Midland Railway

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Midland Railway
Midland arms.jpg
Midland Railway coat of arms at Derby Station. The wyvern that surmounts it had been used by the Leicester and Swannington Railway. It was the emblem of the rulers of Mercia and was used extensively as an emblem by the Midland.
Dates of operation 1846–1922
Successor London, Midland and Scottish Railway
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The Midland Railway (MR) was a railway company in the United Kingdom from 1844 to 1922, when it became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.

The MR had a large network of lines centred on the East Midlands, with its headquarters in Derby. Initially connecting Leeds with London (St Pancras) via the East Midlands by what is now the Midland Main Line, it went on to connect the East Midlands with Birmingham and Bristol, and with York and Manchester. It was the only pre-grouping railway to own or share lines in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, becoming the third-largest railway undertaking in the British Isles (after the Great Western and the London & North Western), the largest coal haulier, the largest British railway to have its headquarters outside London, and (after the Great Central railway moved its HQ to London in 1907) the only railway serving London not to have its headquarters there and the only Midlands-based railway directly serving Southern England and South Wales.[citation needed]


Midland Railway

The Midland Railway Consolidation Act was passed in 1844 authorising the merger of the Midland Counties Railway, the North Midland Railway, and the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway. These met at the Tri-Junct station at Derby, where the MR established its locomotive and later its carriage and wagon works.

Leading it were the dynamic but unscrupulous George Hudson from the North Midland, and John Ellis from the Midland Counties, a careful businessman of impeccable integrity. From the Birmingham line James Allport found a place elsewhere in Hudson's empire with the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway, though he later returned.

The MR was in a commanding position having its Derby headquarters at the junctions of the two main routes from London to Scotland, by its connections to the London and Birmingham Railway in the south, and from York via the York and North Midland Railway in the north.


Almost immediately it took over the Sheffield and Rotherham Railway and the Erewash Valley Line in 1845, the latter giving access to the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire coalfields. It absorbed the Mansfield and Pinxton Railway in 1847, building the Erewash Valley Line from the latter between Chesterfield and Trent Junction at Long Eaton, completed to Chesterfield in 1862, giving access to the coalfields that became its major source of income. Passengers from Sheffield continued to use Rotherham Masborough until a direct route was completed in 1870.

Meanwhile, it extended its influence in the Leicestershire coalfields, by buying the Leicester and Swannington Railway in 1846, and extending it to Burton in 1849.

The South-West

After the merger, London trains were carried on the shorter Midland Counties route. The former Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway was left with the traffic to Birmingham and Bristol, an important seaport. The original 1839 line from Derby had run to Hampton-in-Arden: the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway had built a terminus at Lawley Street in 1842, and in 1851 the MR started to run into Curzon Street.

The line south was the Birmingham and Bristol Railway, which reached Curzon Street via Camp Hill. These two lines had been formed by the merger of the standard gauge Birmingham and Gloucester Railway and the broad gauge Bristol and Gloucester Railway.

They met at Gloucester via a short loop of the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway. The change of gauge at Gloucester meant that everything had to be transferred between trains, creating chaos, and the C&GWU was owned by the Great Western Railway, which wished to extend its network by taking over the Bristol to Birmingham route. While the two parties were bickering over the price, the MR's John Ellis overheard two directors of the Birmingham and Bristol Railway on a London train discussing the business, and pledged that the MR would match anything the Great Western would offer.[1]

Since it would have brought broad gauge into Curzon Street with the possibility of extending it to the Mersey, it was something that the other standard gauge lines wished to avoid, and they pledged to assist the MR with any losses it might incur.[1] In the event all that was necessary was for the later LNWR to share Birmingham New Street with the Midland when it was opened in 1854, and Lawley Street became a goods depot.

Eastern competition

The MR controlled all the traffic to the North East and Scotland from London. The LNWR was progressing slowly through the Lake District, and there was pressure for a direct line from London to York. Permission had been gained for the Northern and Eastern Railway to run through Peterborough and Lincoln but it had barely reached Cambridge.

Two obvious extensions of the Midland Counties line were from Nottingham to Lincoln and from Leicester to Peterborough. They had not been proceeded with, but Hudson saw that that they would make ideal "stoppers": if the cities concerned were provided with a rail service, it would make it more difficult to justify another line. They were approved while the bill for the direct line was still before Parliament, forming the present day Lincoln Branch and the Syston to Peterborough Line.

