jointly worked, and by whom the shares are largely owned.

By means of the Carlton Road and Kentish Town branches the
Midland gains access to the Tottenham and Hampstead Railway, thus
giving direct communication with the Great Eastern, Tottenham, and
Forest Gate and London, Tilbury, and Southend Railways.

Thus, through express trains are now run from Southend to St.
Pancras worked by the Tilbury Company's engines, the Great Eastern
Company runs passenger trains from Tottenham, and thus that Com-
pany has the advantage of using St. Pancras Station; while, on the
other hand, the Midland Company has its own goods and mineral
trains working to Thames Wharf, Victoria Docks, Mint Street, West
India Docks, and the whole of the great port of London via Tottenham

Thus it comes to pass that a piece of line which originally threatened
to become of little value as an independent undertaking, became in the
hands of the Midland and the Great Eastern Companies an invaluable
connecting link. The Great Eastern Company at Liverpool Street,
while being in an excellent position for traffic to the City and the east
of London, were too far removed from the west of London to obtain
much traffic from that district. For this purpose St. Pancras forms
an excellent terminus for traffic to the north and west end of London.
The London, Tilbury, and Southend Company, which previously only
had communication with the east of London, by a recent arrangement
uses St. Pancras as its terminus for the west end.

The Midland Railway Company as a quid pro quo is able to convey


passengers for Australia, per the Orient Line, from St. Pancras to
Tilbury Docks, via the Tottenham, Forest Gate, and the London,
Tilbury, and Southend Railways direct, thus saving passengers with
their luggage the inconvenience of crossing London.

Reverting again to the main line, we have now to deal with
St. Paul's Road Junction, south of Camden Road Station, where
a line branches off to give communication with the Metropolitan
Railway at King's Cross (underground). It should here be stated
that when the Bedford to London extension was opened on July i3th,
1868, for local passenger traffic, and before St. Pancras Station was
completed, the trains ran from Bedford to Moorgate Street over the
Metropolitan system. At Farringdon Street an invaluable connection
is made with the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company's
system, which gives the Midland through communication with Ludgate
Hill, Loughborough Junction, Clapham, and Victoria, the great West
End terminus. Here at Victoria further communication is provided
from the Midland system to the London and Brighton line, thus
opening up the South Coast traffic directly to the Midland Railway.
On July ist, 1875, to make this connection between north and south
more complete, the Midland Company commenced to run their own
through passenger trains from Hendon via Kentish Town and Farring-
don Street to Victoria, while on the other hand the London, Chatham,
and Dover Company also worked their own engines and trains over
the same route between Victoria and Hendon. Thus the Midland, by
an interchange of running powers with the London, Chatham, and
Dover Railway, have a very complete means for the interchange of
passenger traffic both locally and for distant parts.

To supply coal to the south of London the Company has con-
structed depots at Wandsworth, Brixton, Peckham, and Walworth Road,
all of which are supplied by trains running direct from Child's Hill
and Brent, in addition to the vast quantity of coal handed over to
the southern railway companies.

As regards the goods traffic, as long ago as May ist, 1879, the
Midland began running their own goods trains from Kentish Town
to London Bridge via Ludgate Hill and the Blackfriars Curve and to
the South Eastern Railway's goods station at Bricklayer's Arms. This
gives an outlet for the goods traffic on to the South Eastern and
Brighton Companies' systems.

More recently Hither Green sidings have been opened by the
extension of the Midland running powers from New Cross to this
depot. This junction is of great value and importance for the transfer
of fruit and other traffic which requires to be dealt with very ex-


peditiously. During the height of the fruit season, which usually
commences about the end of June, numerous special express trains
are run from Herne Hill and Hither Green to Kentish Town, and
then forwarded by special express trains to Leicester, Manchester,
Leeds, Bradford, and Scotland. Thus the Kentish fruit growers are
brought into rapid communication with the great consuming centres
of the country, and the carriage of perishable goods is thereby greatly
promoted. This is of vast importance, for the existence of this trade
all depends upon the fruit being delivered at the consuming centres
in prime condition and before it has had time to deteriorate. Special
vans are provided and reserved exclusively for these express fruit trains,
the running speed being equal to that of passenger trains.

