Story collection recognises 100 years of memorable firsts on the East Coast Main Line

22/08/23 Story collection recognises 100 years of memorable firsts on the East Coast Main Line

During the past century, the East Coast Main Line has contributed to many significant firsts within people’s lives. Now, a major new exhibition to mark London North Eastern Railway’s (LNER) landmark anniversary is celebrating some of the most pioneering feats and special moments it has made possible.

  • From an author writing their first book, to rail records and even impromptu first dates - LNER is releasing ‘100 Years of Firsts’ – celebrating 100 iconic moments on its route from the last century.
  • The landmark exhibition marks its 100th anniversary and features incredible stories from customers, colleagues, historians and celebrity travellers - including Sara Davies and Shaun Wallace.
  • The exhibition is being unveiled in Newcastle Central Station, with the public able access the stories on the LNER website and podcast.
  • LNER is inviting the public to share their own firsts stories, giving away one hundred £100 LNER Perks loyalty credit.

Unveiled today at Newcastle Central Station (Tuesday 22 August), ‘100 Years of Firsts’ shines a light on a century of remarkable, moving, and heart-warming tales from customers, relatives, LNER colleagues and historians.

The multimedia gallery includes written stories, audio recordings and photography capturing the firsts from a century of transforming travel of the past and present on the East Coast of the UK. LNER is also looking to the future and the firsts which they will enable in the years to come.

From a chance encounter because of missed train which sparked a four-year relationship, to tales of collecting first pets, pioneering hair salons on Flying Scotsman and even a Dragon’s Den star travelling to London to be presented with her MBE - the collection has been meticulously compiled from interviews, archive research and first-hand accounts, capturing 100 seminal firsts from along LNER’s East Coast route.

Highlights include:

  • Dragon’s Den star, Sara Davies, travelling to meet Queen Elizabeth II for the first time to collect her MBE.
  • A young girl travelling to Scotland to fulfill her dream of feeding the Pandas at Edinburgh Zoo.
  • An author who wrote his first book while travelling between Leeds and London King’s Cross.
  • Two LNER customer experience colleagues who first set eyes on one and other at the onboard catering carriage and are now married.
  • A veteran former employee whose first job from school lead to more than 40 years of illustrious service.
  • Celebrity quizzer Shaun Wallace’s adventures across the UK entering quizzes before he hit the big time.

Claire Ansley, People and Customer Experience Director at LNER, said: “Since 1923, LNER and firsts have gone hand in hand. Whether it's breaking speed records, introducing cinema carriages or hiring the UK’s first black train driver, our pioneering spirit continues to push us forward along with millions of customers every year.

"Each story in this exhibition marks a moment. From touching personal accounts to lesser-known milestones of historical significance born out of a rich history of pioneering progress, the number of firsts which have been marked on the East Coast Main Line is incredible."

To learn more about the campaign and enjoy the stories behind the exhibition, the LNER ‘100 Years of Firsts’ exhibition is running from August 22 until August 29 at Newcastle Central Station. The collection of touching stories is also being made accessible to passengers along the line digitally and on LNER’s podcast.

LNER is asking customers to share their future firsts of memories they hope to make on the route to continue the legacy of creating first class moments for the future. One hundred of these will be selected and rewarded with £100 in LNER Perks loyalty credit to help make their dream a reality. Further details can be found at

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