The Leeds and Bradford Railway had been approved in 1844. By 1850 it was losing money but a number of railways offered to buy it. Hudson made an offer more or less on his own account and the line gave the MR an exit to the north, which became the start of the Settle and Carlisle line, and it gave the MR a much more convenient station at Leeds Wellington.

Hudson's defection

In spite of the objections of Hudson, for the MR and others, the "London and York Railway" (later the Great Northern Railway) led by Edmund Denison persisted, and the bill passed through Parliament in 1846.

Hudson changed his allegiance and promoted a short line to connect his York and North Midland Railway to Knottingley, ostensibly as a quarry line, that would give the Great Northern an easy entry into York.

His defection incensed the MR's directors. Their rejection of him attracted the attention of others and questions began to be asked about other aspects of his financial affairs. Until the beginning of the century there had simply been no companies with the size and capitalisation of the railways. Company law was still in its infancy, something which many took advantage of. There is no doubt that Hudson had greatly encouraged railway development, but his financial practices had often been dubious. In the end he was discredited and retired to Paris in poverty.

After Hudson's departure, the MR was in financial difficulties. Opposition to the Great Northern bill had cost a fortune, a great deal of maintenance was overdue, and the Lincoln and Peterborough lines were still to be paid for. Added to this, the Great Northern was taking much of the traffic from the North East, particularly as the MR was dependent on the LNWR from Rugby into London.

Thanks to the control that had been exercised by Ellis, there was no impropriety in the company's accounts, and it was due to his business acumen that the MR survived and prospered.

Rather than compete for passengers he set out to concentrate on the coal trade, for in this he had an advantage over both the GNR and the M&SLR. While a number of lines had access to the Yorkshire fields and resisted encroachment by others, the MR had virtually sole access to the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire mines, which were 30 miles or more nearer London.

The Battle of Nottingham

In 1851 the Ambergate, Nottingham, Boston and Eastern Junction Railway completed its line from Grantham as far as Colwick, from where a branch led to the MR Nottingham station. The Great Northern Railway by then passed through Grantham and both railway companies paid court to the fledgling line. Meanwhile, Nottingham had woken up to its branch line status and was keen to expand. The MR made a takeover offer only to discover that a shareholder of the GN had already gathered a quantity of Ambergate shares. An attempt to amalgamate the line with the GN was foiled by Ellis, who managed to obtain an Order in Chancery preventing the GN from running into Nottingham. However, in 1851 it opened a new service to the north that included Nottingham.[2]

In 1852 an ANB&EJR train arrived in Nottingham with a GN locomotive at its head. When it uncoupled and went to run round the train, it found its way blocked by a MR engine while another blocked its retreat. The engine was shepherded to a nearby shed and the tracks were lifted. This episode became known as the "Battle of Nottingham" and, with the action moved to the courtroom, it was seven months before the locomotive was released.

The Euston Square Confederacy

The London and Birmingham Railway and its successor the London and North Western Railway had been under pressure from two directions. Firstly the Great Western Railway had been foiled in its attempt to enter Birmingham by the Midland, but it still had designs on Manchester. At the same time the LNWR was under threat from the GN's attempts to enter Manchester by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway.

The LNWR was led by the brilliant but totally unscrupulous Captain Mark Huish. At first, observing the poor state of the MR finances, he had proposed an amalgamation that Ellis opposed, seeking better terms. He then formed an alliance with the MS&LR and the MR against the GN, which became known as the Euston Square Confederacy.

An agreement was reached whereby passenger traffic was shared and the MR compensated for passengers taken by the GN. Another problem, which arose in 1851, coincided with the Great Exhibition. The GN had just opened and took most of the MR's traffic. The MR retaliated by cutting its fares, resulting in a price war in which journeys were virtually being given away. Gladstone, who was the minister responsible for railways, imposed a traffic sharing scheme between the two lines for journeys from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. In time the MR grew stronger and, when relationships were soured between Huish and the MS&LR, the Confederacy was virtually at an end.

To London

King's Cross 1857 – 1868

An illustration of King's Cross from 1852, shortly before its use by the Midland Railway

In 1850 the MR, though much more secure, was still a provincial line. Ellis realised that if it were to fend off its competitors it must expand outwards. The first step, in 1853, was to appoint James Allport as General Manager and the next was to shake off the dependence on the LNWR to London.

