Superseding agency British Transport Police
|Date of operation 31 December 1947|
|Dates of operation 1 January 1923–
31 December 1947|
Predecessor Great Eastern Railway Great Central Railway Great Northern Railway Great North of Scotland Railway Hull and Barnsley Railway North British Railway North Eastern Railway and others
Track gauge 4 ft 8 ⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
Length 6,590 miles (10,610 km)
Successors Eastern Region of British Railways, Scottish Region of British Railways
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 operated from 1 January 1923 until nationalisation on 1 January 1948. At that time, it was divided into the new British Railways' Eastern Region, North Eastern Region, and partially the Scottish Region.
- Geographic area
- Accidents and incidents
- Ancillary activities
- Chief mechanical engineers
- Sir Nigel Gresley
- Edward Thompson
- Arthur H Peppercorn
- After the Second World War
- Cultural activities
Sir Ralph Wedgwood was the Chief Officer for its first 16 years.
The principal constituents of the LNER were:
The total route mileage was 6,590 miles (10,610 km). The North Eastern Railway had the largest route mileage, 1,757 miles (2,828 km), the Hull and Barnsley Railway just 106.5 miles (171.4 km).
The LNER owned:
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, much of which competed with the LNER's own lines. The M&GNJR was incorporated into the LNER 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.
The LNER covered the area north and east of London. It included the East Coast Main Line from London to Edinburgh via York and Newcastle upon Tyne and the routes from Edinburgh to Aberdeen and Inverness. Most of the country east of the Pennines was within its purview, including East Anglia. The main workshops were in Doncaster, with others at Darlington, Inverurie and Stratford, London.
The LNER inherited four of London's termini: Fenchurch Street (ex-London and Blackwall Railway; King's Cross (ex-Great Northern Railway); Liverpool Street (ex-Great Eastern Railway); and Marylebone (ex-Great Central Railway). In addition, it ran suburban services to Broad Street (London, Midland and Scottish Railway) and Moorgate (Metropolitan Railway, later London Transport).
Accidents and incidents
The LNER inherited:
It took shares in a large number of bus companies, including for a time a majority stake in United Automobile Services Ltd. In Halifax and Sheffield, it participated in Joint Omnibus Committees with the LMS and the Corporation.
In 1935, with the LMS, Wilson Line of Hull 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.
The LNER operated a number of ships.
The most common liveries were lined apple green on 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-grey and garter blue.
The LNER covered quite an extensive area of Britain, from London through East Anglia, the East Midlands and Yorkshire to the north east of England and Scotland. The 1923 grouping meant that former rivals within the LNER had to work together. The task of creating an instantly recognisable public image went to William M. Teasdale, the 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. William Barribal designed a series of bold Art Deco posters in the 1920s and 1930s. When Teasdale was promoted to Assistant General Manager, this philosophy was carried on by Cecil Dandridge who succeeded him and was the Advertising Manager until nationalisation in 1948. Dandridge was largely responsible for the adoption of the Gill Sans typeface, later adopted by British Railways.
The LNER was a very industrial company: hauling more than a third of Britain's coal, it derived two thirds of its income from freight. Despite this, the main image presented was one of glamour, of fast trains and sophisticated destinations. Advertising was highly sophisticated and advanced compared with 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 in the summer.
Chief mechanical engineers
The public face of a railway is in large part its locomotives and rolling stock, and the personalities of the Chief Mechanical Engineers impressed their distinctive visions upon the railway. There were three CMEs:
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'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 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 he 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 the A1 and A2 Pacific express passenger locomotives, most 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 they 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. It 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 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 LNER.
During the 1930s, the LNER Musical Society comprised a number of amateur male-voice choirs, based at Doncaster, Leicester, Huddersfield, Peterborough, Selby and elsewhere, which annually combined for a performance in London under their musical director Leslie Woodgate.