On January ist, 1878, the Midland Company opened its new
Whitecross Street goods station in the very heart of the City of
London. It is situated between Aldersgate and Moorgate Street
stations, and is approached by means of the running powers over
the Metropolitan Railway. The area of this goods station is about
4,300 square yards, the main building being 250 feet long by 50 feet
wide, and having six floors, the total height being 70 feet above the

Thirty-six iron columns, placed in two rows, support the floors, each
of these columns being practically continuous from the basement to
the tie-beams of the roof; all the floors are fireproof. Hoists are
provided, which enable goods to be transferred to any of the floors,
and railway wagons, with their load complete, can be raised from the
level of the Metropolitan Railway to the first floor. Adjoining the
principal warehouse is a large area of ground, covered by six bays
of roofing. The roofs are of iron, supported upon columns and
girders, and receive light through broad belts of glazing. This great
space is for the sheltering of the carts and vans during the times of
loading and unloading goods.

In the year 1863 the Midland and Great Northern Railway Com-
panies, who had previously been engaged in a severe competition with
reference to the rates of coal carriage to London, entered into an
agreement by which the rates from Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire,
Derbyshire, and Yorkshire were finally fixed on a fair basis. In case
of a dispute, the matter, it was arranged, should be determined by
arbitration. This agreement was honourably carried out until 1868,
when, to the surprise of the Midland, the Great Northern Company
desired an alteration, and in the following year the matter was referred
to Sir John Carslake. After more than a year and a quarter had
elapsed in taking evidence pro and con, he made his award in the


following words : "I award that no alteration be made in the rates
for coal in the said agreement, or submission to arbitration mentioned
and referred to." The award bore the date, August, 1870. The Great
Northern having thus lost in the serious questions at issue, fell back
upon the expedient, as expressed by Mr. Denison, one of their counsel,
"to look at the agreement and see whether we could drive a coach
and six through it." When legal gentlemen set their wits to work
with this avowed object, it is not difficult to see that some specious
scheme or device would be launched for "keeping the promise to
the ear" whilst practically evading it. The modus operandi was as
follows : The Great Northern induced the Sheffield Company to
deliver Yorkshire coal to them at Retford by a circuitous route
instead of by the direct line to Doncaster. The practical effect of
this was that the Yorkshire coal was sent from Retford to London
under the Nottinghamshire rate instead of under the higher Yorkshire
rate a difference of nd. per ton. Thus the Great Northern evaded
the award, and actually reduced their rate to the extent named, so
that not only was the Midland affected, but a great injustice was
done to the colliery owners of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and
Leicestershire, by giving the Yorkshire collieries an unfair advantage
by having their coal carried to London a longer distance at the
same price per ton. This, of course, aroused the Midland Company,
who took action at once, and, in defence of their own and the interests
of the collieries whom they served, immediately lowered their rates to
a corresponding degree. Reprisals and counter reprisals followed in
rapid succession, for in a war of rates, as in other wars, a spirit
of recklessness and disregard of consequences is forced upon the
combatants. These various movements continued, until finally both
companies were in the position of carrying coal to London absolutely
at a loss ; for the small sums charged were quite unequal to defray the
necessary working expenses. Throughout the war the Midland occupied
the best position, and had this crumb of comfort, that their losses were
less than those of their rivals, who had to carry the mineral a longer
distance at the same price.

The total reduction on the Derbyshire rate from the beginning of the
conflict amounted to 2S. $d. per ton, making the total Clay Cross rate
only $s. 2d. per ton. Towards the close of the dispute the Midland,
whose affairs had never been conducted with more conspicuous ability
than at this trying period, executed a bold movement which absolutely
re-established its monopoly as regards the Derbyshire traffic. Notice
was given to the Great Northern, and quickly enforced, that the advan-
tage which they had previously enjoyed of having coal from Derbyshire


conveyed to Nottingham by the Midland at the through rate to London
would cease, and it would have to pay the local and much higher
rate. This practically excluded the Great Northern from Derbyshire,
and lost them a traffic which a short time previously had resulted in an
annual return of ,50,000. This was a decisive and conclusive blow
as far as this matter was concerned, although ultimately it led to the
extension of the Great Northern system to the Leen Valley, Derby, and
Stafford, and also, in conjunction with the London and North Western,
to the construction of a line from Newark to Melton Mowbray and
Market Harborough, as well as an independent Great Northern branch
from Tilton Junction to Leicester.

After war peace. But it was not the peace of submission ; it was

Online LibraryClement Edwin StrettonThe history of the Midland railway → online text (page 16 of 36)