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Southern Railway Company

Fact file

This fact file is a snapshot of the company between 1930 and 1945.

Owners / Company name

Southern Railway

Company flag

Company flagBlue with red St George`s Cross over white cross and letters S R in the trailing diagonal quarters.

[definition of flag terms

Major routes

Dover - Calais

Folkestone - Boulogne

Newhaven - Dieppe

Southampton - Channel Islands / St Malo

Ship colours

Company ship

Black hull. Yellow funnels with black tops.


1840The London & South Western Railway completes its railway line from London to Southampton
1843The London & South Western starts operating ship services under the name `New South Western Steam Navigation Company`
1847The London, Brighton and & South Coast Railway Company starts operating cross-channel passenger steamer sailings between Newhaven and Littlehampton (Sussex) and Dieppe. Later sailings also operated to and from Southampton
1863L&SWR takes over the New South Western`s vessels
1864The London, Chatham & Dover Railway starts sailings between Dover and Calais
1892L&SWR buys Southampton Docks
1899The South Eastern & Chatham Railway Company is formed by the merger of the the London, Dover & Chatham Railway and the South Eastern Railway. 
1923The London & South Western, London Brighton & South Coast and South Eastern & Chatham Railway Companies merge to form the Southern Railway. The new company operates trains and ships across the south east of England
1939At the start of World War I, the UK Government takes over the operation of the railways and their ships
1948The British Transport Commission is formed, taking state control of the railways, their ship operations as well as dock and road haulage operations
1962British Rail is formed from the railway division of the British Transport Commission, including the shipping routes
1979British Rail`s ship operations are sold to Stena and Sealink UK

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