London: Pt 17 (Train Travels: Volume 21) – Staffordshire & Home Counties

Throughout our journey along the West Coast Main Line towards London from the Lancastrian City of Preston, we spotted a few things of interest, which I would like to share with you in the 1st of 3 London Special Edition Train Travels Posts…

Staff 1

3 Spires – City of Lichfield, Staffordshire

The West Coast Main Line passes through the City of Lichfield on it’s route towards London, with Virgin’s Pendolinos flying at 125 mph through Lichfield Trent Valley Station, 1 of 2 stations in the city, the other being Lichfield City.

As you fly through the area, you will spot Lichfield’s famous 3 spires, with the most notable being the 3 that adorn Lichfields fantastic Cathedral, shown to the right on the picture above. The Cathedral features 1 large central spire (at nearly 253 ft tall), making it the 2nd tallest spire in the UK behind only that atop Salisbury Cathedral, and 2 smaller 1’s at the front of the building. The Cathedral dates back centuries, with construction starting in 1195, finally being completed in 1340, and it is famous as being the only Gothic Cathedral in Europe to have 3 spires.

You can find out more about the beautiful old city of Lichfield in my post here.

Staff 2

Lichfield Transmitting Station – Tamworth, Staffordshire

Continuing through the Staffordshire Countryside, we reached the Lichfield Transmitting Station just outside the historic town of Tamworth. The 1000 ft mast has dominated the skyline since 1965, replacing the earlier mast installed in 1961 when the station opened. It is used to transmit TV signals around the area, originally carrying the 5 main analogue channels used in the UK, before analogue gave way to digital in 2011. This made it almost redundant, and it no longer carries television signals, although it does however transmit both Analogue and Digital radio frequencies.

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High Rise Apartments – Tamworth, Staffordshire

We continued on, reaching the town of Tamworth itself, characterised by its instantly recognisable Tower Block Apartments, a major feature of the towns skyline.

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St Editha’s Church – Tamworth, Staffordshire

Exiting the town, we got a great view back towards the Church of St Editha, a large Church on a hill overlooking the rest of the town, close to Tamworth Castle, which sadly just went out of view as I took the picture. It was completed by the end of the 15th century, to replace an earlier Church which was destroyed in a fire in 1345. It was thanks to the intervention of the Dean of Tamworth, Baldwin de Witney, that it was quickly rebuilt, and it continues to serve as the towns Parish Church today.

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All Saints Church – Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire

After flying through Tamworth, we passed through the new town of Milton Keynes, although sadly the only picture I got was of the rails in the station. After that, we soared through Leighton Buzzard, and managed to spot the spire of All Saints Church, shown above.

The Church is famous for its 190 ft spire, dominating the surrounding area. The Church itself is incredibly old, dating back to around 1277, and is only the 2nd Church here. A fire in 1985 almost cut the history of this fine building short prematurely, when the building was completely gutted, leaving only the main tower and exterior walls standing. Happily it has been restored to it’s original condition, and remains a proud Church in the community.

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St John’s Church – Watford, Hertfordshire

Approaching London, the last major town we passed through was Watford in Hertfordshire. From the train we could see St John’s Church, shown above, completed in 1873 to serve the local Anglo-Catholic community, in the heart of Watford.

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Intu Watford – Watford, Hertfordshire

Watford is quite a major town in this area of England, and is also home to a large shopping centre, previously known as the Harlequin Shopping Centre, which opened in 1992, with over 140 stores inside. It was taken over in 2013 by Intu Properties, who renamed it Intu Watford who also own other famous Shopping Centres around the UK including the Trafford Centre in Manchester (now the Intu Trafford Centre), the Potteries Centre in Stoke-on-Trent (now Intu Potteries) and the MetroCentre in Gateshead (now the Intu Metrocentre).

Join us for the next volume of train travels as we explore the many sites around London itself, as we traversed around the Capital by train…


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