Although a bill for a line from Hitchin into King's Cross jointly with the GN, was passed in 1847 it had not been proceeded with.

The bill was resubmitted in 1853 with the support of the people of Bedford, whose branch to the LNWR was slow and unreliable, and with the knowledge of the Northamptonshire iron deposits.

The Leicester and Hitchin Railway ran from Wigston to Market Harborough, through Desborough, Kettering, Wellingborough and Bedford, then on the Bedford to Hitchin Line, joining the GN at Hitchin for King's Cross. The line began its life in a proposition presented for the shareholders by George Hudson on 2 May 1842 as: "To vest £600,000 in the South Midland Railway Company in their line from Wigston to Hitchin."[3] a full decade before realisation. The delay was partly due to the withdrawal of GN's interest in the competing scheme, the Bedford and Leicester Railway, after Midland purchased the Leicester and Swannington Railway and the Ashby Canal and Tramway,[4] which were to have been the feeder lines. With the competition thwarted there was less rush to have this line as well as its branch lines to Huntingdon (from Kettering) and Northampton (from Bedford) finished. Both these branches were subsequently built by independent companies.

While this took some of the pressure off the route through Rugby, the GNR insisted that passengers for London alight at Hitchin, buying tickets in the short time available, to catch a GNR train to finish their journey. James Allport arranged a seven-year deal with the GN to run into King's Cross for a guaranteed £20,000 a year (£Error when using {{Inflation}}: |end_year=2,022 (parameter 4) is greater than the latest available year (2,019) in index "UK". in 2022),[5]. Through services to London were introduced in February 1858.[6]

St. Pancras 1868

The interior of the Barlow train shed, circa 1870

By 1860 the MR was in a much better position and was able to approach new ventures aggressively. Its carriage of coal and iron – and beer from Burton-on-Trent – had increased by three times and passenger numbers were rising, as they were on the GN. Since GN trains took precedence on its own lines, MR passengers were becoming more and more delayed. Finally in 1862 the decision was taken for the MR to have its own terminus in the Capital, as befitted a national railway.

The new line deviated at Bedford, through a gap in the Chiltern Hills at Luton, reaching London by curving around Hampstead Heath to a point between King's Cross and Euston.

St Pancras, completed in 1868, has remained as a marvel of Gothic Revival architecture, in the form of the enormous Midland Grand Hotel by Gilbert Scott, which faces Euston Road, and the massive wrought-iron train shed designed by William Barlow. Its construction was not simple, since it had to approach through the ancient St Pancras Old Church graveyard. Below was the Fleet Sewer, while a branch from the main line was to run underground with a steep gradient beneath the station to join the Metropolitan Railway, which ran parallel to what is now Euston Road.[7]

To Manchester

The Victorians had a way with words at Rowsley Station, Peak Rail
The Grade II* listed Manchester Central train shed, a northern terminus of the Midland Railway.

From the 1820s proposals for lines from London and the East Midlands had been proposed, and they had considered using the Cromford and High Peak Railway to reach Manchester (See Derby station). The ideas had never reached fruition since the practicality of using cable haulage for passenger trains was always in doubt.

Finally the MR joined with the Manchester and Birmingham Railway (M&BR), which was also looking for a route to London from Manchester, in a proposal for a line from Ambergate. The Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway, it received the Royal Assent in 1846, in spite of opposition from the Sheffield, Ashton-Under-Lyne and Manchester Railway. It was completed as far as Rowsley a few miles north of Matlock in 1849. However the M&BR had become part of the LNWR in 1846, thus instead of being a partner it had an interest in thwarting the Midland.

In 1863 the MR reached Buxton, just as the LNWR arrived from the other direction by the Stockport, Disley and Whaley Bridge Railway. In 1867 the MR began an alternative line through Wirksworth (now the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway), to avoid the problem of the Ambergate line. The section from Wirksworth to Rowsley, which would have involved some tricky engineering, was not completed because the MR gained control of the original line in 1871, but access to Manchester was still blocked at Buxton. At length an agreement was made with the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR) to share lines from a branch at Millers Dale and running almost alongside the LNWR, in what became known as the Sheffield and Midland Railway Companies' Committee.

Continuing friction with the LNWR caused the MR to join the MS&LR and the GN in the Cheshire Lines Committee, which also gave scope for wider expansion into Lancashire and Cheshire, and finally a new station at Manchester Central.

