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Railway And Nantwich

Nantwich and the Railway,

by Jeremy Nicholls.

On Thursday evening, a packed Scout and Guide Hall heard an excellent talk on the railways of Nantwich given by the Chair of Audlem History Society, Jeremy Nicholls.

A potted history of the background to the development of the railway in the town was first outlined, and the reasons behind the rise of Crewe rather than Nantwich as the main hub. This was largely due to the opposition of Nantwich landowners, and also the fact that the land quality around Monks Coppenhall was rather inferior to that around Nantwich, and therefore more expendable.

Once all the small railway companies had been established in the area, such as the Chester & Crewe Railway in 1840, and the Nantwich and Market Drayton Railway in 1863, then the Great Western Railway quietly took charge and merged them all in 1877.

Jeremy then divided his talk into a series of topics such as Working on the Railway, Days out & Holidays by Rail, Decline and Closure, all wonderfully illustrated by old photographs. There were lovely touches of interest, such as a poster advertising a trip to see Crewe Alex, and another showing details of an excursion to Belle Vue, Manchester.

We finished on a very positive note as it would seem that the future is very hopeful for our local railway despite the uncertainty of HS2. There has been considerable growth in the numbers using the railway from Nantwich over the past 15 years, and environmentally it is a form of transport that is gaining popularity, which is also encouraging.

A very satisfying and upbeat talk to calm us in these uncertain times.

Brenda Smethurst.

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