Distance Diagrams

In Peter Kay’s introduction to his published volumes of the Midland Railway Distance Diagrams, he says:

“The Midland Railway’s ‘Distance Diagrams’ were amongst the finest pieces of mapping undertaken by any of the pre-grouping railway companies.”

The Cumbrian Railways Association have this to say in their introduction to The Midland’s Settle & Carlisle Distance Diagrams.

“[The maps are] official diagrams drawn up by the Midland Railway Company for the purpose of calculating distances on its system. They come from a volume which depicted the whole of the Midland Railway and the lines over which it had running powers, […] to Yarmouth and Southend in the east, to Bournemouth and Bridgewater in the south west, Swansea in Wales, and to Stranraer and Portpatrick in South West Scotland. The diagrams were updated from time to time […]. They show a fascinating amount of detail, short of actual track plans, with enlarged diagrams for the important operating centres.”

Map of Chinley

In the map shown above, the figures in brackets show the distance to St. Pancras by the shortest route.

Most of the maps were produced at a scale of 1 inch to 1 mile, though many of the busier junctions and stations have inset enlargements at the scale of 2 inches to 1 mile. In the volumes below, the maps are reproduced at 80% of full size to fit within an A4 double page spread.

The maps have been published in six volumes. The first of which was originally published by the Cumbrian Railways Association, but has now been re-published by Peter Kay along with the remaining volumes.

All volumes are now out of print. If you require a copy of any of these publications your best bet is to try the various specialist second-hand book shops. A look in the adverts sections of railway enthusiast magazines will reveal several possible sources.

Alan Godfrey Maps produce reprints of old Ordnance Survey maps at a scale of about 14 inches to the mile. They contain a wealth of detail that is useful to the researcher.