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SideTracked - Carlisle Event Cache

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Bradshaws65: Thanks for attending.

Hidden : Saturday, 02 February 2019
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1 out of 5

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Geocache Description:

Come and join us at the published co-ordinates to meet up and chat about all things geocaching.

The event will take place between 1.00pm and  1.30pm on Saturday 2nd February 2019. 

A series of Bradshaws Travels by The Bradshaws

The 1830s saw a boom in railway building in England, as local companies seized their chance to establish themselves within a burgeoning national rail network. A national timetable, however, did not appear until this weekend in 1839. Bradshaw's Railway Time Tables, which included train times for both the north and south along with an "Assistant to Railway Traveling with Illustrative Maps and Plans", aimed to rein in rampant confusion within an uncoordinated system. "The necessity of such a work is so obvious as to need no apology," wrote Bradshaw in the introduction.


But while the necessity of a national timetable was obvious, it raised one fundamental and thorny question: what time is it? Back then, time was set locally according to the sun, so when a train left London at 6pm it was already 6.05pm in Oxford. One local railway guide of the era included an addendum indicating the number of minutes to be added or subtracted en route, so Tring was "2m slower than Euston" but "5m faster than Birmingham". Prior to the railway era, these differences weren't much of an issue. But now, travelers found that their watches were hopelessly unsynchronized.

It was reported that one local railway director refused to supply his train times to Bradshaw, saying: "I believe it would tend to make punctuality a sort of obligation." The 1839 Bradshaw's indicates that margins for error were built in, with all passenger trains listed as departing at multiples of five minutes past the hour – but this state of affairs wasn't sustainable.

In November 1840 the Great Western Railway imposed Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on its stations, and by September 1847 "Railway Time" was used across the network. As a consequence, local time was no more. By 1855, 98 per cent of British towns were using GMT.

Rhodri Mardsen

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

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Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)