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A 1935 aerial view of a railway station. Where is it?
This is one of Britain's largest towns, but hardly any of the railways shown now survive. Where is it?
Answer: Northampton. Congratulations are due to the following for their correct answers: Richard Maund, Paul Hopper, Chris Neale, Colin Penfold, Jane Sullivan, Dave Goodyear, Andrew Twynham, Jeremy Harrison, Simon Wass, Peter Tisdale.
The Bedford-Northampton branch of the Midland Railway originally ran into a terminus (marked in red) at Northampton St John's Street. This station was closed in 1939 when the LMSR re-routed trains via the other two stations. One might have expected a more intense service between these two nearby towns than is shown by the Winter 1938 timetable - just six trains each way. Had it survived - and been electrified - it'd be useful extension to Thameslink.
The Blisworth-Peterborough route of the LNWR went west-east through Northampton Bridge Street station, just south of the River Nene and a branch of the Grand Union canal. It survived until 1964. The Summer 1963 timetable is shown.
Only the electrified loop off the West Coast Main Line now exists, using Northampton (Castle) Station. Heading north, the line to Market Harborough closed to passengers several times, succumbing finally to all traffic in 1981. This closure severed yet another link with great potential, leaving a town (no, it's not a city) of a quarter-million people poorly served by rail.
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© Matthew Shaw 2023