The London Extension of the Midland Railway: St.Pancras to Bedford 'A History of the St.Pancras-Bedford Route (IR473)
Product No.: IR473
Title: The London Extension of the Midland Railway: St.Pancras to Bedford 'A History if the St.Pancras-Bedford Route
Author(s): Goslin, Geoff
Publisher: Irwell Press
Dust Jacket: New
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Year: 1994
Features: 110 Pages with Black/White Photos.
A new London line was proposed around 1845, towards the end of the period of speculation later dubbed "Railway Mania". The Great Northern line was approved by Parliament in 1846 and a Midland Railway spur from Leicester to Hitchin was agreed in 1847. While the Great Northern line was constructed, the Midland spur was quietly abandoned in 1850 due to financial problems.
Pressure from businesses in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, notably from William Whitbread, who owned roughly 12% of the land over which the line would run, revived the spur scheme. The line was re-presented to Parliament and approved in 1853. Building began quickly but did not proceed at any great pace : the line was opened in mid-1857. The Midland Railway secured initial running power for seven years at a minimum of £20,000 a year.
The Midland Company now had two routes into London, through Euston and King's Cross, and traffic quickly expanded to take advantage, especially with the coal trade with the Midland Railway transporting around a fifth of the total coal to London by 1852. In mid-1862, due to the enormous traffic for the second International Exhibition, the Great Northern and the Midland companies clashed over the restricted capacity of the line.
This was regarded as the stimulus for the Midland Company to build its own line and surveying for a 49.75-mile (80-km) line from Bedford to London began in October 1862. However, the Midland Company had been buying large portions of land in the parish of St Pancras since 1861