Celebrating 100 years
2023 marks one hundred years since LNER first began operating.
Since 1923, LNER has set about pushing boundaries to create ever greater feats of engineering, speed, comfort and customer service, while improving journeys between London to Scotland. Watch 100 years of LNER in 100 seconds.
Go down the page to read 100 stories from passengers and colleagues of their "firsts" with LNER.
100 years of LNER
For a century, we have connected the capital city of England with the far-stretching corners of Scotland and we are globally renowned for delivering high-speed rail services in style and comfort to beautiful destinations.
Throughout 2023 we will celebrate 100 years since LNER came into existence in 1923 following the Railway Act of 1921. The centenary will be marked with a year full of celebrations where we will recognise the achievements of the past as well as the potential for the future.
1 January 1923
The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) comes into existence through the merger of six major and 27 smaller railway companies. The LNER was born following the Railways Act of 1921, with the Big Four railway companies launching in 1923. The LNER oversaw the east coast mainline route.
1 May 1928
The Flying Scotsman train completes its first non-stop run between London and Edinburgh. Following a publicity run at The British Empire Exhibition, the train was given a new type of tender with a corridor to help the train run this non-stop service. It reduced the journey time between the English and Scottish cities to eight hours.
30 September 1935
Named to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V, “The Silver Jubilee” train makes its inaugural run. Painted in an iconic silver, the Silver Jubilee train was considered to have created a new standard for travelling at speed in the UK.
8 July 1938
The A4 Pacific locomotive, Mallard, claims the world speed record for steam locomotives, going at 126 mph. The loco was built in Doncaster and considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Sir Nigel Gresley.
29 April 1942
Elizabeth Emily (Bessie) Barratt, supervisor of LNER’s telephone exchange at York, returns from holiday during the bombing to help restore communications. For this action, she is later awarded the British Empire Medal for meritorious civil or military service, the only woman employed by the LNER known to have received it.
British Rail (BR) introduces the High Speed Train on the East Coast Main Line improving journey times and the comfort of passengers. The trains at this time were iconic and remain a much loved part of British railway history.
The InterCity 225 enters service, this train became a reliable way to connect the cities of the UK and is closely associated with the East Coast Main Line, with some units still in service on parts of the route today.
23 April 2017
Four generations of trains run side-by-side on the East Coast Main Line at Tollerton Junction, a historic first. The event featured The Flying Scotsman, HST Intercity 125 (Class 43), an Intercity 225 (Class 91) — as well as a Class 800 which currently operates on the line.
15 May to 10 December 2019
The first Azuma trains (class 800 and class 801) enter service with LNER. The first passenger service departs London King’s Cross at 11:03 and arrives at Leeds at 13:16. Subsequent Azuma services launched in LNER destinations including Edinburgh, York, Newcastle, Harrogate, Lincoln, Aberdeen, Inverness and Middlesbrough.
11 October 2022
In a UK first, LNER opens the first family lounge at King’s Cross Station. Specially designed to support family-friendly rail travel, the Family Lounge aims to provide families with a dedicated space whilst waiting for trains. The lounge includes beach huts which feature tabletop games, soft play and an LNER Azuma Hornby-designed train set.
Our journey through time
We were proud to take part in the Make It York Ice Trail this year to celebrate 100 years of LNER.
The theme, A Journey Through Time, was the perfect chance for us to share our ice sculpture featuring the LNER Azuma and Mallard side by side.
Watch the video as Laura, our Brand Partnerships Executive, talks about why this year is so special to us.
Modern day innovation
During the early years of LNER, innovation came in the form of faster trains and direct services.
In recent years, LNER has shifted its focus onto a new kind of innovation - Customer service. With the help of digital advancements,
In July 2020, LNER became the first train operator to introduce an at-seat ordering service, Let’s Eat At Your Seat, in Standard across all our trains.
In October 2022, through collaborations with Network Rail and other train operators, LNER designs and builds the UK railway's first-of-its-kind family lounge.
From the introduction of bi-mode Azuma trains, to using renewable energy to power our stations, LNER has continued to innovate in the name of sustainability.
Read our blogs on our modern day innovations to keep LNER at the forefront of innovation in the railway.
We think train travel is about more than just getting from A to B; which is why we’ve always tried to offer the best experience to our customers.
When travelling by train, you want to know that you’re going to arrive at your destination on time. Reliability consistently ranks amongst the top concerns for rail customers.
We always care at LNER. It’s one of our values. We understand that, often, it’s the small details that make the biggest difference.
The Fast Track Podcast
The first episode celebrates LNER’s proud past and looks to the future.
This year, 2023, marks one hundred years since the LNER brand first came into being following the grouping in 1923 after the Railway Act of 1921.
Podcast host, broadcaster David Dunning, is joined by Bob Gwynne, the National Railway Museum’s Associate Curator and David Flesher, LNER’s Commercial Director.
They share some of the greatest achievements of the past century and look at how LNER continues to push boundaries to create even greater feats of engineering, speed, comfort and customer service.