Midland Railway Society Members, please make sure you are logged on through the Members' Area to access additional content on this page.
MIDLAND RAILWAY DISTANCE DIAGRAMS
Most people who have had anything to do with the history of the Midland Railway will be familiar with the “Distance Diagrams”. Like the Company's two-chains-to-the-inch land plans and, out on the lineside itself, the distinctive mile posts, the Distance Diagrams were an essential part of how the railway was administered. Presented as enormous bound volumes, over 100 copies were distributed around the Company and a good many of them survive, dotted around various archives, museums and libraries. We are proud to have eight copies at the Midland Railway Study Centre and our friends at the National Archives just beat us with nine.
The Diagrams are an incredibly detailed record of the Midland Railway's network with every station, yard and private siding marked — crucially with the distances between them presented in extraordinary detail. What adds to the complexity of their story, however, is that they were kept updated. Revisions were issued periodically with all sheets being completely replaced at least once over the years. Most books were dutifully updated by their custodians and so we are largely left with a picture of the Midland Railway as it became during the LMS period after 1923. Importantly, however, not all copies were so assiduously updated, and it is these copies which are particularly interesting. Notes and a spreadsheet compiled by the late Pat Larkam provide much more details in this regard below.
That all said, even the updated copies present us with a fascinating insight into the detail of the Midland Railway's system.
Perhaps the most definitive account of the history of the Distance Diagram Books can be obtained from this Reference Paper written by John Gough.
Notes about different editions of the Distance Diagrams compiled in 1978 by the late Pat Larkam
The first edition was issued in 1873 entitled Midland Railway Diagrams – the word “Distance” was added to the second and last issue of 1893.
The table below shows the date of each diagram. The missing first edition dates are presumably all 7.1873, although there is some doubt in the case of 1G for instance, where the Settle and Carlisle was not opened until 1875, after that year’s amendments. Was there therefore some issued in 1876?
The title page of the 1st edition is 1873-4. Were there any amendments issued in 1874? Up to and including 1906 the date on the bottom right hand corner of each sheet included the month – usually January. Subsequently only the year was stated.
In the table, the month is shown only where it is definitely known from an example still in existence.
Over the 52 years of issue the layout changed, gradually including more and more information. This aspect could be the subject of a separate investigation.
The 1873 edition was issued by “The Engineer’s Office” and the 1893 edition by “Estate Agent’s Office” – both “Midland Railway, Derby”.
1873:- 21” high x 16” wide x 2½ thick – Bright Red.
1893:- 20¾” high x 16” wide x 3½ thick – Very Dark leather.
Known Editions for Each Sheet
|1a||Newton Stawart - Glenluce District||1.1886||1914|
|1d||Dumfries - Castle Douglas||1.1886||1914|
|1e||Annan - Dumfries||1.1886||1914|
|1g (1)||Carlisle District||1878||1882||1.1885||1904||1914|
|3||Hawes Junction & District||1.1879||1903||1913|
|4||Hellifield & Ingleton||7.1873 (10)||1878||1881||1.1888||1901||(2)||1910||1913|
|4c||Ormskirk - Houghton District||1.1888||1895||1913|
|5||Carnforth - High Bentham||7.1873||1881||1901||1909||1916|
