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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 1 (April 1, 1940)

Railway Anniversaries

Railway Anniversaries.

Just fifteen years ago there was celebrated, with appropriate ceremony, the one-hundredth anniversary of the opening of the world's first public railway—George Stephenson's Stockton & Darlington system, now embraced in the London & North Eastern Group. The present year sees the one-hundredth birthday of quite a number of important Home lines, so that both here and in New Zealand this is a time of centennials.

Among lines forming the L.M. & S., there is the Midland Counties Railway, opened from Trent to Leicester on May 5th, 1840; the North Midland Railway, which reached Rotherham from Derby on May 11th, 1840, and pushed forward to Leeds on June 30; and the Manchester & Leeds Railway, opened between Normanton and Hebden Bridge on October 5th, 1840. Of course, that colourful figure in Home railway history—George Hudson, the “Railway King”—comes into the story, for on July 1st, 1840, Hudson—then Mayor of York —attended at York station to witness the dispatch of the first train to leave that point with through passengers for London. On the Great Western line, March 30th, 1840, saw the opening of
Coal traffic handling on the London, Midland & Scottish Railway.

Coal traffic handling on the London, Midland & Scottish Railway.

the London-Reading tracks. On August 31st, 1840, G.W. trains commenced to run from Bristol to Bath. Rounding off the 1840 record, on May 11th of that year through trains began to operate between London and Southampton on what is now the Southern system; while on May 12th, 1840, there was opened the first railway in Sussex—the Shoreham and Brighton line.