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Circa 1852 illustration of a LNWR passenger locomotive.
The London and North Western Railway (LNWR, L&NWR) was a railway company of the United Kingdommarker which existed between 1846 and 1922. It was created by the merger of three railway companies - the Grand Junction Railway, the London and Birmingham Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway. During 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 Linemarker.


The LNWR described themselves as the 'Premier Line'. Though disputed by many, it may be thought that it deserved this title because the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the first passenger railway in the world, was one of its ancestors through its merger with the Grand Junction Railway.

As the largest joint stock company in the United Kingdommarker, it collected a greater revenue than any other company. It served some of Britain's largest cities: Birminghammarker, Leedsmarker, Liverpoolmarker, Londonmarker, Manchestermarker, and (through co-operation with the Caledonian Railway) Edinburghmarker and Glasgowmarker. It also handled the Irish Mail for the Government between Euston and Holyheadmarker.


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 Oxfordmarker to Birmingham. The company initially had a network of approximately , connecting London with Birmingham, Crewe, Chester, Liverpool and Manchester.


The LNWR became a constituent of the London, Midland and Scottish (LMS) railway when the railways of Great Britainmarker 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 (eg Peterboroughmarker to Northamptonmarker and Cambridgemarker to Oxfordmarker), but others were developed as part of the Inter City network, with the main lines from London to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Carlisle electrified in the 1960s and 1970s with trains now running up to 125 mph. Other lines survive as part of commuter networks around major cities such as Birmingham and Manchester.

Minor lines



Main article: Locomotives of the London and North Western Railway
The LNWR's main engineering works were at Crewe (locomotives) and Wolvertonmarker (carriages and wagons). The locomotive livery is described as 'blackberry black'.


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

Notable people

Chairmen of the Board of Directors

General Managers

  • 1846–1858 — Captain Mark Huish
  • 1858–1874 — William Cawkwell
  • 1874–1893 — George Findlay
  • 1893–1908 — Frederick Harrison
  • 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

Southern Division:

North Eastern Division: NE Division became part of N Division in 1857.

Northern Division:

Northern and Southern Divisions amalgamated from April 1862:


See also


  • The London & North Western Railway by M C Reed (1996) ISBN 0-906899-66-4

External links

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