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Grand Junction Railway

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The Grand Junction Railway (GJR) was an early railway company in the UK, which existed between 1833 and 1846. The line built by the company was one of the first railway lines to be built in England, and arguably the world's first long-distance railway.

It ran from the Warrington and Newton at Warrington to Birmingham, 78 miles. It was not only the most ambitious railway scheme up to that time sanctioned, but it was designed to interlink Liverpool, Manchester and Preston with Birmingham, and thence, by the London and Birmingham with the Metropolis.

This last was not part of the original scheme, and it was not until the following year (1834) that a junction was proposed with the London and Birmingham with, also, a branch to Wolverhampton.


1825 February 7th. Isaac L. Goldsmid, John Plummer M.P. and W. Peatt Litt are shown as Directors. [1]

1832 John Moss appointed Chairman of the company and the management transferred to Liverpool

1833 Authorised by Parliament on the 6th May and designed by George Stephenson and Joseph Locke

1834 A Bill obtained to purchase the Warrington and Newton Railroad, later to become the Warrington and Newton Railway to form a junction with the Liverpool and Manchester Railway

1836 Viaduct over the River Weaver completed and opened by Heyworth, a director of the company

1837 It opened for business on July 4, 1837, running for 82 miles from Birmingham through Wolverhampton (via Perry Barr and Bescot), Stafford, Crewe, and Warrington, then via the existing Warrington and Newton Railway to join the Liverpool and Manchester Railway at a triangular junction at Newton Junction. The GJR established its chief engineering at the Crewe Works, moving there from Edge Hill, near Liverpool.

1837 September 7th. 5th AGM held with John Moss as Chairman, Chorley as Treasurer and Secretary and Joseph Locke as Engineer-in-Chief. Transcript available. [2]

Shortly after opening with a temporary Birmingham terminus at Vauxhall, services were routed to and from Curzon Street Station, which it shared with the London and Birmingham Railway (LBR) whose platforms were adjacent, providing a link between Liverpool, Manchester and London.

1838 It was on this railway that the sorting of mail en route was first done. On a trip of the Flying Mail between Birmingham and Liverpool, the mail was sorted and processed by clerks riding in a specially-fitted carriage that had had tables and pigeonhole-boxes installed. The car also had a net for catching mail bags at interim stations without stopping the train.

1838 Officers of the company are: John Moss of Liverpool, Chairman; Charles Lawrence of Liverpool, Deputy Chairman; J. R. Chorley of Liverpool, Treasurer; Samuel Eborall, Chief Agent at Birmingham amd G. Baker, Chief Agent at Manchester.

1840 Appointed William Buddicom as locomotive superintendent

1840 the GJR absorbed the Chester and Crewe Railway shortly before it opened. Seeing itself as part of a grand railway network, it encouraged the development of the North Union Railway which took the tracks onward to Preston, and it also invested in the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway and the Caledonian Railway.

1843 The locomotive, carriage and wagon shops of the Grand Junction Railway were removed from Edge Hill and established at Crewe under Francis Trevithick, the son of Richard Trevithick. They were known as the 'Old Works' (1924), occupying 2.5 and 3 acres. [3]

1845 the GJR merged with the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and consolidated its position by buying the North Union Railway in association with the Manchester and Leeds Railway.

1846 The GJR was very profitable, paying dividends of at least 10% from its opening and having a final capital value of over £5.75 million when it merged with two other companies to became the London and North Western Railway.

1853 On 10th June, the rail mill was opened and in the same year, the wagon shops at Earlestown, near Newton-le-Willows, were established.

1857 The locomotive work hitherto done at Wolverton was transferred to Crewe, which became the locomotive and carriage shops for the whole of the London and North-Western system.

1859 The carriage work was transferred to Birmingham.

1862 The carriage work transferred to Wolverton, and in April John Ramsbottom became the locomotive superintendent for the whole of the system.

1864 The steel works were opened.

1871 F. W. Webb succeeded Ramsbottom as locomotive superintendent.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Monday, Feb 07, 1825
  2. Osbourne's Guide to the Grand Junction Railway. Published 1838. p44.
  3. The Engineer 1924/09/12
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • Osbourne's Guide to the Grand Junction Railway. Published 1838