LBSCR overhead electric unit as used 1909-29. Photo: O J Morris










1918: Armistice signed at end of war, 11 Nov

1919: Ministry of Transport formed 15 Aug; transport functions of the Board of Trade transferred 23 Sept

1921: Royal Assent given to the Railways Act, 1921 with its provisions for grouping of the existing companies to form four major companies, 19 Aug

1922: amalgamation of L.N.W.R. and L.Y.R.: H. & B.R. taken over by N.E.R.; several companies absorbed by G.W.R., 1 Jan

1923: 123 separate railway companies amalgamated; joint companies continued as such, 1 Jan

: Welsh Highland Railway opened to Portmadoc, 1 June

1924: Harwich-Zeebrugge train ferry service opened 24 April

1925: centenary of the Stockton & Darlington R. celebrated 1-3 July

: first section of S.E.C.R. electrified, 12 July

: Fawley branch opened (S.R.), 20 July

: North Devon & Cornwall J. Light R. opened, 27 July

: Watford branch opened (L.N.E.R./Met. R.), 2 Nov

1926: General Strike, 4-14 May

: forerunner of the 'Golden Arrow' introduced, 12 Sept, all-Pullman from 15.5.29

1928: yellow arms and lights adopted generally for distant signals, Jan

: the first all-steel car trains introduced on the 'Queen of Scots' by the L.N.E.R.; non-stop running inaugurated between Kings Cross and Edinburgh, the world's longest non-stop run, 1 May

: third class sleeping cars introduced by G.W.R., L.M.S. and L.N.E.R., 24 Sept

1929: last overhead electric L.B.S.C.R. service, 21 Sept

1930: completion of Wimbledon-Sutton line (S.R.), 5 Jan

: Corris R. taken over by G.W.R., 4 Aug

: centenary of the Liverpool & Manchester R. celebrated 13-20 Sept

1931: M.S.J.A.R. electrified, 8 May

: L.M.S. adopted upper quadrant signals as standard, 21 July

: diesel traction introduced by the L.N.E.R., December

: G.W.R. commenced installation of A.T.C. equipment on main routes

1932: L.M.S. ran experimental ro-rail bus over ex-S.M.J. line, April-June

: Allhallows branch (S.R.) opened for passengers, 14 May

1933: electrification of the S.R. inaugurated between London and Brighton (and Worthing), 1 Jan

: the first all-steel, all-electric Pullman service introduced by the S.R. on the 'Southern Belle' service, 1 Jan

: the London Passenger Transport Board received Royal Assent, 13 April, established 1 July

1935: the Government announced a major (credit) scheme to electrify and improve the London suburban network, 5 June

: centenary of the incorporation of the G.W.R., 31 Aug

: the 'Silver Jubilee' service inaugurated by the L.N.E.R., the first British streamlined train, trial run on 27 Sept

1936: operation of M. & G.N. line transferred to L.N.E.R., 1 Oct

: Dover-Dunkerque train ferry service opened, London-Paris through trains introduced by the S.R., 14 Oct

1937: the 'Coronation Scot' service inaugurated by the L.M.S., trial run on 29 June

: the 'Coronation' service inaugurated by the L.N.E.R., trial run on 30 June

: operation of Met. R. line trains between Rickmansworth and Aylesbury taken over by L.N.E.R., 1 Nov

: abolition of second class on services other than Continental services, 31 Dec

1938: the L.M.S.R. installed A.T.C. at distant signals on the London-Southend line

: centenary of the Travelling Post Office service celebrated at Euston, 28 March-2 April

: L.N.E.R. Pacific 'Mallard' attained 126mph, 3 July

: centenary of the complete opening of the London & Birmingham R., 17 Sept

1939: Chessington branch (S.R.) completed, 28 May

: the Ministry of Transport took over control of standard gauge railway undertakings; the Railway Executive Committee was formed, 1 Sept

: war declared against Germany, 3 Sept

1940: first class accommodation abolished on the London Transport Metropolitan and District lines, 1 Feb

: travelling postal sorting offices discontinued, 22 Sept

: first class accommodation abolished on London local services, 6 Oct

1945: oil-burning introduced for steam locos

: restaurant and buffet services reinstated (but not on the G.W.R.)

