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London and North Western Railway

london and north western railway, clements vs london and north western railway
The London and North Western Railway LNWR, L&NWR was a British railway company between 1846 and 1922 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


  • 1 History
  • 2 Successors
  • 3 Acquisitions
  • 4 Locomotives
  • 5 Accidents and incidents
  • 6 Electrification
  • 7 Ships
  • 8 Notable people
    • 81 Chairmen of the Board of Directors
    • 82 Members of the Board of Directors
    • 83 General Managers
    • 84 Locomotive Superintendents and Chief Mechanical Engineers
  • 9 Preservation
  • 10 See also
  • 11 References
  • 12 Further reading
  • 13 External links


LNWR office on The Quay, Waterford, Ireland, 1910 LNWR's initials carved in Portland Stone on one of Euston Station's entrance lodges

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 Birmingham1 The company initially had a network of approximately 350 miles 560 km,1 connecting London with Birmingham, Crewe, Chester, Liverpool and Manchester

The headquarters were at Euston railway station As traffic increased it was greatly expanded with the opening in 1849 of the Great Hall, designed by Philip Charles Hardwick in classical style It was 126 ft 38 m long, 61 ft 19 m wide and 64 ft 20 m high and cost £150,0002 equivalent to £14,030,000 in 20153 The station stood on Drummond Street4 Further expansion resulted in two additional platforms in the 1870s, and four more in the 1890s, bringing the total to 155

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 railway company of its era1

With the Grand Union Railway acquisition of the North Union Railway in 1846, the London and North Western Railway operated as far north as Preston6 In 1859 the London and North Western Railway amalgamated with the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway

When the Lancaster and Preston Junction Railway, amalgamated with Lancaster and Carlisle Railway in 1859 and this combined enterprise was leased to the London and North Western Railway, the company now had a direct route from London to Carlisle7

In 1858 they merged with the Chester and Holyhead Railway and became responsible for the lucrative Irish Mail trains via the North Wales Main Line to Holyhead and handled the Irish Mail8

On 1 February 1859 the company launched the limited mail service, which was only allowed to take three passenger coaches, one each for Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth The Postmaster General was always willing to allow a fourth coach provided the increased weight did not cause time to be lost in running The train was timed to leave Euston at 2030 and operated until the GPO instituted its own post train, wholly of Post Office vehicles, in 18859 On 1 October 1873 the first sleeping carriage ran between Euston and Glasgow, attached to the limited mail It ran three nights a week in each direction On 1 February 1874 a second carriage was provided and the service ran every night9

In 1860 the company pioneered the use of the water trough designed by John Ramsbottom1011 It was introduced on a section of level track at Mochdre, between Llandudno Junction and Colwyn Bay9

The erecting shop at the Crewe Locomotive Works ca 1890

The company inherited a number of manufacturing facilities from the companies with which it merged, but these were consolidated, and in 1862 locomotive construction and maintenance was done at the Crewe Locomotive Works, carriage building was done at Wolverton and wagon building was concentrated at Earlestown

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 known as the West Coast Main Line A ferry service also linked Holyhead to Greenore in County Louth, where the LNWR owned the 26-mile Dundalk, Newry and Greenore Railway, which connected to other lines of the Irish mainline network at Dundalk and Newry12

The LNWR also had a main line connecting Liverpool and Manchester with Leeds, and secondary routes extending to Nottingham, Derby, Peterborough and South Wales13

At its peak just before World War I, it ran a route mileage of more than 1,500 miles, and employed 111,000 people In 1913 the company achieved a total revenue of £17,219,060 equivalent to £1,528,040,000 in 20153 with working expenses of £11,322,16414 equivalent to £1,004,740,000 in 20153

On 1 January 1922, one year before it amalgamated with other railways to create the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, the LNWR amalgamated with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and at the same time absorbed the North London Railway, the Dearne Valley Railway and the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company With this, the LNWR achieved a route mileage including joint lines, and lines leased or worked of 2,70788 miles 4,35791 km1516


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 eg 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


