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British Industrial History

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London and Blackwall Railway

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of John Street, Crutched Friars, London

This six mile line was originally the Commercial Railway but took the new name in 1839. It started out as a line worked by cable and gravity. The company owned shares in the Millwall Extension Railway and some other lines in the Docks. [1]

1836 The company was incorporated as the Commercial Railway. The Blackwall Railway was originally worked by ropes. That was done on the advice tendered on May 17th, 1836, by Robert Stephenson to the House of Commons Committee which considered the Bill for the railway. He said that he and his father deprecated the use of locomotives in towns on account of the danger of fires from sparks. On trains starting from the London terminus there were two carriages for Blackwall and one each for the intermediate stations. The latter carriages were detached in succession as they arrived at their destinations and were re-attached on the return journey.[2]

1839 Change of name.

1839 The electric telegraph was used on the London and Blackwall.

1840 The railway opened between Minories and Blackwall on July 6th, 1840, and extended from Minories to Fenchurch-street on August 2nd, 1841.

1840 Owned 3 paddle steamers which operated from the new Gravesend Pier.

A few years later the company withdrew its steamers and transferred the business to the Star Co[3]

A branch from Stepney to Bow was brought into service soon after it had been inspected by the Board of Trade on December 21st, 1848, and thereby a junction was made with the Eastern Counties Railway and with the line that later was to be known as the North London Railway and with a branch to Haydon-square, on May 1st, 1853. [4]

In 1850 powers were given to change the gauge from one of 5ft. to the standard gauge and for locomotive power to be substituted for the cable traction.

1854 The London, Tilbury and Southend Railway was a joint venture between the London and Blackwall Railway and the Eastern Counties Railway. [5]

1866 The line, 7.25 miles in length, was leased to the Great Eastern Railway from January 1st for 999 years. [6]

1923 Became part of London and North Eastern Railway. [7]

1926 The London and Blackwall Railway effectively closed after the cessation of passenger services east of Stepney.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Encyclopedia of British Railway Companies by Christopher Awdry. Published 1990
  2. The Engineer 1924/11/14
  3. The Engineer 1880/03/26
  4. The Engineer 1924/11/14
  5. [1] Wikipedia
  6. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  7. [2] Wikipedia