Great Eastern Railway Co

The Great Eastern Railway was formed in 1862 by the amalgamation of the Eastern Counties Railway and four smaller companies, East Anglian, Newmarket, Eastern Union and Norfolk Railways. Its area of operations was East London and the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. It operated mainline services to Ipswich, Norwich, Cambridge and Kings Lynn and branch line services throughout its area. Its principal London station was Liverpool Street, opened in 1874-5 as a replacement for the less conveniently situated Bishopsgate, and this was the centre of an intense suburban service noted for punctuality and the general slickness of its operation. It eventually participated in several joint railways in the London area.

The GER developed holiday traffic to the resorts of Clacton, Southend, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. It served the port of Harwich, where its boat trains connected with its ferry services to the Continent. The main goods traffic from East Anglia was agricultural produce and fish from Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. It gained access to the coalfields via the line from Doncaster to March jointly owned with the Great Northern Railway.

Initially the GER had a near monopoly in East Anglia but this was challenged in Norfolk by the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway. The GER and the MGNJR eventually worked together in attempts to develop holiday traffic by jointly forming the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Railway.

The GER’s main works were at Stratford in East London where most of its locomotives were built. Its locomotive engineers included S W Johnson, William Adams, T W Worsdell, Robert Sinclair and James Holden.

The GER became part of the London & North Eastern Railway under Grouping in 1923.