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  • Anglesey Central Railway, 1876
  • Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway partnership with the Midland Railway 1873
  • Aylesbury Railway,17 1846
  • Bedford and Cambridge Railway, 1865
  • Birkenhead Railway, 1861 jointly with GWR
  • Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stour Valley Railway, 1847 the Stour Valley Line
  • Brynmawr and Blaenavon Railway, 1869
  • Brynmawr and Western Valleys Railway, 1902 jointly with GWR
  • Buckinghamshire Railway,18 1847
  • Cannock Chase Railway, 1863
  • Cannock Mineral Railway, 1869
  • Carnarvon and Llanberis Railway, 1870
  • Carnarvonshire Railway, 1870
  • Central Wales Railway, 1868
  • Central Wales and Carmarthen Junction Railway, 1891
  • Central Wales Extension Railway, 1868
  • Chester and Holyhead Railway, 1858
  • Cockermouth and Workington Railway, 1866
  • Conway and Llanrwst Railway, 1867
  • Cromford and High Peak Railway, 1862
  • Denbigh, Ruthin and Corwen Railway, 1879
  • Dundalk, Newry and Greenore Railway, 1869
  • Fleetwood, Preston and West Riding Junction Railway, 1867 jointly with Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
  • Hampstead Junction Railway, 1867
  • Harrow and Stanmore Railway, 1899
  • Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal, 1847
  • Knighton Railway, 1863
  • Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, 1921
  • Lancashire Union Railway, 1883 jointly with Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
  • Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, 1859
  • Leeds, Dewsbury and Manchester Railway, 1847
  • Ludlow and Clee Hill Railway, 1892 jointly with GWR
  • Manchester South Junction and Altrincham Railway, 1849 jointly with Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway
  • Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway, 1862
  • Nerquis Railway, 1866
  • Newport Pagnell Railway, 1875
  • North and South Western Junction Railway, 1871 jointly with the Midland Railway and the North London Railway
  • North London Railway, 1909 NLR retained own Board
  • Northampton and Peterborough Railway, 1846
  • Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne and Guide Bridge Railway, 1862 jointly with the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway
  • Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Railway, 1885 jointly with Midland Railway, Caledonian Railway and Glasgow and South Western Railway
  • Preston and Wyre Railway, 1847 jointly with Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
  • Rugby and Leamington Railway, 1848
  • Rugby and Stamford Railway, 1846
  • St George's Harbour, 1861
  • St Helens Canal and Railway, 1864
  • Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway, 1862 jointly with GWR and West Midland Railway
  • Shrewsbury and Welshpool Railway, 1864 jointly with GWR from 1865
  • Shropshire Union Railways and Canal, 1847
  • Sirhowy Railway, 1876
  • South Leicestershire Railway, 1867
  • South Staffordshire Railway, 1861
  • Stockport, Disley and Whaley Bridge Railway, 1866
  • Trent Valley Railway, 1847
  • Tenbury Railway, 1866 jointly with GWR from 1869
  • Vale of Clwyd Railway, 1867
  • Vale of Towy Railway, 1884 jointly with GWR from 1889
  • Warrington and Stockport Railway, 1859
  • Watford and Rickmansworth Railway, 1881
  • West London Extension Railway, 1859 jointly with GWR, LSWR and LBSCR
  • Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway, 1877 jointly with Furness Railway from 1878
  • Whitehaven Junction Railway, 1866


Illustration of a LNWR passenger locomotive, c 1852 Main article: Locomotives of the London and North Western Railway