|6||Morecambe – Heysham - Lancaster||1.1884||1905||1909||1917|
|9||Leeds - Royston||7.1873||1877||1879||1886||1898||1905||1910||1917/1918|
|9a||Leeds & District||1895||1905||1910||1918|
|10b (5)||Cudworth District||1879/1905||1893/1909 (3)||1916|
|10c (5)||Doncaster District||1.1882/1906 (4)||1910||1918|
|10e||Millhouses - Rotherham - Brighton||1.1882||1893||1898||1906||1909||1918|
|10f||Rotherham - Swinton & District||1902||1909||1913|
|13c||Langley Mill District||1897||1904||1908||1921|
|15b||Dore & Totley District||1894||1905||1912||1915|
|17||Warrington & Northwich District||7.1873||1880||1902||1914|
|18||Chester & Widnes District||1875||1880||1.1888||1902||1914|
|19a||Southport District||1885||1.1888||1910 (5)||1914 (5)|
|20||Mansfield Worksop & District||1880||1885||1.1889||1899||1907||1912|
|21||Nottingham & District||7.1873||1877||1880||1886||1899||1907||1912|
|21a||Nottingham & District||1899||1907||1913|
|26a||Tamworth - Water Orton District||1879||1.1883||1901||1910||1915|
|26b||Burton on Trent||1.1884||1902||1915|
|26c||Uttoxeter - Leek||1.1896 (6)|
|26d||Stoke on Trent||1.1896 (6)|
|28||Melton Mowbray District||1880||1884||1887||1.1888||1900||1911||1915|
|28a||Saxby & Bourne Line||1.1888/1894||1907||1913|
|30||Bourne - Peterborough||1.1883||1894||1908||1916|
|31||M & GN Holbeach - Murrow||1.1883||1894||1912|
|32||M & GN Sutton Bridge - Kings Lynn||1.1883||1894||1912|
|32a||M & GN Massingham District||1894||1912||1921|
|32b||M & GN Fakenham District||1894||1912||1921|
|32c||M & GN Melton Constable||1894||1912||1921|
|32d||M & GN Norwich District||1894||1912||1921|
|32e||M & GN North Walsham District||1894||1.1907||1921|
|32f||M & GN Yarmouth - Lowestoft||1894||1904||1916|
|34||Market Harborough District||7.1873||1886||1904||1913|
|35||Kettering - Wellingboro||7.1873||1.1.1877||1880||1886||1895||1905||1911||1914|
|36||Kettering - Thrapston - Huntingdon||1.1887||1905||1911||1916|
|37||Huntingdon - St Ives||1.1884||1907||1916|
|44b||London District East||1.1888||1901||1914||1919|
|44c||London District Clapham||1.1900||1915|
|44d (7)||London District Hitherg||1900||1915|
|45 (4)||LT & S Upminster||7.1873/1913||1.1893||(3)|
|45a||LT & S Tilbury - Pitsea||1913|
|45b||LT & S Southend||1913|
|46||Nuneaton - Whitacre||1878||1.1889||1896||1908||1916|
|47||Birmingham District||Not Dated||1.1.1877||1879||1886||1897||1906||1913|
|49||Alcester - Evesham - Ashchurch||1.1883||1902||1912||1918|
|49a||Stratford on Avon District||1923|
|51||Cheltenham - Gloucester - Stonehouse||1.1884||1897||1911 (8)|
|51a||Severn & Wye (GW & MR Joint)||1886||1897||1910||1917|
|52||Stonehouse to Yate & Branches||7.1873||1881||1897||1910||1913|
|53||Mangotsfield - Bath - Bristol||1878||1887||1.1888||1898||1910||1918|
|54||GWR Ledbury District||7.1873||1.1906||1915|
|57||Brecon District||Not Dated||1907||1911||1923|
|58||Colbren Junction District||1875||1.1.1877 (9)||1.1889 (9)||1908||1911||1923|
|59||Swansea Vale Lines||1875||1877||1.1884||1.1893||1903||1.1904||1911|
|59a||Swansea Vale Lines||1.1884||1.1902||1911|
|60||S & D Bath - Evercreech||1.1887||1905||1917|
|62||Highbridge - Bridgewater||1.1889||1910||1919|
|Index to Diagrams||1.1886||1912|
|Burton & Ashby Light Railway||Date Stamp 18 July 1913|
|(1) Renumbered from No.1 in 1886|
|(2) Apparently Not Issued|
|(3) Second Issue presumably cancelled but date unknown|
|(4) Two series for different areas|
|(5) Redrawn with amendments but both fourth editions|
|(6) Cancelled 1920|
|(7) Sheets 44E, 44F, 44G mentioned but not issued 1895|
|(8) Issued in 1910 amendments|
|(9) Redrawn with amendments but both 2nd editions|