Talk:List of early British railway companies

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I have created this list since it is reasonable to assume that few of these railways will ever appear on the Category:Early British railway companies list: the whole point is that, since almost all of the became swallowed up by the big companies - and often in a very few years - it would seem to be pointless to write articles about all of them.

These are only the railways I have so far discovered: the Railway Year Book only includes a selection for each main railway company. Note that the LNWR had 45 of them! Many articles and books on the principal lines include more; and it may well be that other Wiki folk can add to this list.

I have a feeling that the Category I mentioned above ought to be renamed - eg Early British railway companies (1800-1860) - although I am a little dubious about that arbitrary cut-off date: amalgamations continued well into the 1870s (and later!!!) Peter Shearan 10:41, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)

as a further thought on my last remarks: the cut-off date is certainly a stumbling block as far as many of the pre-gouping companies are concerned, since, par example, the constituent parts of the North Staffordshire Railway continued to amalgamate with smaller companies until well into the twentieth century, as were the Cambrian Railways. Many of the companies were simply set up to do just that: in very many cases the larger railway were behind the new one, and provided rolling stock to run the railway from its opening day. There is no real logic to it: I think that any so called independent railway in existence before the Grouping ought to be considered as early. A glance at my article List of early British railway companies will show how many there were, and to whom they were eventually joined; Peter Shearan 09:08, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I am now absolutely convinced that the cut-off date is wrong. There is no distinct watershed when railway openings became fewer and as I said above many were still being opened well after the 1850s. The real point, as I see it, is that any railway opened before 1923 was an early railway and most were part of one the main line companies at that date. No-one seems to have yet taken me up on the point, and until I hear otherwise I shall now put in all pre-1923 railway openings on this list.

Peter Shearan 14:03, 3 May 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've been adding the HR components, and it has become clear that we need to do some more structuring. Two problems are showing up in the current layout - firstly lines that opened in stages, the Dingwall & Skye is a classic, opening for goods on one date, passengers on another and requiring an extension act to finish the line as powers for one part had lapsed.

The second problem is how to discuss more generally what the constituent companies did while they were still independent and how the merger came about. Relationships between some companies were decidedly complex, especially those that came to form the GE.

4973 15/5/05

PS - another thing -- where did you find out about the Nairn and Keith. This does not appear anywhere in my sources and seems to be just a section of the route built by the IAJR !


I cannot answer your query direct since you haven't told us who you are!!
I agree with your comment about restructuring. The article came about because I had discovered in Wikicities that someone was attempting to do just this - and I could see the enormity of the task. I only wanted to give a skeleton of what went on when the railways were first being built, and not to try to delineate each part of each railway's history. I can see what you are saying though. The "railways" named in many of the Acts of Parliament had to be named in a legal sense, even if (as often happened so far as I can make out) they were being put forward by existing companies. One thought I have had, now that it has grown to this extent, is to have each main heading separately (instead of the sections I have now), so that it will be easier to edit.
the other point moving on from this is the ephemeral nature of many of the lines, so to give them separate articles would be very time-consuming and time-wasting (too many stubs would result!). That is why I have put them under major companies: a note about them ought to appear in the article of that company, I think - would that answer your comment about the opening in stages?
I am worried that the article could start to be over the limit for size!
your PS - the 1912 Railway Year book states: "The HR originated with the Inverness and Nairn Railway .... A railway from Nairn to Keith was opened in 1858, and amalgamated with the former under the name of the IAJR, three years later" (the original gives full names of course). So it was, as you say, part of the IAJR, but earlier according to that source.
I have looked further, however, and found in an article in Railway Magazine for November 1955 a different story - more comprehensive anyway. You may have it? If not I can quote what it says. Thanks for your interest! Peter Shearan 19:48, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

S & D[edit]

I am interested that the Somerset Central, the Dorset Central, the Somerset and Dorset Railway, and the SDJR don't (as far as I can see) rate a mention in this list. Whilst I am not an editor, I refer you to "The Somerset & Dorset Railway" by Robin Atthill, with contributions by O S Nock as a good source (and a good read). David Grierson (talk) 05:01, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A very good point & a good book, I have a copy beside me.
It (they) will be added. I think the problem was the way the list was produced in the first place. The S&D was a Joint Railway and it appears in the Category:British joint railway companies. However, at the 1922 Grouping, ownership not pass to one of the "four" big companies, the line remained independent until Nationalisation, in 1948, when it came under the joint control of the Midland and the LSWR - later LMS & SR.Pyrotec (talk) 21:36, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have conflicting versions of the precise order here. Much online information says that the L&Y absorbed the M&B separately, but some searches through Google Books reveal writings that say that the M&L amalgamated with the M&B, and then became the L&Y. Pages 147-148 of this book states so. Does anyone know for sure which order is correct? Parrot of Doom (talk) 11:02, 8 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm still trying to digest what is actually being said, but Lewin, Grote Henry (1936). The railway mania and its aftermath;1845-1852. London: The Railway Gazette. (David & Charles reprint, 1968), talks about discussions between the "Manchester, Bolton and Bury" and the M&LR in 1845; and the merger between the two taking place in 1846.
Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0049-7. OCLC 19514063. CN 8983.states that the adsorption of the M, B, B Canal Navigation & Railway by the M&LR was authorised by Act of 18 July 1846. Pyrotec (talk) 11:43, 8 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If this is the case, there are several instances on Wikipedia where history needs correcting. This article for instance, shows the constituent railways of the L&Y - but if the M&L had already absorbed some of those railways, should they be shown in the list as this may give the impression that they were still separate entities? Ashton, Stalybridge and Liverpool Junction Railway says nothing of the M&L. I hesitate to interfere with such articles as my knowledge of railways is extremely limited. Parrot of Doom (talk) 14:19, 8 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for these comments. You may well be right, not all wikipedia's articles are accurate, reliable, or even referenced (i.e verifiable). The Ashton, Stalybridge and Liverpool Junction Railway is a stub-class low-importance article; which presummably uses a 1914 pre-grouping diagram as a "source" of ownership of railway lines. Please add any articles that you regard as suspect, and we will try and bring them up to standard; but it will take time. Pyrotec (talk) 14:34, 8 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]