In the meantime Sheffield had at last gained a main-line station. Following representations by the council in 1867 the MR promised to build a through line within two years. To the MR's surprise, the Sheffield councillors then backed an improbable speculation called the Sheffield, Chesterfield, Bakewell, Ashbourne, Stafford and Uttoxeter Railway. This was unsurprisingly rejected by Parliament and the Midland built its "New Road" into a station at Pond Street. Loathed by all who used it, it was rebuilt in 1905 as the present Sheffield station.

Among the last of the major lines built by the MR was a connection between Sheffield and Manchester, by a branch at Dore to Chinley, opened in 1894 through the Totley and Cowburn Tunnels, now the Hope Valley Line.

Competition for coal

The Great Western Railway seemed oblivious to the massive expansion in coal and mineral production that was occurring in South Wales during the second half of the 19th century. The LNWR had already penetrated the area by taking over various small local lines. The MR followed suit and in 1867 took over the Swansea Vale Railway, followed by the Hereford, Hay and Brecon Railway in 1886. These acquisitions were also exploited in the form of a passenger service from Hereford to Swansea that, in conjunction with running powers over the Great Western between Worcester and Hereford, permitted through carriages from Birmingham to Swansea in competition with the Great Western. MR passenger and freight trains also ran on a branch of the Swansea Vale to Brynamman (East).

Meanwhile, in the East Midlands, dominance along the Erewash Valley was being challenged by the GN and the Great Central. In 1878 the GN "Derbyshire Extension" through Derby Friargate opened. This cut directly through the coalfields north of the MR line along the Trent Valley, and in extending to Egginton gave access to Burton-on-Trent and its lucrative beer traffic.

Thus the MR retaliated with lines from Ambergate to Pye Bridge, Basford to Bennerley Junction, and Radford to Trowell. When mining became possible under the limestone to the east, more lines appeared around Mansfield

To Scotland

In the 1870s a dispute with the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) over access rights to the LNWR line to Scotland caused the MR to construct the Settle and Carlisle line, the highest main line in England, to secure access to Scotland.

The dispute with the LNWR was settled before the Settle and Carlisle was built, but Parliament refused to allow the MR to withdraw from the project. The MR was also under pressure from Scottish railway companies, which were eagerly awaiting the Midland traffic reaching Carlisle as it would allow them to challenge the Caledonian Railway's dominance on the West Coast traffic to Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Glasgow and South Western Railway had its own route from Carlisle to Glasgow via Dumfries and Kilmarnock, whilst the North British Railway had built the Waverley Line through the Scottish Borders from Carlisle to Edinburgh. The MR was obliged to go ahead and the Settle to Carlisle opened in 1876.

Later history

Midland locomotive visiting the North Norfolk Railway, once part of the M&GN, which the Midland part owned
St Albans — an 1868 bridge carrying the Midland Railway over the Great Northern Line, closed in 1964, National Cycle Route 61.

By 1870 the MR straddled the country, lines from London and the South West meeting at Derby to travel to Scotland via the North West and the North East. There were now four tracks from London most of the way to Trent Junction. In 1879 these were complemented by the Melton Line via Corby, which continued to Nottingham through Old Dalby, providing Nottingham with an alternative route for London trains north of Kettering.

By the middle of the decade investment had been paid for; passenger travel was increasing, with new comfortable trains; and the mainstay of the line – goods, particularly minerals – was increasing dramatically.

Allport retired in 1880, to be succeeded by John Noble and then by George Turner. By the new century the quantity of goods, particularly coal, was clogging the network. The passenger service was acquiring a reputation for lateness. Lord Farrar reorganised the expresses, but by 1905 the whole system was so overloaded that no one was able to predict when many of the trains would reach their destinations. Crews were spending as much as a whole shift standing at a signal.

At this point Sir Guy Granet took over as General Manager. He introduced a centralised traffic control system, and the locomotive power classifications that became the model for those used by British Railways.

The MR acquired other lines, including the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway in 1903 and the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway in 1912. It had running rights on some lines, and it developed lines in partnership with other railways, being involved in more 'Joint' lines than any other. In partnership with the GN it owned the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway to provide connections from the Midlands to East Anglia, the UK's biggest joint railway. The MR provided motive power for the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway, and was a one-third partner in the Cheshire Lines Committee.



