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Midland Railway

The Midland Railway (MR) was a railway company in the United Kingdom which existed from 1844 to 1922. It was formed in 1844 by the merger of several other railway companies, including the Midland Counties Railway, the North Midland Railway[?], and the Birmingham & Derby Junction Railway[?].

The Midland Railway owned a large network of railway lines centred on the East Midlands, and its head offices were in Derby. The MR's main line known unsurprisingly as the Midland Main Line connected London to the East Midlands and to Sheffield. The company also owned a main line connecting the East Midlands to Birmingham and Bristol and a main line connecting Derby to Manchester. In the 1870s a dispute with the London and North Western Railway over access rights to the LNWR line to Scotland caused the MR to construct the Settle and Carlisle line, the highest main line in England, in order to secure the company's access to Scotland; ironically the dispute with the LNWR was settled before the S&C was built, but Parliament refused to allow the MR to withdraw from the project. They also owned a number of less important lines.

The MR pioneered the use gas lighting of trains in Britain, put third-class carriages on all its trains in 1872, and abolished second-class in 1875 (giving 3rd class passengers the level of comfort formerly afforded to 2nd class passengers -- elsewhere some 3rd class passengers travelled in open wagons) and introduced the first British Pullman supplementary-fare cars. The non-contiguous numbering of classes, with 1st and 3rd class only, continued until 1956, when 3rd class was renamed 2nd.

The company was merged into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMSR) on January 1, 1923.

See also British railway system



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