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The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) was the second-largest of the "Big Four" railway companies created by the Railways Act 1921 in Britain. It existed from 1 January 1923 until nationalisation on 1 January 1948, when it was divided into the new British Railways' Eastern Region, North Eastern Region and partially the Scottish Region.

Sir Ralph Wedgwood was the Chief Officer of the LNER for its first 16 years.

Formation

The LNER was formed out of a number of constituent railway companies, the principal of which were:



The total route mileage was . The North Eastern Railway owned the largest route mileage, as compared with the Hull and Barnsley Railway, at just .

The LNER also owned:
  • 7,700 locomotives, 20,000 coaching vehicles, 29,700 freight vehicles, 140 items of electric rolling stock, 6 electric locomotives and 10 rail motor cars
  • 6 turbine and 36 other steamers, and a number of river boats and lake steamers, etc


In partnership with the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS), the LNER was co-owner of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, the UK's biggest joint railway system, much of which competed with the LNER's own lines. The M&GNJR was wholly incorporated into the LNER system in 1936. In 1933, on the formation of the London Passenger Transport Board, the LNER acquired the remaining operations of the Metropolitan Railway Company.

The LNER was the majority partner in the Cheshire Lines Committee and the Forth Bridge Railway Company.

Geographic area

The LNER, as its name suggests, covered the arc of the country between north and east of Londonmarker. It included the East Coast Main Line from London to Edinburghmarker via Yorkmarker and Newcastle upon Tynemarker and the routes from Edinburgh to Aberdeenmarker and Invernessmarker. Most of the country east of the Pennines was the LNER's purview, including the large, flat expanse of East Angliamarker. The LNER's main workshops were in Doncastermarker, with others at Darlingtonmarker and Inveruriemarker.

Ancillary activities

The LNER inherited:
  • 8 canals, including the Ashton; Chesterfield; Macclesfield; Nottingham & Grantham; Peak Forest
  • docks and harbours in 20 locations, including the North East coast ports (Grimsby, Hartlepool, Hull, Immingham, Middlesbrough), some eastern Scottishmarker ports, Harwichmarker, Lowestoft and Londonmarker
  • other wharves, staithes, piers
  • 2 electric tramways
  • 23 hotels
  • a 49% stake in the haulage firm Mutter, Howey & Co. Ltd.


It took shares in a large number of local bus companies, including for a time a majority stake in United Automobile Services Ltd. In Halifaxmarker and Sheffieldmarker, it participated in Joint Omnibus Committees with the LMS and the Corporation.

In 1935, with the LMS, Wilson Line and others it formed the shipping company Associated Humber Lines Ltd.

In 1938 it was reported that the LNER, with 800 mechanical horse tractors, was the world's largest owner of this vehicle type.

Liveries

The LNER used a number of liveries on its trains. Most common were lined apple green on its passenger locomotives (much lighter and brighter than the green used by the Great Western Railway) and unlined black on freight locomotives, both with gold lettering. Passenger carriages were generally varnished teak (wood) finish; the few metal-panelled coaches were painted to represent teak.

Some special trains and A4 Pacific locomotives were painted differently, including silver and garter blue.

Advertising

The LNER covered quite an extensive area of Britain, running trains from London to the north east of England and Scotland. The enforced re-grouping of the railway companies in 1923 meant that former rivals within the LNER, spread across England and Scotland, had to work together. The task of creating an instantly recognisable public image for the LNER went to William M. Teasdale, their first advertising manager. Teasdale was influenced by the philosophies and policies of Frank Pick, who controlled the style and content of the London Underground's widely-acclaimed poster advertising. Teasdale did not confine his artists within strict guidelines but allowed them a free hand. When Teasdale was promoted to Assistant General Manager of the LNER, this philosophy was carried on by Cecil Dandridge who succeeded him and was the LNER's Advertising Manager until nationalisation in 1948. Dandridge was largely responsible for the adoption of the Gill Sans typeface; it was later adopted by British Railways.

The LNER was a very industrial company: hauling more than one-third of Britain's coal, it derived two thirds of its income from freight. Despite this, the main image that the LNER presented of itself was one of glamour, of fast trains and sophisticated destinations.The LNER's advertising campaign was highly sophisticated and advanced compared to those of its rivals. Teasdale and Dandridge commissioned top graphic designers and poster artists such as Tom Purvis to promote its services and encourage the public to visit the holiday destinations of the east coast during the summer.

Chief mechanical engineers

The public face of a railway system is in large part the locomotives and rolling stock in service upon it, and therefore the personalities of the Chief Mechanical Engineers of the LNER impressed their distinctive visions upon the railway. There were three CMEs of the LNER.

Sir Nigel Gresley

Sir Nigel Gresley was the first CME and held the post for most of the LNER's existence, and thus he had the greatest effect on the company. He came to the LNER via the Great Northern Railway, where he was CME. He was noted for his "Big Engine" policy, and is best remembered for his large express passenger locomotives, many times the holder of the world speed record for steam locomotives. LNER Class A4 4-6-2 Pacific locomotive Mallard holds the record to this day. Gresley died in office in 1941.

Edward Thompson

Edward Thompson's short reign (1941-1946) was a controversial one. A noted detractor of Gresley even before his elevation to the post of CME, there are those who interpret many of his actions as being motivated by dislike of his predecessor. Against this it must be said that Gresley's designs had their flaws as well as their brilliance. His record is best served by his solid and dependable freight and mixed-traffic locomotives built under and for wartime conditions. He retired in 1946.

Arthur H. Peppercorn

Peppercorn's career was cut short by nationalisation and was CME for only 18 months. In this short period and in an atmosphere of reconstruction rather than great new endeavours, his only notable designs were his A1 and A2 Pacific express passenger locomotives, most of which were completed after nationalisation. Peppercorn was a student and admirer of Gresley and his locomotives combined the classic lines of Gresley's with the reliability and solidity Gresley's locomotives never quite achieved.

After the Second world war

The company was nationalised in 1948 along with the rest of the railway companies of Great Britain. The London & North Eastern Railway Company continued to exist as a legal entity for nearly two more years, being formally wound up on 23 December 1949.

On the privatisation of BR in 1996, the franchise to run long distance express trains on the East Coast Main Line was initially won by Sea Containers Ltd, who named the new operating company Great North Eastern Railway (GNER), a name and initials deliberately chosen to echo the former LNER.

Gallery

Image:Flying Scotsman in Doncaster.JPG|The most famous of the LNER A1/A3 Class locomotives, A3 4472 Flying ScotsmanImage:Mallard locomotive 625.jpg|A4 Pacific Mallard, world speed record holder for steam tractionImage:4771 departing Derby.jpg|4771 Green Arrow in apple green liveryImage:LNER 4771.jpg|4771 Green Arrow at Toddingtonmarker on the Gloucestershire-Warwickshire RailwaymarkerImage:LNER Signal and Telegraph Department.jpg|An LNER paycheck tag. This would be handed in (and then returned) on payday as proof of identity to receive pay.

See also



References

Notes

  1. Bonavia (1980)
  2. Bonavia (1980)
  3. Bonavia (1980)
  4. Bonavia (1980)
  5. Whitaker (1938)
  6. The Railway Magazine "Main-Line Companies Dissolved", p.73


Sources



Further reading

NB: Many books cover individual LNER topics, and these but general books include:



External links




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