London Midland and Scottish Railway Timeline 1921 - 1947 - Gateway to the LMS

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LMS Timeline 1921 - 1947
The Railways Act is passed, amalgamating over 120 railways into four large  companies, three of which are new (the GWR already being in existence).

January, 1923
The "Grouping" plan comes into effect on January 1st and the LMS starts to operate. However, the internal rivalries of the companies grouped into the LMS,  especially the MR and LNWR, bitter rivals, mean that the public will see little change for the next decade.

George Hughes, at this point Chief Mechanical Engineer of the combined LNWR and LYR, becomes CME of the LMS.

Sir William Guy Granet becomes Chairman of the LMS and begins to adopt an American-style management system for the LMS, revolutionary in its time.

August 1925
Hughes is succeeded by Henry Fowler as CME. Fowler is former CME of the Midland Railway.

January 1926
Sir Josiah Stamp becomes President of the LMS. At this point, the American management system is in full swing, with a four-man executive. This is later increased to seven.

May 1926
The General Strike occurs in May and lasts for 9 days, but the miners stay out until early December. With coal in short supply, the practice of (unnecessary) double-heading out of Euston is ended, a policy forced on the  former LNWR lines by the MR-biased management.

Autumn 1926
With Fowler's "Pacific" designs blocked, the LMS begins to consider the  4-6-0 to solve its locomotive problems. A locomotive exchange takes place with the Great Western Railway in which the LMS gains Castle Class No 5000  "Launceston Castle"; the Castle proceeded to outperform all LMS locomotives it is compared to, even on the steep Cumbrian banks. With this in mind, The LMS approaches the GWR with a view to either obtaining the plans, or buying 50 Castles for the LMS. The GWR refuses both options; the latter is impractical  anyway as the Swindon Works is at capacity making the GWR's own Castle  fleet.

The Southern Railway is more amenable to the request for plans and supply drawings of their "Lord Nelson" class. From these, the "Royal Scot" and "Patriot" classes would emerge.

Stamp becomes chairman as well as president.

The first "Royal Scot" class locomotives are built.

April 1928
Records for non-stop runs from Euston to Glasgow ("Royal Scot" No. 6113 "Cameronian) and Euston to Edinburgh ("Compound" No. 1054).

January 1929
Henry Fowler's experimental ultra-high pressure 4-6-0 compound 6399 "Fury" suffers an explosion, caused by a burst tube, which kills an inspector. This is probably the darkest moment of Fowler's career.

The first "Patriot" class locomotives are built.  Henry Fowler retires as CME, to be replaced by Ernest Lemon.

The LMS commissions research into streamlined trains.

William Stanier is appointed CME of the LMS. At this point LMS locomotives  have tended to be underpowered, a policy inherited mainly from the Midland  Railway, resulting in expresses often being double-headed. Stanier had trained  under Charles Collett, CME of the Great Western Railway, and the fact that he  has no loyalties to any of the companies forming the LMS, means that the  internal rivalries that have held back locomotive design, now become a thing of  the past. Stanier's designs would radically improve services between now and the  outbreak of World War II in 1939.

The 1896 agreement between East and West Coast mainlines limiting services  between London and Edinburgh/Glasgow to a minimum 8.25hrs journey is finally  terminated, paving the way for the LMS and LNER to provide faster services to  Scotland.

"Royal Scot" Class 6100 "Royal Scot" visits the United States on a publicity tour between May and November.  The first two "Princess Royal" class locomotives commence operations in June.

The first "Jubilee" and "Black Five" class locomotives are built.

The third "Princess Royal", No 6202, is built using steam turbines instead of conventional reciprocating cylinders. Generally referred to as "Turbomotive", this locomotive remains in service until 1949, when it is rebuilt as the one-off "Princess Anne" class. Tragically, the locomotive suffers serious damage in the  1952 Harrow rail crash, a few months after re-entering service, and is withdrawn.

The results of the streamlining research are published.

On the 16th November, as a prelude to the introduction of the "Coronation  Scot", high speed trials are conducted between Euston and Glasgow. On the above  date "Princess Royal" class no. 6201 "Princess Elizabeth" covers the 401.5 miles  in 5 hours, 53 minutes and 38 seconds, with a seven coach load.

The first "Princess Coronation" class locomotives are built. Most of the  class would initially be built as streamlined locomotives (The exceptions being  6230-6234), although the streamline casings would be removed in later years.

29th June, 1937
The first streamlined "Coronation Scot" with 4-6-2 No 6220 "Coronation" leaves Euston on a return trip to Crewe. The express sets a new speed record of at least 113mph (this record is to be short-lived as the LNER would exceed it the next year with "Mallard"). The arrival at Crewe is eventful, as the express approaches the station too quickly, but mercifully the train stays on the track and damage seems to be limited to the brakes and the crockery in the dining car.

At this point the LMS is operating 6,870 route miles of line (excluding its Irish interests), but like the other members of the "Big Four" it is not making significant profits.

March 1939
Princess Coronation No. 6229 "Duchess of Hamilton" is shipped with several  "Coronation Scot" coaches to the United States on a publicity tour, taking the identity (but not the colour scheme) of 6220 "Coronation". The outbreak of World War II means that the tour is stranded, with engine returning in 1942 and coaches in 1946.

September 1939
The LMS is "temporarily" nationalised during World War II. A speed limit of 45mph is imposed on the railways, which effectively spells the end of the streamlined expresses (the speed limit would be increased to 60mph the next month).

April, 1941
Josiah Stamp, his wife and eldest son are killed in an air-raid.

June 1941
Sir William Wood is appointed president of the LMS.

Stanier is appointed advisor to the Ministry of Production, remaining CME effectively in name only. Charles Fairburn is to all intents and purposes CME at this point.

January 1943
Stanier is knighted in the New Year's honours list.

April 1943
The rebuilding of the "Royal Scot" class begins.

April 1943
Stanier retires completely as CME with Charles Fairburn now officially holding the position; his contributions in locomotive design being mainly in the areas of diesel-electric locomotion.

October 1945
With the Second World War over, the railways attempt to return to normal. TPO mailbag exchange and restaurant car services are reinstated.

Fairburn's tenure as CME is cut short with his sudden death.

The de-streamlining of the "Princess Coronation" begins with 6235 "City of Birmingham" the first to be converted. Smoke deflectors are also added to the class post-war. Henry G Ivatt becomes CME.

December sees the LMS introduces the first main diesel locomotive No. 10000, a legacy of Charles Fairburn.

1st January, 1948
Nationalisation takes effect, and the LMS becomes the London Midland Region and part of the Scottish Region of British Railways.
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