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Sanctioned in 1836, the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) began operating on June 20th, 1839 with a train service from a temporary terminus at Mile End to Romford, and working to a gauge of five feet.
The railway was to have run from London to Norwich and Yarmouth but only reached Colchester. It had a temporary station in Devonshire-street, whence the portion to Romford was opened on June 28th, 1839. The terminus at Shoreditch (later renamed Bishopsgate) was brought into use on June 30th, 1840, on which day the line was carried to Brentwood, and on March 29th, 1843, on to Chelmsford. The line was subsequently extended to the 51 miles between London and Colchester.
Between September and October 1844 the gauge was converted to standard gauge (4′ 8.5″)
1862 Amalgamated with others to form the Great Eastern Railway.
The railway is notable as the first company to utilise a two-wheel locomotive leading bogie or pony truck in 1859, using the design of American inventor Levi Bissell