London North Eastern logo



Chief Officer (when formed)

Sir Ralph Wedgewood








1757 Miles (2828km)

The London North Eastern Railway (LNER for short) was one fo the so called 'Big Four' railway companies besides the Great Western Railway, Sourthern Railway and the London Midland Scottish Railway.


The LNER was formed when many different railway companies came together, the list of companies is as follows;

The total route mileage was 6,590 miles (10,610 km). The North Eastern Railway owned the largest route mileage, 1,757 miles (2,828 km) as compared with the Hull and Barnsley Railway, at just 106.5 miles (171.4 km).

The LNER also owned:

  • 7,700 locomotives, 20,000 coaching vehicles, 29,700 freight vehicles, 140 items of electric rolling stock, 6 electric locomotives and 10 rail motor cars
  • 6 turbine and 36 other steamers, and a number of river boats and lake steamers, etc.

In partnership with the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS), the LNER was co-owner of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, the UK's biggest joint railway system, much of which competed with the LNER's own lines. The M&GNJR was wholly incorporated into the LNER system in 1936. In 1933, on the formation of the London Passenger Transport Board, the LNER acquired the remaining operations of the Metropolitan Railway Company. The LNER was also the majority partner in the Chesire Lines Comittee and the Forth Bridge Railway Company

The company was nationalised in 1948 along with the rest of the railway companies of Great Britain. The London & North Eastern Railway Company continued to exist as a legal entity for nearly two more years, being formally wound up on 23 December 1949. On the privatisation of BR in 1996, the franchise to run long distance express trains on the East Coast Main Line was initially won by Sea Containers Ltd., who named the new operating company Great North Eastern Railway (GNER), a name and initials deliberately chosen to echo the former LNER.