Facts about the LMS (Wonder Book of Railways 14th ed)

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index

A chapter about the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) with useful facts and statistics, from the 14th edition of The Wonder Book of Railways (undated, but circa ~1925):


    This is the largest British railway, though its total length of about 8,000 miles is much less than that of some of the great railways in other parts of the world, such as the Canadian National (23,000 miles), the Canadian Pacific (14,500 miles), the Pennsylvania (12,000 miles) and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé (13,000 miles). There are also some of the big foreign "State" lines, but the LMS is probably the busiest in the world so far as the amount and the value of traffic is concerned. The letters of its title do not supply a "slogan" as do those of the London and North Eastern, which has been described as the "London and Nearly Everywhere Railway," but the LMS can put up a strong claim for equal honours in that respect. As an alternative, the Company itself emphasizes that it provides "The Best Way" to many places.

    The London Midland and Scottish system includes two of the railways which used to rank as the four longest in the British Isles, and three other railways which were themselves by no means small, together with several other systems. One of the two big lines was the London and North Western, which claimed to be the "Premier" railway, as it included so many of the principal early railways (the London and Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester and the Grand Junction) and had the shortest and most favourable routes between many principal towns and resorts. The other big line was the Midland, the "octopus" of British railways, in that it had lines extending into almost every part of England, north, south, east and west.

    In Scotland the LMS includes the former Caledonian Railway, (the West Coast partner of the London and North Western for Anglo-Scottish traffic), and the Glasgow and South Western Railway, which worked with the Midland for London–Glasgow traffic. Then there was that wonderful network of lines in Lancashire and Yorkshire which took its name from those counties, together with the Highland Railway in the far north of Scotland, the Furness Railway in the Lake and Furness districts, and the North Staffordshire, the great local railway of the "Potteries" and the "Five Towns" familiar to readers of Arnold Bennett's stories.

    The LMS thus has two main lines between London and Carlisle, and two continuations thence to Glasgow, one also part of the "Royal Mail" route from Carlisle to Edinburgh, Perth, Aberdeen and Inverness and the "Far North." It further provides the shortest routes between London and Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool (also between those towns). Then there is the "West to North" route from Bristol to Derby via Birmingham, and the "West to North" route from Bristol and Cardiff via Hereford and Shrewsbury (jointly with the Great Western). Moreover the LMS connects the East and West Coasts by its main line between Liverpool and Manchester and across to Wakefield and Goole, besides having another cross-country main line from Liverpool as far as Leeds. The Irish Mail Route to Ireland via Holyhead and Kingstown or Dublin is LMS throughout, steamers included. By other routes, either exclusively owned or in association with other companies, it reaches the East Coast at Shoeburyness, Cromer, Yarmouth and Lowestoft, the South Coast at Bournemouth, and South Wales at Swansea, passing through Central Wales on the way.

    Access to the Continent is also given by means of the London Midland and Scottish steamship services from Goole; and via Tilbury and Dunkerque to and from France and other European countries.

    There are, indeed, very few English counties, except Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Devon, Cornwall, Durham and Northumberland, and not many in Scotland, which do not include at least a few miles of LMS track, and even some of these parts are visited by LMS vehicles as through trains, including the "Sunny South Special" and the Manchester-Ramsgate trains, or by through coaches, such as those between Aberdeen, Glasgow and Plymouth or between Glasgow and Southampton.

    Consequently, LMS trains and engines are to be seen in nearly all the chief towns of England and Scotland, and its vehicles in many of the others. In the Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester districts; in North Wales and the "Potteries"; in the Lake District and along the Lancashire and Ayrshire Coasts; in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and at Perth and Aberdeen ; and by the Callander and Oban line to parts of the West Highlands, the LMS is either the only or principal railway concerned, or is nearly, if not quite, on equal terms with the London and North Eastern or the Great Western, as the case may be.

    To give an idea of the tremendous traffic worked over the 20,000 miles of track (including all lines, sidings, etc.) owned by the LMS by the aid of nearly 10,000 locomotives, 27,000 passenger train vehicles and 308,000 goods wagons, etc., not to mention electric stock, rail motor-cars, steamers and road vehicles, it may be mentioned that it conveys over 350,000,000 passengers annually, not counting the journeys made by some 300,000 season-ticket holders, and carries Over 163,000,000 tons of freight. The latter includes nearly 100,000,000 tons of coal and coke and 33,000,000 tons of other minerals, leaving 32,500,000 tons for general traffic, largely in light packages which call for a great deal more “handling ’ even than the three times as many tons of coal, coke, etc. To work all this traffic means that about 230,000,000 miles are run by engines or electric trains in the course of twelve months.

    It may be mentioned, further, that the LMS Railway owns ten of the twenty-one "largest" stations in the British Isles, and has a share in another (the Aberdeen Joint), while it owns the Northern Counties Railway in Ireland, as well as having other interests in the Irish Free State and in Northern Ireland. The London Midland and Scottish is, further, a big steamer, dock and hotel-owning railway.

    As a result of the grouping its locomotives have been renumbered, the general system being as follows:—

Numbers :

1 - 4,999
Midland and North Staffordshire ;
5,000 – 9,999
London and North Western ;
10,000 – 13,999
Lancashire and Yorkshire and Furness;
14,000 and above

    A similar system has been adopted for vehicles, both passenger and goods. Engines and rolling-stock belonging to the small lines taken over are numbered with one or other of the big series mentioned. Locomotives are now painted black, with the exception of certain important types of passenger engines, viz.: the "Royal Scot," "Claughton," "L. & Y. 4–6–0," "Prince of Wales," and "4–4-0 Standard Compounds." These engines are painted crimson. Passenger carriages, vans, etc., are also painted crimson-lake. The painting of passenger engines and coaches red follows the tradition of the old Midland Railway, though a great many people regret the disappearance of the familiar white upper panels that were for so long associated with the London and North Western and Caledonian Railways.

— -, The Railway "Big Six", The Wonder Book of Railways, 14th edition

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