London and North Western Railway

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London and North Western Railway
LNWR No1881.JPG
LNWR No. 1881, a Webb 0-8-0 four cylinder compound – frontispiece from The Railway Magazine June 1903
Dates of operation 1846–1922
Predecessor Grand Junction Railway
London and Birmingham Railway
Manchester and Birmingham Railway
Successor London, Midland and Scottish Railway
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)

The London and North Western Railway (LNWR, L&NWR) was a British railway company between 1846 and 1922. It was created by the merger of three companies – the Grand Junction Railway, the London and Birmingham Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway. In the late 19th century the L&NWR was the largest joint stock company in the world.

In 1923 it became a constituent of the London, Midland and Scottish (LMS) railway, and, in 1948, the London Midland Region of British Railways: the LNWR is effectively an ancestor of today's West Coast Main Line.

Overview[edit]

Illustration of a LNWR passenger locomotive, c. 1852
LNWR office on The Quay, Waterford, Ireland. 1910

The LNWR described itself as the Premier Line. This was justified as it included the pioneering Liverpool & Manchester Railway of 1830, and the original LNWR main line linking London, Birmingham and Lancashire had been the first big railway in Britain, opened throughout in 1838. As the largest joint stock company in the United Kingdom, it collected a greater revenue than any other company.[1]

At its peak just before World War I, it ran a route mileage of more than 1,500 miles, and employed 111,000 people. At the core of the LNWR system was the main line network connecting London Euston with the major cities of Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, and (through co-operation with the Caledonian Railway) Edinburgh and Glasgow. This route is today know as the West Coast Main Line. The LNWR also ran the main connection between Britain and Ireland via the North Wales Main Line to Holyhead, and handled the Irish Mail.[2]

The LNWR also had a main line connecting Liverpool and Manchester with Leeds, and secondary routes extending to Nottingham, Derby, Peterborough and South Wales.[3]

Formation[edit]

The company was formed on 16 July 1846 by the amalgamation of the Grand Junction Railway, London and Birmingham Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway. This move was prompted in part by the Great Western Railway's plans for a railway north from Oxford to Birmingham.[1] The company initially had a network of approximately 350 miles (560 km),[1] connecting London with Birmingham, Crewe, Chester, Liverpool and Manchester.

Successors[edit]

The LNWR became a constituent of the London, Midland and Scottish (LMS) railway when the railways of Great Britain were merged in the grouping of 1923. Ex-LNWR lines formed the core of the LMS's Western Division.

Nationalisation followed in 1948, with the English and Welsh lines of the LMS becoming the London Midland Region of British Railways. Some former LNWR routes were subsequently closed, notably the lines running East to West across the Midlands (e.g. Peterborough to Northampton and Cambridge to Oxford), but others were developed as part of the Inter City network, notably the main lines from London to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Carlisle, collectively known in the modern era as the West Coast Main Line. These were electrified in the 1960s and 1970s, and further upgraded in the 1990s and 2000s, with trains now running at up to 125 mph. Other LNWR lines survive as part of commuter networks around major cities such as Birmingham and Manchester.

Acquisitions[edit]

LNWR's initials carved in Portland Stone on one of Euston Station's entrance lodges


Locomotives[edit]

The LNWR's main engineering works were at Crewe (locomotives), Wolverton (carriages) and Earlestown (wagons). Locomotives were usually painted green at first, but in 1873 black was adopted as the standard livery. This finish has been described as "blackberry black".

Accidents[edit]

Major accidents on the LNWR include:-

Electrification[edit]

From 1909 to 1922, the LNWR undertook a large-scale project to electrify the whole of its London inner-suburban network.

Ships[edit]

The company also operated steamers on Windermere

The LNWR operated a number of ships on Irish Sea crossings between Holyhead and Dublin, Howth or Kingstown. The LNWR also operated a joint service with the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway from Fleetwood to Belfast and Derry.

Notable people[edit]

Chairmen of the Board of Directors[edit]

Members of the Board of Directors[edit]

General Managers[edit]

  • 1846–1858 — Captain Mark Huish
  • 1858–1874 — William Cawkwell
  • 1874–1893 — George Findlay
  • 1893–1908 — Sir Frederick Harrison (knighted in 1902)
  • 1909–1914 — Frank Ree
  • 1914 — Robert Turnbull
  • 1914–1919 — Guy Calthrop
  • 1919–1920 — Isaac Thomas Williams
  • 1920–1923 — Arthur Watson

Locomotive Superintendents and Chief Mechanical Engineers[edit]

Southern Division:

North Eastern Division:

NE Division became part of N Division in 1857.

Northern Division:

Northern and Southern Divisions amalgamated from April 1862:

Preservation[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Ferneyhough, Frank (1975). The history of railways in Britain. Reading: Osprey. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-85045-060-6. 
  2. ^ "The Importance of Passenger Traffic". London and North Western Railway Society. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "Map of LNWR". London and North Western Railway Society. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Book 0323: The Aylesbury Railway. Hertfordshire Genealogy. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  5. ^ Banbury To Verney Junction (Lnwr). Disused-rlys.fotopic.net. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Bradshaw's Railway Manual, Shareholders' Guide and Official Directory for 1905. London: Henry Blacklock & Co. Ltd. pp. 201–202. 
  7. ^ Premier Line. Northampton and Lamport Railway (26 January 2008). Retrieved 29 December 2010.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]