Joint Lines

Accidents and incidents

  • In June 1850, the boiler of a locomotive exploded at Kegworth, Derbyshire.[9]
  • In 1850, a train was in a rear-end collision with an excursion train at Woodlesford station, Yorkshire. The cause was a signal not being lit at night.[10]
  • In 1853, the boiler of a locomotive exploded whilst it was hauling a freight train near Bristol, Gloucestershire.[9]
  • On 28 August 1875, a passenger train overran signals and was in a rear-end collision with an excursion train at Kildwick, Yorkshire. Seven people were killed and 39 were injured.[10]
  • On 11 August 1880, a passenger train was derailed at Wennington, Lancashire. Eight people were killed and 23 were injured.[10]
  • On 19 August 1880, a passenger train stops inside Blea Moor Tunnel, Yorkshire due to a faulty brake pipe. An express passenger train overruns signals and is in a rear-end collision at low speed.[10]
  • On 27 August 1887, an express passenger train overran signals and collided with a freight train that was being shunted at Wath station, Yorkshire. Twenty-two people were injured.[11]
Esholt Junction.
  • On 9 June 1892, a passenger train overran signals and was in collision with another at Esholt Junction, Yorkshire. Five people were killed and 30 were injured.
  • On 3 December 1892, a freight train crashed at Wymondham Junction., Leicestershire, severely damaging the signal box.[12]
  • On 2 September 1898, an express passenger train was derailed at Wellingborough, Northamptonshire by a trolley that had fallen off the platform onto the track. Seven people were killed and 65 were injured.
  • On 24 July 1900, a passenger train was derailed at Amberswood, Lancashire. One person was killed.[13]
  • On 1 December 1900, a freight train was derailed at Peckwash near Duffield, Derbyshire.[14]
  • On 23 December 1904, an express passenger train was derailed at Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire due to excessive speed on a curve. Another express passenger train collided with the wreckage at low speed. Four people were killed.[10]
  • On 19 January 1905, an express passenger train overran signals and was in collision with a passenger train at Cudworth, Yorkshire. Seven people were killed.[11]
  • In June 1907, a luggage train was derailed by trap points at Silkstream Junction after the driver misread signals.[15]
  • On 24 December 1910, an express passenger train was in a rear-end collision with two light engines near Moorcock Tunnel, to the south of Ais Gill summit, due to errors by the signalman at Hawes Junction and the firemen of the light engines. The train was derailed and caught fire. Twelve people were killed and seventeen were injured.
  • On 2 September 1913, a passenger train overran a signal and was in a rear-end collision with another passenger train between Mallerstang and Ais Gill, i.e. to the north of Ais Gill summit. Sixteen people were killed and 38 were injured.


The MR operated ships from Heysham to Douglas and Belfast.[16]

Ship Launched Tonnage
Notes and references
SS Antrim 1904 2,100[17] Built by John Brown & Company at Clydebank, the first of a series of 4 similar ships.

She was the first vessel to use the new facilities at Heysham and made her maiden voyage in September 1904. She was the first cross-channel ship with wireless.
Requisitioned between 1914 and 1919, used mainly for cross channel trooping. Transferred to London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS).
Sold in 1928 to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and renamed Ramsey Town.
Scrapped at Preston in November 1936.[17][18]

SS City of Belfast 1893 1,055[19] Built by Laird Bros. of Birkenhead. Bought from Barrow Steam Navigation Co Ltd in 1907.

In war service named HMS City of Belfast. Transferred to LMS in 1923.
Sold in 1925 to a Greek owner, renamed Nicolaos Togias.
Renamed Kephallina in 1933. Sank on 13 August 1941 off the Egyptian coast.[19][20]

SS Donegal 1904 1,997[21] A sister of Antrim built by Caird & Company of Greenock.

Requisitioned during the First World War as a hospital ship. Torpedoed and sunk on 17 April 1917 near Spithead.[18][21]

PS Duchess of Buccleuch 1888 838 Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company at Govan for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway and named Rouen.

Sold to J. W. and R. P. Little for the Barrow S. N. Company and renamed Duchess of Buccleuch. Served the Barrow-Douglas route.
Absorbed into MR fleet with the takeover of 1907. Sold for scrapping in 1909, the final paddler on the Barrow route.[20]

SS Duchess of Devonshire 1897 1,265[22] Built by Naval & Armament Construction Co., at Barrow for James Little and the Barrow S. N. Company. Taken over by MR in 1907.

