One hundred years have passed from the formation of the largest British railway company – the London Midland & Scottish Railway. This was also the biggest transport concern in the world at the time. The LMSR was able to serve passengers and customers to a high standard up to the Second World War. During the conflict the LMSR made a valuable contribution to the war effort in terms of motive power provision, movement of goods and war materials.
The Glorious Years of the LMS examines the company over the period 1923-1947 using over 250 high-quality black-and-white images. These are split into several sections: locomotives; carriages; war work; road vehicles; stations.
The LMSR’s territory spread across much of England, Scotland and into Wales and the photographs have been taken at a number of locations. These include stations, lineside, sheds and workshops.
Several companies constituted the LMSR, including the London & North Western Railway, Midland Railway, Caledonian Railway, Glasgow & South Western Railway, etc. Locomotives from these are included in the collection, alongside those of Sir Henry Fowler – Royal Scot 4-6-0, 4P 4-4-0, etc. – and Sir William Stanier. The latter’s designs are most associated with the LMSR and include Jubilee 4-6-0, Class 5 4-6-0, 8F 2-8-0, Princess Royal and Coronation Class Pacifics.
The LMSR was an early pioneer of steel-panelled coaching stock and also experimented with different types of carriages – cocktail bar, club car, lounge. Luxurious sets were built for the Royal Scot and Coronation Scot named trains, whilst the company provided new Royal Train saloons in the early 1940s.
At the time of Grouping, road transport was increasing and the LMSR was keen to keep the competition at bay. A fleet of nearly 30,000 vehicles was developed, ranging from horse-drawn drays to vans, lorries and specialised trucks, particularly for containerised traffic. The LMSR also branched into bus services.
The LMSR existed for just 25 years and during that time the company, the officers and employees were able to create a lasting legacy of hard work, achievement and innovation.