: end of war in Europe, 7 May

: travelling post office services fully reinstated and restaurant car facilities* reintroduced, 1 Oct; *31 Dec on the G.W.R.

: the Government announced proposals for nationalisation of industries, including railways, 19 Nov

1946: L.N.E.R. locomotives renumbered from 13 Jan

: the all-Pullman 'Golden Arrow' service reintroduced by the S.R.,15 April: the 'Yorkshire Pullman' on 4 Nov

1947: the Transport Act providing for the nationalisation of the railways given Royal Assent, 6 Aug

: the last Brunel fan trestle viaducts demolished, at Dare and Gamlyn between Gelli Tarw J. and Dare J.

1948: British railways nationalised and British Transport Commission established, six regions formed for operating purposes, 1 Jan; inter-regional adjustments announced 30 Nov

: inter-regional locomotive exchanges commenced in April

: oil-burning conversion programme abandoned

1949: the administration of the ex-L.T.S. lines transferred from the L.M.R. to the E.R.; other minor changes, 20 Feb

: electrified services inaugurated on the Liverpool St-Shenfield line, E.R., 26 Sept

: double-deck E.M.U.s introduced on the S.Region, 2 Nov

: flat-bottom rail adopted as standard

: new liveries announced

1950: new Standard locomotives announced

: substantial readjustments made to regional boundaries, 2 April

: standard headlight codes for train engines (except S.Region) announced 5 June

: workmen's tickets redesignated 'early morning' tickets in the London area, 1 Oct

1951: the first B.R. standard steam loco built, no 70000 'Britannia' at Crewe Works

1952: workmen's tickets redesignated as above, outside the London area, 1 Sept

1953: East Coast floods caused severance of services at Herne Bay, Purfleet, Benfleet, Harwich, Magdalen Road and on other coastal lines, 31 Jan and 1 Feb

: Railway Executive abolished under the terms of the Transport Act, 1953, 30 Sept

: experimental lifting barriers installed at Warthill level crossing (N.E.Region)

1954: New Woodhead Tunnel opened, 3 June

: electric passenger service inaugurated between Sheffield and Manchester, 14 Sept

1955: British Railways reorganised with the appointment of Regional Boards, 1 Jan

: modernisation scheme for B.R. announced, worth £1200M, 24 Jan

: Railway Clearing House dissolved, 8 April

: Pullman services reintroduced on W.R. lines as the 'South Wales Pullman'- the first since 1929, 27 June

1956: B.T.C. adopted 25 kV A.C. system of electrification; also vacuum brake as standard on freight stock, 6 March

: third class redesignated as second class on B.R., 3 June

: the B.R. system of A.T.C. approved by the Minister of Transport for use with non-electric traction, 30 Nov

: extension of Liverpool St electrification to Southend, E.R., 31 Dec (to Chelmsford 11 June)

1957: diesel-electric multiple units introduced on the S.Region between London and Hastings via Tunbridge Wells, 6 May

: Epping-Ongar (E.R.) line electrified

1958: Platform ticket charge increased from 1d to 2d; the original charge was introduced 1n 1912; 1 Jan

: the first 4-wheel diesel railbus delivered to B.R., 13 Feb

: battery railcar service introduced between Aberdeen and Ballater, Sc.R., 21 April

: B.R. decided to install long-welded rail

1959: electrification of Colchester-Clacton-Walton line, E.R., 16 March

1960: diesel-electric 'Blue Pullman' services introduced on St Pancras-Manchester line, L.M.R., 4 July

: electric services introduced between Crewe and Manchester, L.M.R., 12 Sept

: two tank barges collided with the Severn Bridge and blew up, removing one pair of piers and two spans, causing permanent closure; 25 Oct