Requisitioned for war service and used as an armed boarding vessel. Suffered a boiler explosion in 1919 that killed three people.
Sold in 1928 to Bland Line, Gibraltar, renamed Gibel Dersa and requisitioned again in 1940 based principally at Gibraltar as an accommodation ship.
Sold on to Dalhousie Steam and Motor Ship Co. of London in 1943 and in 1947 to A. Benamin and Co. of Gibraltar. After nine years of inactivity was scrapped in 1949 at Malaga, Spain.[22][23]

SS Londonderry 1904 2,086[24] Built by William Denny and Brothers of Dumbarton, the first ship with Lodge-Muirhead wireless telegraphy.

Requisitioned for trooping in 1914 and in 1923 transferred to the LMS. Sold in 1927 to Angleterre-Lorraine-Alsace, renamed Flamand.
Scrapped at Altenwerder, Germany in 1937.[18][24]

SS Manxman 1904 2,174[25] Built by Vickers, Sons and Maxim Ltd of Barrow-in-Furness. Similar in design to the other 1904 built vessels but slightly longer and faster.

Requisitioned in 1914 for trooping and purchased in 1915 by the Admiralty as HMS Manxman and converted to an aircraft carrier.
Returned to MR in 1919. Sold to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in 1920 and converted to oil burning in 1921. Requisitioned by as HMS Caduceus.
Transferred to Ministry of War Transport in 1945 and worked as a troop carrier in the English Channel. Transferred to British Army of the Rhine (B.A.O.R.) military service as Manxman, carrying troops on the Harwich-Hook of Holland service.
Withdrawn in February 1949, no longer fit for use, scrapped in August 1949 at Preston.[25][26]

PS Manx Queen 1880 989 Built by J. & G. Thomson Ltd of Glasgow for the South Eastern Railway as the Duchess of Edinburgh.

On delivery she failed to perform at the contracted design speed and after a short time in service was returned to her builders. She re-entered service in May 1841 following a compromise agreement between the builder and owner but after only five days in service she broke a paddle wheel, resulting in the owners returning her again to her builders.
Laid up at Folkestone and later Sheerness until purchased by Barrow S .N. Co., which placed her on the Barrow-Douglas service. Renamed Manx Queen in 1887 and transferred to MR following the takeover of Barrow S. N. Co.
Scrapped by J. J. King and Company at Garston in November 1907.[23]

SS Wyvern 1905 232[27] Built as a tug by Ferguson Bros. of Port Glasgow. Used for pleasure excursions from Heysham to Fleetwood until the Second World War. Transferred to London, Midland and Scottish Railway(LMS) in 1923 and British Transport Commission- London Midland Region in 1948.

Scrapped in June 1960.[28]

The MR operated vessels for port maintenance:

Ship Launched Tonnage
Notes and references
SS Laga 1901 562 Dredger built by J and K Smit of Kinderdijk for K.L.Kalis of Sliedrecht.

Purchased by MR in 1905, its first dredger. Transferred to London, Midland and Scottish Railway(LMS) in 1923 and was converted for use as a hopper barge in 1927.
Taken over by British Transport Commission(BTC) in 1948 and sold to Abel and Sons of Liverpool in 1958.
Scrapped in 1968 at Troon.[28]

SS Hessam 1906 645 Dredger built by Wm. Simons and Co. of Renfrew with three Priestman grab cranes.

Transferred to LMS and BTC in 1923 and 1948 respectively. Withdrawn in March 1965 and broken up at Silloth the same year.[28]

SS Red Nab 1908 537 Hopper barge built by Wm Simons and Co. at Renfrew. Her engines had been constructed on a stand-by basis in 1907 and she was built in 1908 she had slightly smaller dimensions to give her more power.

Transferred to LMS and BTC in 1923 and 1948 respectively. Renamed Red Nab ll in 1960 releasing the name to a new build.
Scrapped in Dublin in 1961.[29]

The MR owned several small passenger ferries formerly owned by the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway, with which it amalgamated in 1912, on the Gravesend-Tilbury Ferry. Vessels acquired were: Carlotta, Catherine (blt 1903), Edith (1911), Gertrude, Rose (1901) and Tilbury (1883).[29]


In 1914 all the railways were taken under the control of the Railway Executive Committee and were paid an amount based on their receipts during 1913. All excursion traffic was cancelled. Passenger service and the steamers across the Irish Sea were limited in order to cater for munitions and troops trains, which at times overwhelmed the system. By the end of the war overcrowded trains were running at only half the prewar mileage. The overworked locomotives had not had the benefit of the prewar standard of maintenance, while many of the staff never returned from the battlefront.

