There were three main “Railway Centenaries” celebrated between the two World Wars. In 1925, the London & North Eastern Railway held the “The Railway Centenary” celebrating the opening of the Stockton & Darlington in 1825, which it claimed as its ancestor (albeit by “marriage” in 1863) and implying that it was the “First Railway In The World” which it was not. There were some 1500 miles of primitive railway, some even using iron rails, in Britain by1800, but not of course worked by locomotives. These were private lines limited to one user – coal mine, quarry, etc. The first railway for public use, the Surrey Iron Railway for goods traffic, obtained its Act of Parliament in 1801, while the first successful long term use of steam locomotives began on the Middleton Colliery Railway near Leeds, in 1812. Passengers were first carried on the Swansea and Mumbles public tramroad in1806
The first passenger trains were not steam hauled on the S&D until the 1830s, this innovation began on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in when it opened in1830. As a descendant, also by amalgamation, this centenary was marked by the London Midland & Scottish Railway in 1930 as “The Centenary of Railways” just as misleading a title. The Great Western marked the centenary of opening its first section in 1935.
The LMS in 1938 was actually marking the centenary of the first section of the London and Birmingham Railway to open, and this magazine supplement went on to follow the history of the L&B’s successor, the London and North Western Railway.