A History of Britain’s Railways

Great Northern Railway

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Great Northern Railway

This line is open. The line runs from London to Doncaster. Much of the route via Boston and Lincoln has now closed, but the newer route through Grantham is still open. The line forms the southern portion of the East Coast Main Line. A short cut was opened between Doncaster and Peterborough shortly after the original line was opened.

This line broke the London and Birmingham Railway and later the London and North Western Railway's monopoly on the railways running north from London. The original approach to York and the north east of England was via the London and Birmingham Railway, the Midland Counties Railway, the North Midland Railway and finally the York and North Midland Railway. The Great Northern Railway broke this monopoly with its line from Doncaster (near York) to London Kings Cross. The company connected to the railways in York and the North East by using a section of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway to reach Knottingley on the York and North Midland Railway (which later became part of the North Eastern Railway).

The company owned 18.75 % of the Forth Bridge Railway.

The company was grouped into the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923.

(The route given below between Lincoln and Doncaster is probably a later addition - the company used the route of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway to reach Doncaster originally).

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Opened 1853
Closed No

Kings Cross station, London
Kings Cross station, London.

Clickable map of the Great Northern Railway


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London Kings Cross


Kings Cross is the terminus of this line in London. Thanks to J.K. Rowling it has gained some fame worldwide.

Page created on 16/03/2000
Page last edited on: 11/03/2012
Contact: Ewan Crawford