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 and incidentsedit

Major accidents on the LNWR include:-

  • On 26 March 1850, the boiler of a locomotive exploded at Wolverton, Buckinghamshire due to the tampering of the safety valves One person was injured19
  • On 30 April 1851 a train returning from Chester Races broke down in Sutton tunnel, and the following train ran into it Six passengers were killed9
  • On 6 September 1851 a train run for the Great Exhibition returning from Euston to Oxford derailed at Bicester and six passengers were killed9
  • On 6 March 1853, the boiler of a locomotive exploded at Longsight, Lancashire Six people were killed and the engine shed was severely damaged19
  • On 27 August 1860 a passenger train collided with a goods train at Craven Arms and one passenger was killed9
  • On 16 November 1860 the Irish night mail ran into a cattle train at Atherstone The fireman of the mail train, and nine drovers in the cattle train were killed9
  • On 11 June 1861, a cast-iron bridge collapsed under a freight train at Leek Wootton, Warwickshire Both engine crew were killed
  • On 2 September 1861 a ballast train came out of a siding onto the main line just past Kentish Town Junction without the signalman’s permission, and an excursion train from Kew ran past the signals and collided with it, resulting in the deaths of fourteen passengers and two employees9
  • On 29 June 1867, a passenger train ran into the rear of a coal train at Warrington, Cheshire due to a pointsman's error which was compounded by the lack of interlocking between points and signals Eight people were killed and 33 were injured
  • On 20 August 1868, a rake of wagons ran away from Llandulas, Denbighshire during shunting operations The wagons sucsequently collided with the Irish Mail at Abergele, Denbighshire Kerosene being carried in the wagons set the wreck on fire Thirty-three people were killed in what was then the deadliest rail accident to have occurred in the United Kingdom
  • On 14 September 1870, a mail train was diverted into a siding at Tamworth station, Staffordshire due to a signalman's error The train crashes through the buffers and ends up in the River Anker, killing three people20
  • In 1870, a North Eastern Railway freight train overruns signals and is in collision with a passenger train at St Nicholas Crossing, Carlisle, Cumberland Five people are killed The driver of the freight train was intoxicated20
  • On 26 November 1870, a mail train is in a rear-end collision with a freight train at Harrow, Middlesex Eight people are killed20
  • On 2 August 1873, a passenger train derailed at Wigan, Lancashire due to excessive speed Thirteen people were killed and 30 were injured
  • On 22 December 1894, a wagon was derailed fouling the main line at Chelford, Cheshire It was run into by an express passenger train, which was derailed Fourteen people were killed and 48 were injured
  • On 15 August 1895, an express passenger train was derailed at Preston, Lancashire due to excessive speed on a curve One person was killed21
  • On 12 January 1899, An express freight train was derailed at Penmaenmawr, Caernarfonshire due to the trackbed being washed away by the sea during a storm Both locomotive crew were killed22
  • On 15 August 1903, two passenger trains collided at Preston, Lancashire due to faulty points23
  • On 15 October 1907, a mail train was derailed at Shrewsbury, Shropshire due to excessive speed on a curve Eighteen people were killed24
  • On 19 August 1909, a passenger train was derailed at Friezland, West Riding, Yorkshire Two people were killed25
  • On 5 December 1910, a passenger train was in a rear-end collision at Willesden Junction, London Three people were killed and more than 40 were injured26
  • On 17 September 1912, the driver of an express train misread signals at Ditton Junction, Cheshire The train was derailed when it ran over points at an excessive speed Fifteen people were killed
  • On 14 August 1915, an express passenger train was derailed at Weedon, Northamptonshire due to a locomotive defect Ten people were killed and 21 were injured
  • On 11 November 1921, the boiler of a locomotive exploded at Buxton, Derbyshire Two people were killed27

Minor incidents include:-

  • In 1900, wagons of a permanent way train carrying sleepers were set on fire by the heat of the sun at Earlestown, Lancashire, destroying a number of them24


Main article: LNWR electric units

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


The company also operated steamers on Windermere Main article: List of London and North Western Railway ships

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 peopleedit

Chairmen of the Board of Directorsedit

  • 1846–1852 — George Glyn, later 1st Baron Wolverton
  • 1852–1853 — Major-General George Anson
  • 1853–1861 — Marquess of Chandos, later 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos
  • 1861 — Admiral Constantine Richard Moorsom
  • 1861–1891 — Richard Moon, Sir Richard Moon from 1887
  • 1891–1911 — The Lord Stalbridge
  • 1911–1921 — Gilbert Claughton, Sir Gilbert Claughton from 1912
  • 1921–1923 — Hon Charles N Lawrence, later Baron Lawrence of Kingsgate

