- Grand Junction Railway
The Grand Junction Railway (GJR) was an early railway company in the
United Kingdom, which existed between 1833 and 1846. The line built by the company was the first trunk railwayto be completed in England, and arguably the world's first long-distance railway.
Authorised by Parliament in 1833 and designed by
George Stephensonand Joseph Locke, it opened for business on 4 July 1837, running for 82 miles (132 km) from Birminghamthrough Wolverhampton(via Perry Barrand Bescot), Stafford, Crewe, and Warrington, then via the existing Warrington and Newton Railwayto join the Liverpool and Manchester Railwayat a triangular junction at Newton Junction. The GJR established its chief engineering works at Crewe, moving there from Edge Hill, near Liverpool.
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, Manchesterand London. The route between Curzon Street station and Vauxhall primarily consisted of the Birmingham Viaduct. It consisted of 28 arches, each convert|31|ft|m|0|lk=on wide and convert|28|ft|m|0 tall and crossed the River Rea. [cite book| first=E.C. |last=Osborne |coauthors=W. Osborne |title=Osborne's guide to the Grand Junction, or Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester Railway |pages=101-2 |year=1838]
It was on this railway that the sorting of mail en route was first done. Mail was first sorted in a converted horse-box, in January 1838, at the suggestion of Frederick Karstadt, a Post Office surveyor. Karstadt's son was one of two mail clerks who did the sorting. [cite book|author=Johnson, Peter|title=The British Travelling Post Office|publisher=
Ian Allan|location=London|year=1985|isbn=0-711-01459-0|pages=p. 13] Later, carriages had a net attached, for catching mail bags at intermediate stations without stopping the train.
In 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 Railwayand the Caledonian Railway. In 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.
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 the London and Birmingham Railway and
Manchester and Birmingham Railwaycompanies to became the London and North Western Railwayin 1846, and the London Midland and Scottish Railwayin 1922.
The line today
Today, the lines which made up the GJR form the central section of the
West Coast Main Line.
Locomotives of the GJR
Locomotives of the London and North Western Railway"One locomotive "Columbine" has been preserved at the Science Museum (London). This was GJR No. 49 and LNWR No. 1868 [http://www.flickr.com/photos/61132483@N00/239568722]
The GJR in popular culture
*In the 2007 adaptation of "Cranford", a (fictitious) railway line owned by the Grand Junction Railway is the subject of gossip when the railway line bypasses the village of Cranford.
Grand Junction Railroad(Boston, Massachusetts)
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