A Brief History of the London Extension

A Brief History of the London Extension

The Great Central Railway's London Extension had a short, but varied, history. It started life under the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway and ended its days under the control of British Railways; becoming part of the Great Central Railway and the London & North Eastern Railway in between.

Conceived by Sir Edward Watkin as part of a route linking Manchester with Paris via a channel tunnel, the London Extension was always under pressure to succeed. The line was always considered to be something of a white elephant as the country already had several routes into London from the north.

However, clever marketing saw the route fight for its existence, and it managed to survive for seventy years - longer than many sceptics would have considered achievable. Complete closure came in 1969, but thankfully sections of Britain's last main line have been preserved for generations to come.

This short story takes a brief look at the history of the London Extension, and the events surrounding its creation and closure.

Sir Edward Watkin See Details