Members of the Board of Directorsedit

  • John Pares Bickersteth28
  • Michael Linning Melville 29
  • Frederick Baynes28
  • John Albert Bright28
  • Ralph Brocklebank28
  • Sir Thomas Brooke, 1st Baronet28
  • Philip Henry Chambres28
  • William E Dorrington28
  • Edmund Faber, 1st Baron Faber28
  • Alfred Fletcher28
  • Samuel Robert Graves30
  • Rupert Guinness, 2nd Earl of Iveagh28
  • Theodore Julius Hare28
  • John Hick31
  • The Hon A H Holland-Hibbert28
  • Sir William Houldsworth, 1st Baronet28
  • J Bruce Ismay28
  • Lieut-Col Amelius Lockwood, 1st Baron Lambourne28
  • The Hon William Lowther28
  • Brigadier-General Lewis Vivian Loyd28
  • Miles MacInnes28
  • Edward Nettlefold28
  • David Plunket, 1st Baron Rathmore28
  • Cromartie Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 4th Duke of Sutherland28
  • Henry Ward28

General Managersedit

  • 1846–1858 — Captain Mark Huish
  • 1858–1874 — William Cawkwell
  • 1874–1893 — Sir 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 Engineersedit

Southern Division:

  • 1846–1847 — Edward Bury
  • 1847–1862 — James McConnell

North Eastern Division:

  • 1846–1857 — John Ramsbottom

NE Division became part of N Division in 1857

Northern Division:

  • 1846–1857 — Francis Trevithick
  • 1857–1862 — John Ramsbottom
LNWR No 1881, a Webb 0-8-0 four cylinder compound – frontispiece from The Railway Magazine June 1903

Northern and Southern Divisions amalgamated from April 1862:

  • 1862–1871 — John Ramsbottom
  • 1871–1903 — Francis William Webb
  • 1903–1909 — George Whale
  • 1909–1920 — Charles Bowen Cooke
  • 1920–1921 — Hewitt Pearson Montague Beames
  • 1922 — George Hughes ex-Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway


  • Sections of the former L&NWR are preserved as the Battlefield Line Railway, Nene Valley Railway and Northampton & Lamport Railway, the latter giving the name Premier Line to its quarterly journal32
  • A section of the former L&NWR line and station buildings are preserved at Quainton near Aylesbury It is administered by the Buckinghamshire Railway preservation Society and houses some original L&NWR rolling stock in the former Oxford Rewley Road station It regularly runs steam trains using various locomotives

See alsoedit

  • Great Northern and London and North Western Joint Railway
  • Nickey Line
  • Croxley Rail Link
  • Rail transport in Great Britain


