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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 9 (December 1, 1938)

London's First Main Line Railway

London's First Main Line Railway.

Yet another link with Victorian travel has been afforded by the celebration of the centenary of London's first mainline railway—the London and Birmingham page 34 page 35 system. Actually, the first sections of this vital rail connection were opened in 1837, but it was not until the following year that throughout working began. Robert Stephenson was the London and Birmingham Company's engineer, and a feature of the construction was the enormous amount of excavation undertaken in order to keep gradients down to a minimum. Euston Station, London, to-day possesses numerous relics of the old “L. & B.,” among which may be noted the world-renowned Doric Arch which dominates the approach to the terminus, and the “L. & B.” coat-of-arms on the iron gates at the easterly entrance. The Birmingham terminus of the system was situated at Curzon Street (now a goods station), this terminus, however, giving place to New Street Station, in 1852. For working trains over the London and Birmingham line four-wheeled locomotives, designed by Edward Bury, were principally used. Another worthwhile point is that on July 25th, 1837, there was demonstrated the first application of the electric telegraph to railway working, Wheatstone's apparatus being tried out over a distance of 1 1/2 miles between Euston and Camden Town. The centenary of the London & Birmingham Railway, now part of the L.M. & S. system, was suitably celebrated, one of the features being an exhibition of railway locomotives and rolling-stock, old and new, held at Euston.