This is a very attractive booklet – a result which the LMS did not always achieve, relying at times too much on outside consultants for design services. It celebrates the centenary of the London & Birmingham Railway, the first trunk railway in the world to link two major cities. A feature are the 16 pages of “Then and Now” B&W photogravure pictures, contrasting print views of the 1830s with photographs of the 1930s. The text is a summary of the early history of the line, enlivened with one or two literary anecdotes (Charles Dickens’ “Mugby Junction for example).
The London & Birmingham became a main constituent of the London & North Western (the main constituent of the LMS), which sometimes used to advertise, particularly in the USA as “The Oldest Established Firm in the Railway Passenger Business” based on having the Liverpool & Manchester (1830)in its family tree. Leaving aside the argument about whether a joint stock corporation capitalized with millions can be described as a “Firm”, descent from the L&M was by “marriage” – amalgamation. Direct descent from the pioneering trunk line, the London & Birmingham makes a more convincing case!