  1. ^ a b c Ferneyhough, Frank 1975 The history of railways in Britain Reading: Osprey p 111 ISBN 978-0-85045-060-6 
  2. ^ "Opening of the new Grand Station and Vestibule of the London and North-Western Railway" Chelmsford Chronicle British Newspaper Archive 25 May 1849 Retrieved 1 August 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive subscription required help 
  3. ^ a b c UK Consumer Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Gregory Clark 2016, "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present New Series", MeasuringWorthcom
  4. ^ wwwmotcocom – 1862 map, showing position of 1849 station
  5. ^ "Euston Station, London" Network Rail Retrieved 22 February 2013 
  6. ^ "One Hundred Years of British Railways No XI Part II - The first half century The London and North Western Railway" The Engineer: 288–290 12 September 1924 
  7. ^ "One Hundred Years of British Railways No XII Part II - The first half century The London and North Western Railway" The Engineer: 319–321 19 September 1924 
  8. ^ "The Importance of Passenger Traffic" London and North Western Railway Society Retrieved 24 February 2013 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "One Hundred Years of British Railways No XIII Part II - The first half century The London and North Western Railway" The Engineer: 354–356 26 September 1924 
  10. ^ Robbins, Michael 1967 Points and Signals London: George Allen & Unwin page needed
  11. ^ Acworth, J M 1889 The Railways of England London: John Murray page needed
  12. ^ Barrie, D S M 1957 The Dundalk, Newry & Greenore Railway and the Holyhead - Greenore Steamship Service Usk, UK: The Oakwood Press 
  13. ^ "Map of LNWR" London and North Western Railway Society Retrieved 24 February 2013 
  14. ^ "London and North-Western Railway" Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer British Newspaper Archive 21 February 1914 Retrieved 1 August 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive subscription required help 
  15. ^ Reed, MC 1996 The London & North Western Railway Penryn: Atlantic Transport Publishers pp 223–4 ISBN 0-906899-66-4 
  16. ^ Marshall, John 1970 The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, volume 2 Newton Abbot: David & Charles p 256 ISBN 0-7153-4906-6 
  17. ^ Book 0323: The Aylesbury Railway Hertfordshire Genealogy Retrieved 29 December 2010
  18. ^ Banbury To Verney Junction Lnwr Disused-rlysfotopicnet Retrieved 29 December 2010
  19. ^ a b Hewison, Christian H 1983 Locomotive Boiler Explosions Newton Abbot: David & Charles pp 32, 36–37 ISBN 0 7153 8305 1 
  20. ^ a b c Hall, Stanley 1990 The Railway Detectives London: Ian Allan pp 38–40 ISBN 0 7110 1929 0 
  21. ^ Trevena, Arthur 1981 Trains in Trouble: Vol 2 Redruth: Atlantic Books p 7 ISBN 0-906899-03-6 
  22. ^ Trevena, Arthur 1981 Trains in Trouble: Vol 2 Redruth: Atlantic Books pp 15–16 ISBN 0-906899-03-6 
  23. ^ Earnshaw, Alan 1990 Trains in Trouble: Vol 6 Penryn: Atlantic Books p 8 ISBN 0-906899-37-0 
  24. ^ a b Trevena, Arthur 1980 Trains in Trouble Vol 1 Redruth: Atlantic Books pp 16, 24 ISBN 0-906899-01-X 
  25. ^ Hoole, Ken 1982 Trains in Trouble: Vol 3 Redruth: Atlantic Books p 15 ISBN 0-906899-05-2 
  26. ^ Earnshaw, Alan 1991 Trains in Trouble: Vol 7 Penryn: Atlantic Books p 13 ISBN 0-906899-50-8 
  27. ^ Earnshaw, Alan 1993 Trains in Trouble: Vol 8 Penryn: Atlantic Books p 11 ISBN 0-906899-52-4 
  28. ^ 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 
  29. ^ Railway Reminiscences by George P Neele Late Superintendent of the Line of the London and North Western Railway, Morquorquodale & Co, London 1904, Chapter VII
  30. ^ Debretts House of Commons and the Judicial Bench 1870
  31. ^ Unknown 1894 "Obituary, John Hick, 1815-1894" Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 117: 379–380 ISSN 1753-7843 Retrieved 13 November 2015 
  32. ^ Premier Line Northampton and Lamport Railway 26 January 2008 Retrieved 29 December 2010
  • Reed, MC 1996 The London & North Western Railway Penryn: Atlantic Transport ISBN 978-0-906899-66-3

Further readingedit

  • Measom, George 1859, Official Illustrated Guide to the North-Western Railway, London: WH Smith and Son 
  • Steel, Wilfred L 1914, The history of the London & North Western Railway, Railway and Travel Monthly 
  • Darroch, GRS 1920, Deeds of a great railway; a record of the enterprise and achievements of the London and north-western railway company during the great war, John Murray 
  • Head, Francis Bond 1849, Stokers and pokers; or, The London and North-Western Railway, the electric telegraph, and the Railway Clearing-House, John Murray , 1861 edition
  • Findlay, George 1889, The Working and Management of an English Railway 2nd ed 

External linksedit

  • "J Hudson & Co Beaufort whistle, Railway, L&NWR, Kings Whistle, Made by JHudson & Co One of their Best Made models", Whistle Museum image 
  • London and North Western Railway Society , Registered Charity L&NWR Society No 1110210

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