9th February 2022
A talk by Jeremy Lodge
Report by Pat Morgan
Nigel Priestley introduced the speaker with an anecdote about his great grandparents, William Dring and Ann Spafford, moving into the newly constructed cottage at the Langford crossing gates when they were newly married.
Jeremy told us how the opening of the Lincoln to Nottingham line in 1846 ‘practically connected Lincoln with the rest of the Universe’.
The first railway service, Liverpool to Manchester, had begun in 1830, using engines such as Stephenson’s Rocket and carriages or wagons adapted from road transport. He described how, following the rapid expansion of railways in the early 19th century there was a decline in road and canal traffic. Surprisingly, though, there were even more working horses in this period as they were used to transport people and goods to the railway stations. The expansion of railways allowed centres of industry to develop such as steel working in Sheffield.
In 1844 the Midland Railway was formed by the merger of three earlier companies. The Lincoln to Nottingham line was soon proposed and the plans were submitted to parliament. Once Royal Assent was granted in 1845, work started immediately and the line opened in August 1846. Jeremy described the opening day celebrations, noting that in newspaper reports at the time only Newark and Collingham were mentioned along the route! Efforts had been made by Collingham people to make sure the village was noticed! Jeremy went on to tell us how much the railway was used, the range of prices for transport of goods and livestock, the fares for different classes of passengers and the excursions ordinary people made. He finished with a closer look at Collingham station and described the extensive goods traffic once sidings were constructed there in 1850. There was considerable interest in the photographs he had, especially those which showed how much of the original structures still remain.