Gif of LNWR Emblem
London & North Western Railway Society
About the London & North Western Railway Co.


Until 1923, the London & North Western Railway was the largest railway in Britain. It had been formed in 1846 by the merger of:

Within a few years of its formation the LNWR had built or taken over several other railways. The main line - which we now know as the West Coast Main Line - ran from London Euston to Carlisle where traffic was passed on to its Scottish partner, the Caledonian,for Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Other main lines ran to Holyhead (by mail steamer to Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) or LNWR steamer to Dublin or Greenore), Liverpool, through Manchester to Leeds, to Peterborough and to Merthyr and Swansea in South Wales. Alliances with other companies took the LNWR's distinctive plum and spilt milk liveried carriages to cities such as Bristol, Newcastle, Hull, Harwich and even Brighton, so that few areas would not have seen the LNWR. The railway also handled the Irish Mail for the Government between Euston to Holyhead.
The LNWR was known as the 'Premier Line', disputed by many, but as the largest joint stock company in the United Kingdom, collecting a greater revenue than any other company and having the Liverpool & Manchester as one of its ancestors, it deserved the title.
The company built rolling stock and locomotives at three major centres:

The coaches which the company built for Queen Victoria and her descendants are on display at the National Railway Museum.
The company's locomotives painted 'blackberry black' and coaches in their 'purple lake' livery gave it a distinctive appearance amongst the all red Midland Railway, and the green, chocolate and cream of the Great Western. Unfortunately, few LNWR locomotives have been preserved, as most were withdrawn when in the ownership of the LMS.
After the First World War the railways of Britain were worn out and beginning to suffer from competition from road traffic. The government forced all companies to merge into four large groups from January 1st 1923 - the LMS, LNER, GWR and the SR. The LNWR joined with the Midland, Lancashire & Yorkshire, Caledonian, Glasgow South Western, Highland, North Stafford, Furness and a few smaller railways to form the London Midland & Scottish Railway. So seventy five years of tradition ended. Fortunately, thousands of photographs had been taken since the early days of the LNWR. They remain mementoes of a great railway.