The MR had not recovered from this when in 1921 the Government passed the Railways Act, by which it was compulsorily (and uncomfortably) merged with the LNWR, the Lancashire and Yorkshire, the Caledonian, the Glasgow and South Western Railway and minor lines such as the Furness and the North Staffordshire to form the London Midland and Scottish Railway on 1 January 1923.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Vaughan, A., (1997) Railwaymen, Politics and Money, London: John Murray
  2. Anderson, P.H., (1985 2nd ed) Forgotten Railways Vol 2: The East Midlands, Newton Abbot: David and Charles
  3. Stretton 1901, p. 92
  4. Stretton 1901, p. 155
  5. UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2015), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  6. Davies, R.; Grant, M.D. (1984). Forgotten Railways: Chilterns and Cotswolds. Newton Abbot, Devon: David St John Thomas. ISBN 0-946537-07-0, p. 110-111.
  7. http://www.familygrowsontrees.com/research/railways.html
  8. Stretton 1901, p. 348
  9. 9.0 9.1 Hewison, Christian H. (1983). Locomotive Boiler Explosions. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. pp. 35–36. ISBN 0 7153 8305 1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Hall, Stanley (1990). The Railway Detectives. London: Ian Allan. pp. 26, 50–52, 66. ISBN 0 7110 1929 0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 Earnshaw, Alan (1991). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 7. Penryn: Atlantic Books. pp. 4–5, 9. ISBN 0-906899-50-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Earnshaw, Alan (1990). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 6. Penryn: Atlantic Books. p. 6. ISBN 0-906899-37-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Spence, Jeoffry (1975). Victorian & Edwardian Railways from old photographs. London: Batsford. p. 76. ISBN 0 7134 3044 3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Trevena, Arthur (1981). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 2. Redruth: Atlantic Books. pp. 19–20. ISBN 0-906899-03-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Earnshaw, Alan (1993). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 8. Penryn: Atlantic Books. p. 4. ISBN 0-906899-52-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Midland Railway". Simplon Postcards. Retrieved 15 December 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. 17.0 17.1 "1116015". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 15 December 2009. Unknown parameter |subscription= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Haws, Duncan (1993). Merchant Fleets-Britain's Railway Steamers – Eastern & North Western Companies + Zeeland and Stena. Hereford: TCL Publications. p. 118. ISBN 0-946378-22-3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. 19.0 19.1 "1099938". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 15 December 2009. Unknown parameter |subscription= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. 20.0 20.1 Haws 1993, p. 121
  21. 21.0 21.1 "1116018". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 15 December 2009. Unknown parameter |subscription= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. 22.0 22.1 "1099941". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 15 December 2009. Unknown parameter |subscription= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. 23.0 23.1 Haws 1993, p. 122
  24. 24.0 24.1 "1116017". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 15 December 2009. Unknown parameter |subscription= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. 25.0 25.1 "1118603". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 15 December 2009. Unknown parameter |subscription= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Haws 1993, p. 119
  27. "1084974". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 15 December 2009. Unknown parameter |subscription= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Haws 1993, p. 120
  29. 29.0 29.1 Haws 1993, p. 123


  • Truman, P. and Hunt, D. (1989) Midland Railway Portrait, Sheffield : Platform 5, ISBN 0-906579-72-4

Further reading

  • Williams, Frederick Smeeton (1876) The Midland railway: its rise and progress, Strahan & Co.
  • Official Guide to the Midland Railway. London: Cassell & Company. 1894.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Stretton, Clement Edwin (1901). The History of the Midland Railway – via Microsoft Live Search Books.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link] (Stretton is not considered a reliable source. See steamindex.com)
  • Barnes, E. G. (1966), The rise of the Midland Railway, 1844–1874, London: George Allen and Unwin
  • Barnes, E. G. (1969), The Midland main line, 1875–1922, London: George Allen and Unwin, ISBN 0-04-385049-9
  • Talbot, Frederick A (1913). "The Waverley way to the north". Railway Wonders of the World. pp. 541–552.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links