Evolution and Organisation of the North London Railway


26 Aug 1846-31 Jan 1909

26 Aug 1846 – EWIDBJR

East and West India Docks and Birmingham Junction Railway Act, 1846. To make a railway from near the Blackwall Basin of the West India Docks to at or near Camden Town Station of the London Birmingham Rly.  (9&10 Vict. cap. cccxcvi)

8 Jul 1853 NLR

North London Railway Act, 1853. To change the name to North London Railway. (16 & 17 Vict. cap. xcvii)


1 Feb 1909-31 Dec 1921 – London & North Western Railway Management

3 Dec 1908 NLR

Agreement signed with LNW to take over management of the railway. (RAIL 529/32, 14 Jan 1909, Min 6940)

1 Feb 1909 NLR

LNW assumed responsibility for managing NLR. (RAIL 529/32, 14 Jan 1909, Min 6940)


1 Jan 1922-31 Dec 1947 – London Midland & Scottish Railway

19 Aug 1921 All

Railways Act, 1921, “Grouping act.” (11&12 Geo. 5. cap. 55) [over 120 railways were grouped in the Big Four – London Midland & Scottish, London & North Eastern, Great Western, and Southern Railways]

1 Jan 1922 NLR

Effective date of the preliminary absorption scheme under the “Grouping Act,” under which NLR was absorbed into the LNW, although not finally approved until 23 Nov 1922. (TNA RAIL 791/526)

23 Nov 1922 NLR

Final NLR Board Meeting. Also, final meetings (both Special General and Extraordinary) of NLR Proprietors to approve the preliminary absorption scheme. (TNA RAIL 529/34,  23 Nov 1922)

1 Jan 1923 All

“Grouping Act” of 1921 came into effect with LNW (including the NLR and HJR absorbed by them on 1st January 1922 and 1863 respectively) and NSWJ forming part of LMS group of railways.


1 Jan 1948-6 Feb 1997 – British Railways

6 Aug 1947 LMS

Transport Act, 1947. “Nationalisation act.”  (10&11 Geo. 6. cap. 49)

1 Jan 1948 BR

“Nationalisation Act” of 1947 came into effect with the formation of British Railways.


7 Feb 1997-11 Nov 2007 – Train Operating Companies

24 May 1993 BR

Mr John MacGregor, Transport Secretary, announced the privatisation of the North London Line. (The Times, 25 May 1993)

7 Feb 1997 TOC

Announced National Express as Train Operating Company. (The Times, 8 Feb 1997, page 1; The Independent, 8 Feb 1997, page 21.)

2 Mar 1997 TOC

National Express took over the franchise (under the name Silverlink Metro from Oct 1997). (Lovett, Dennis, London’s Own Railway The North London Railway 1846-2001, Irwell Press, 2001, page 103.)


12 Nov 2007 onwards – London Overground (under Transport for London (TfL)

12 Nov 2007 London Overground

Transport for London (TfL) under the title London Overground started running the passenger services over the NLR, HJR and NSWJR. It also took on from Network Rail responsibility for some stations. (Railway Herald, No 109, 16 Nov 2007, page 6.) London Overground Rail Operations Ltd (LOROL) is responsible for running the London Overground network under a Concession Agreement with TfL. LOROL is a joint venture company between MTR Corporation of Hong Kong and Deutsche Bahn AG (DB), the interests of DB being managed by Arriva, the division responsible for regional passenger transport outside of Germany. London Overground also includes the East London Line, the northern part of which runs over the NLR’s City Extension viaduct from Shoreditch to Dalston.


Departments were all overseen by the Manager. The nearest I can get to it is below.

Finance and General Purposes Committee
Manager’s Department
Secretary’s Department:
Secretary’s office
Cashier’s office
Audit Office
Accountant’s Department
Locomotive, Stores and Traffic Committee
Locomotive Superintendent:
Bow works
Locomotive department
Signal and electrical department
Carriage & wagon department
Traffic Superintendent:
Station staff
Brakesmen and guards
Goods Superintendent:
Poplar docks
Goods and coal yards
Some brakesman
Permanent Way and Estate Committee
Engineer’s department (track, bridges, buildings))
Estate department
Advertising department


1. Accounts and Audit were branches under the Accountant until 1877, when they were separated [RAIL 529/27, Board Mtg 15 Nov 77, min 2732; RAIL 529/79 31 Oct 1877, FGW Com Min 1286].

2. The staff registers in TNA relate to the traffic department. The only reference to footplate men, apart from employment contracts post-1909, and permanent way men is when something out of the ordinary occurred, eg, collisions, injuries, ‘pensions,’ etc, which are hidden away in the minutes of meetings.

3. Lastly but probably most importantly: no trace has been found of any human resources or health and safety departments.

On the taking over of the management and running of the NLR by the LNWR

This occurred on 1st February 1909. For accounting purposes staff who worked on the NLR would have been treated separately from LNWR staff. Perhaps the men on the ground were not quite as precise. Platelayer George William Marriott at the 1911 Census shows himself as Platelayer, LNWR [RG 14/1166, RG 78/38, RD11 SD5 ED27 SN234], although he is listed in gallantry awards by the NLR [RAIL 1110/366 (Roll of Honour 8 Feb 1918)].

LNWR heads of departments were also the equivalent for NLR posts.

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