Railway Stories

Heading West: New York Next Stop

In mid-Victorian times when the Great Western struck out west from Paddington, Brunel’s mission purportedly was to link Bristol with New York. Despite the company’s best endeavours this never materialised as planned. The city remained an important commercial and maritime centre throughout the remainder of the 19th and throughout the 20th centuries, but Bristol never achieved the status of a major transatlantic liner port as originally envisioned to compete with Liverpool. … Read More

Seaton Junction by Frederick Lea

Atlantic Coast Express


In the 90 odd years since Southern Railway’s Atlantic Coast Express (known simply as the ACE) first debuted at Waterloo station at 11.00am on 19 July 1926, the West Country express became one of the nation’s most instantly recognised named trains. … Read More

Cornish Riviera Express

Cornish Riviera Express

Morning Departure at Paddington for Cornwall

The ‘Cornish Riviera’ was a long-established premier West Country service dating from early years of 20th century that ran from London Paddington to Penzance. In 2015 a form of the Cornish Riviera is still provided by First Great Western’s HSTs and despite the bland homogenised era of train travel onboard train dining still exists. … Read More

The Hook Continental by Malcolm Root

The Harwich Parkeston Quay Boat Trains

The North Sea Crossings

The southern part of the North Sea was always an extremely important trade crossing between Britain and the Continent. Harwich since the early 18th century had always maintained a role as a packet station for mail and passenger transport to and from the Netherlands. … Read More

The Golden Arrow

The Golden Arrow


Channel ports had been linked by rail on both sides of the water since the 1840s but a journey between London and Paris would have taken the best part of a half a day in the mid-19th century. Better propelled and faster steamers together with speedier trains operated by the South Eastern Railway (SER) and London, Chatham & Dover Railway (LCDR) – ultimately leading to the formation of the SECR management committee in 1899 – had cut this almost in half in the years before WWI. … Read More

Night Ferry, Golden Arrow

Night Ferry

All Aboard the Night Ferry

Few luxury trains evoke such passions as the Night Ferry – a train service that linked London and Paris and in time several other European destinations – making it Britain’s only truly international train. Night Ferry conjured many different images but encapsulated it was extremely comfortable, elegant and simply the most convenient and civilised way of travelling between Europe’s pre-eminent cities without the need to travel by day. … Read More