Category:London and North Eastern Railway

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The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) was formed as part of the amalgamation of 1923, as the second largest of the Big Four companies. Based in King's Cross, it ran up the East Coast, serving Yorkshire, Northumbria and a large portion of Scotland.

Pre-1923 predecessors

1923 overview

The London and North Eastern Railway (see map), in extent the second largest of the four groups, possesses a distinctive character of its own, derived from that of its principal components. Of these the strongest was undoubtedly the North Eastern. Possessing a compact territory in which it had practically no competition, carrying a freight, and especially mineral, traffic of great value and intensity, it had long been conducted with conspicuous ability and enterprise, contracting practically no alliances and occupying financially a leading position among British railways. First acquiring the relatively small but strategically important Hull and Barnsley system, the North Eastern took the lead in the amalgamation negotiations for the group, as did the North Western in the other group. The other constituents in England were the three "Greats" — the Great Central, Great Eastern, and Great Northern — which before the war had already entered into a close working agreement. All three were trunk lines from London, the Great Central being the last to reach the metropolis, and only just beginning to reap the fruits of this somewhat costly development. The Great Eastern had very heavy suburban traffic and also served the agricultural and other industries and coast resorts of the Eastern counties. The Great Northern, besides tapping the principal industrial centres, formed the main portion of the East Coast route to Scotland. The East and West Coast routes respectively are now provided by the two premier groups. The Scottish constituents are the important North British system and the Great North of Scotland Railway. The Great Northern, North Eastern and North

British form a continuous main route through the industrial north to Scotland, carrying especially a dense iron, steel, coal and other heavy freight traffic, and the system has also the advantage of two other trunk routes via the Great Central and Great Eastern, There are also about 300 miles of canals. The total route mileage of line is about 6,600 miles.

The company claims to be the largest dock-owning railway in the world, possessing 38 docks with 38 miles of quays, largely equipped with the most modern shipping appliances. Among its more important docks and harbours are those of Grimsby, Harwich, Hull, Hartlepool, Immingham, Lowestoft, Methil, Middlesbrough, South Shields, and Sunderland. On the marine side of its undertaking, as the London Midland and Scottish concentrates on the Irish routes and certain river and lake traffic, so the London and North Eastern naturally devotes special attention to its Continental connections, running steamer services to Holland, Belgium, and Germany, via Harwich, Grimsby, Immingham, Hull and other ports. For this service it maintains six turbine vessels and 16 other large steamships, besides a number of smaller boats. The company also owns over a score of hotels.

The locomotive, carriage and wagon works of the system are at York, Darlington, Shildon, Doncaster, Gorton and Dukinfield (Manchester), Stratford, Cowlairs (Glasgow) and Inverurie. The North Eastern has long pursued a progressive policy in electrical operation and electrification.

The following leading statistics will compare with those given for the L.M. & S. Company.
The total capital of the company is about £350 millions. For 1921, the gross receipts from railway operation only were £90,000,000 ; the total expenditure on railway working, £78,500,000 ; and the net receipts, including all items, £14,500,000. The total passenger traffic for the year, apart from journeys represented by 227,000 season tickets, was 232,000,000. The freight traffic included general merchandise, 19,000,000 tons ; coal, coke and other fuel, 49,000,000 tons ; other minerals, 16,000,000 tons; and live stock, 6,200,000 . Proportionately, this will be seen to be heavier than the L.M. & S. figures, and a considerable share of it is contributed by the North Eastern traffic.

The rolling-stock owned by the company includes 7,700 steam locomotives, 20,000 coaching vehicles, 297,000 freight vehicles and 16,500 service vehicles. There are also 140 electric motor and trailer coaches and 13 electric locomotives: others are being built. In 1921 the total engine-miles run, including shunting, were : steam, 132,000,000 miles ; electric, 879,000 miles.

The principal headquarters of the company are at Marylebone Station, London, and at York.

The locomotives

The LNER was known for its fast express thoroughbreds, and in obtaining Sir Nigel Gresley as Chief Mechanical Engineer from the Great Northern Railway. It also inherited the new A1 Pacific class. 4472 Flying Scotsman is the famous survivor of this type of express engine, and is perhaps the second locomotive in history to achieve a speed of 100 mph.

During the 1930s, Gresley designed a new class of streamlined Pacific called the A4. Designed to haul the Silver Jubilee service from King's Cross to Newcastle, the first of its kind, 2509 Silver Link, set a brief land speed record, and made the journey in the unprecedented 3 hours every day of its life. Some later A4s were painted in garter blue to haul the LNER's Coronation express train, which was known for its luxury "beaver tail" observation car at the rear of the train. It was in 1938 that the A4 4468 Mallard set a world speed record of 126 mph, which has never been beaten by a steam locomotive.

During the war, the quest for speed stopped, and the LNER found itself an occasional target of bombing raids. The A4 4469 Sir Ralph Wedgwood was infamously destroyed in an attack on the LNER shed in York, and the National Railway Museum is now built on the site of the tragedy.

Just before nationalisation, the LNER renumbered all its locos from 1 onwards. This led to some considerable difficulty for trainspotters when British Rail then added 60000 to every number, leaving every loco with an entirely different number to how they were remembered before the war!

After the end of steam, the LNER retained a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts. "Flying Scotsman" is regarded as the most famous locomotive in the world, and the NRM has devoted millions of pounds to bringing it back into steam for many years. Similarly, six of the A4 Pacifics were preserved all across the world, and in 2013 all of them were reunited in York in what was referred to as the Great Gathering. To commemorate this, Hornby released models of all the surviving locos shortly afterwards.

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