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.”
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.
The Midland’s Settle & Carlisle Distance Diagrams. ISBN: 0951920103. Published by the Cumbrian Railways Association.
Midland Railway Systems Maps : Carlisle to Leeds and branches : the Settle & Carlisle Line. ISBN 1889890254. Price: £4.95.
Midland Railway Systems Maps - Vol. 2 (Leeds to Leicester, Derby to Manchester, Cheshire Lines). ISBN: 1899890173. Price: £9.95
Midland Railway Systems Maps - Vol. 3 (Leicester to London, M&GN, LTS). ISBN: 1899890165. Price: £8.95.
Midland Railway Systems Maps - Vol. 4 (Birmingham to Bristol, South Wales, S&D Joint). ISBN: 1899890181. Price: £7.95
Midland Railway Systems Maps - Vol. 5 (Portpatrick & Wigtownshire Railway, the G&SW line from Castle Douglas to Gretna Junction, the canal maps, an introduction and guide (with tables) by John Gough, the 1912 index, and amendment sheets from 1910 to 1927). Price: £7.95.
Midland Railway Systems Maps - Vol. 5A Reprints of the earlier amendment sheets.
Midland Railway Systems Maps - Vol. 6 - The Gradient Diagrams
This volume covers the company’s gradient profiles. They are reproduced from original documents in the Roy Burrows Collection (now the Midland Railway Study Centre); John Gough is the co-author of the historical introduction and user’s guide. Price: £7.50.
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.