: introduction of electric services on the Glasgow suburban lines,7 Nov; temporarily withdrawn from 17 Dec-1 Oct 1961

: electric services introduced on Liverpool St lines to Chingford, Enfield Town, Bishop's Stortford and Hertford East (E.R.), 21 Nov

1961: 'early morning' tickets withdrawn generally outside the London area, 1 Jan

: the first automatic lifting barrier level crossing was installed at Spath near Uttoxeter (L.M.R.), 6 Feb

: last steam train on the Met. R. line, 9 Sept

: electric services introduced on the Fenchurch St-Shoeburyness line, (E.R.), 6 Nov

1962: all 'early morning' tickets withdrawn, 1 Jan

: electric services introduced between Crewe and Liverpool, L.M.R., 1 Jan

: second stage of Clydeside electrification complete, Sc.R., 27 May

: B.R. national timetable introduced in addition to regional ones, 18 June

: centenary of 'The Flying Scotsman' celebrated, 18 June

: Royal Assent given to the Transport Act, 1962, providing for the dissolution of the B.T.C. and reorganisation of the nationalised transport undertakings, 1 Aug

: steam working ceased in East Anglia, 9 Sept

1963: British Railways Board constituted. The Pullman Car Co., whose contract with B.T.C. expired, was wholly nationalised as part of B.R.B. 1 Jan

: 'The Reshaping of British Railways' published under the aegis of Dr R. Beeching, Chairman of B.R.B.

: Tees, Tyne and Healey Mills marshalling yards opened

: ‘Great Train Robbery’, Aberdeen-Euston Travelling Post Office held up with theft of more than £21 million, 8 Aug

1964: Merry-go-round coal trains introduced

: Derby Research Laboratories officially opened, 14 May

: prototype train (XP64) introduced on the 'Talisman' service for 12-month trials, 15 June

: electric services introduced between Crewe and Rugby, L.M.R., 30 Nov

1965: platform ticket charges increased from 2d to 3d, 1 Jan

: new name and livery for 'British Rail' introduced at an exhibition, opened 4 Jan

: Clapham 'A' gantry signalbox collapsed, 10 May

: the last regular steam service left Paddington, 11 June

: the 'Flying Scotsman' service accelerated to 355 minutes, 14 June

: B.R. timetables introduced on an annual basis using the 24-hour clock, 14 June

: steam traction eliminated south of Retford on the E.R., June

: Tinsley marshalling yard opened enabling rationalisation of Sheffield facilities, 29 Oct

: Freightliner service introduced, London-Glasgow, 15 Nov

: introduction of some electric services between Euston and Bletchley (L.M.R.), 22 Nov

: end of regular steam working on W.R. commemorated, 27 Nov

1966: Freightliner service introduced, London-Manchester, 28 Feb

: introduction of full electric service between Euston, Manchester and Liverpool, 18 April

: electrically hauled Manchester Pullman and Liverpool Pullman trains introduced, 18 April

: under 5 per cent of B.R. train-miles now have steam traction, 18 April; W.R. officially abolished steam haulage at the beginning of the year

: further Freightliner services introduced, June-Oct

: Harecastle diversion, Staffs. (L.M.R.) inaugurated providing for electrification of the Stoke-Crewe route, 27 June

: G.C. main line closed (but for two sections), 5 Sept

1967: E.R. and N.E.Region of B.R. merged to form a new Eastern Region with headquarters at York, 1 Jan

: L.M.R. electric services extended to the Birmingham area, 6 March

: Isle of Wight line from Ryde to Shanklin electrified, 20 Mar

: end of steam working on the S.Region, 9 July

: completion of the electrification of the S.Region line from Brookwood-Bournemouth, 10 July

: steam traction eliminated in the N.E. area of the Eastern Region, 4 Nov

1968: steam traction nominally eliminated on B.R. standard gauge lines, 6 May: last service was Preston to Liverpool Exchange, 3 Aug