The Great Central Railway – March 16th 1889
The Great Central Railway was opened to-day to passenger traffic, through the goods traffic – apart from coals- will not commence until after Easter.
Judging by the experiment of this, the opening day, the auguries for passenger traffic are of the most promising kind. For the present only eight trains are to be dispatched daily from Marylebone – five of them through to Manchester – and the first of these started this morning at 515, being due at its destination at 1025.
Among those who gathered on the platform at this early hour – which was rendered anything but pleasant by a continuance of the thick November like fog which has been enshrouding London for the past few days – was Mr Harry Pollitt, locomotive engineer and son of the general manager, and a cheer was raised as the five-vehicled corridor train, drawn by a very powerful bogie wheeled engine. decorated with the royal arms as well as with those of the Company, steamed out of the station with its four solitary passengers.
Yes, these were all the travelers by the first train, with its five cars, reminding one of Macpherson’s “four and thirty men and five and thirty pipers” A craving for imortality or a wish to accomplish a feat may have been the main motive which included this early rising, and in any case somebody must have been the first travelers from London to Manchester by Great Central Railway. All the other seven outward trains, on the other hand were plenty full, especially the 115 special express, which was timed to reach Manchester at 615, or in five hours.
By and by, when the road becomes hard and settled, the new Company promise to reduce the time of transit to the same limit as the competing lines. Among those who watched the departure of some of there trains was Lord Cross and Colonel Hutton, directors and Mr. Haig-Brown, Superintendent of the line, while throughout the day the station was thronged with a crowd of sightseers.
There were also two [through trains] to Leicester and one to York, while from Nottingham there were no fewer than four special trains, carrying the employees of the Corporation of that city on a trip to London, which, starting at intervals of a quarter of an hour, commencing with noon, steamed into Marylebone only about a quarter of an hour behind there time. This was a most gratifying commencement.
Travellers and spectators were loud in there admiration of the corridor trains. with there three first-class and two third-class. The Nottingham trippers were whisked to London in four hours all but nine minutes.
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