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LMS Routes

LMS Route: Trent Valley Line

The Trent Valley Line was opened in 1847 to give a more direct route from London to the North West of England, bypassing the existing route via Birmingham built by the Grand Junction Railway and the London and Birmingham Railway a decade earlier. Construction was initially started by an independent company, the Trent Valley Railway (TVR), which was established in Manchester in April 1844. Its Act of Incorporation received Royal Assent on 21st July 1845. Construction of the line commenced in November 1845, the first sod being cut ceremonially at Tamworth by Sir Robert Peel on 13th November. In September 1845 Salford-born 26-year-old Edward Watkin was appointed Secretary, and having entered the railway world via the TVR he later went on to become one of Britain's most prominent railway barons. Whilst under construction, the TVR was bought by the London and Birmingham Railway (L&BR) on 15th April 1846, the L&BR itself amalgamating with other railways to form the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) on 16th July 1846. The Trent Valley Line was opened to a limited service of local passenger trains and through goods trains on 15th September 1847, to local goods trains on 20th October 1847, the delay due to the goods-handling facilities at the stations not being completed, and finally to all through traffic on 1st December 1847. It is now part of what is called the West Coast Main Line.

Mick Bramich writes "Whether by bicycle to Lichfield or train to Tamworth, the journey was always worth the trouble. These were the places to watch LM Region steam power doing what they were always meant to do; hauling express trains at close to a hundred m.p.h. The Stanier pacifics were always the favourites as they could not be seen at New Street due to clearance restrictions. A highlight was being able to see them stationary, stopped by signals at Tamworth low level. When at speed, only the sharpest of eyes could catch the numbers. It was on this stretch that I saw the prototype Deltic diesel in its fancy livery with 'whiskers'. I visited Rugby on several occasions and was drawn there by the lure of the Great Central line which crossed the West Coast main line on a long girder bridge. All sorts of stuff was possible there: Western Region Halls and moguls hauling Southern green carriages; old GC and Eastern designs on local, long distance and freight workings; the ubiquitous Black 5 or WD. Plus, of course the trains to and from London and Birmingham on the low level."

Extract from Modern Railways April 1964 Edition

100 mph on the London Midland Region

The LMR has recently raised the overall speed limit on the electrified Western Lines between Nuneaton and Crewe from 90 to 100 mph. At the same time, several local restrictions of 90 mph were imposed and a few lower restrictions raised to 90 mph. However, speed is still restricted to 50 mph in the vicinity of Shugborough tunnel and to 60 mph round Queensville curve at the southern approach to Stafford from the Trent Valley line. As a result, the stretches of line where 100 mph speeds may be attained arc limited to sections of about three to five miles between certain of the Trent Valley line stations from. Nuneaton to Armitage between Stafford and Norton Bridge, Norton Bridge and Whitmore, and Whitmore and Crewe. The 100 mph limit, which in any case applies only to fast or main lines, does not necessarily operate on both up and down tracks over the same section. Between Stafford and Crewe, for example, down trains are limited to 90 mph over the seven miles from Madeley to the Crewe approaches.

Station [376]
Shed [237]
Testing Station [28]
Trent Valley lineside views of trains [105]
Brinklow [35]
Shilton [64]
Bulkington [28]
Nuneaton (Trent Valley):
Station [275]
Shed [104]
Atherstone [41]
Polesworth [28]
Tamworth Low Level [109]

Widening of the route from two to up to four lines

Section Date Opened Notes
Rugby to Trent Valley Junction 1885 Brinklow - Attleborough (Nuneaton) only ever had three lines; no Down Slow-due to the proximity of the Oxford Canal.
Trent Valley Junction - Nuneaton Up line 1871-3
Trent Valley Junction - Brinklow Down line 1906
Attleborough - Nuneaton Down line 1910
Nuneaton - Atherstone 1909-10
Atherstone - Tamworth 1901-3