Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company
Records of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company: records of the eastern division relating to canals 1884-1895 and records of the western division relating to canals 1784-1897.
These records are available immediately for research
The Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company was incorporated in July 1846 following the amalgamation of the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway, the Sheffield and Lincolnshire Junction Railway, the Great Grimsby and Sheffield Junction Railway, and the Grimsby Docks Company. Shortly afterwards, it also incorporated the Macclesfield Canal (1846), Ashton Canal (1848) and the profitable Peak Forest Canal (1846). The Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company cooperated with the formation of the Cheshire Lines Committee that gave it better access to Liverpool, Chester and other towns. Some of its route was notorious for its steep gradient. Sheffield Victoria Station was opened in September 1851. In 1889 the Royal Victoria Hotel next to the station was taken over by the the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company as it expanded into hotel management. Although successful, the company was never more than averagely so because of competition from its stronger contemporaries. From 1855, the company had the second-largest share, 12.5 per cent, in the 21-year lease of the Rochdale Canal with three other railways. This arrangement actually lasted until 1890. In August 1864 the company absorbed the South Yorkshire Railway, having leased it for the previous three years. Later the Dearne and Dove Canal came under the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company's authority but after twenty years, the canal interests separated from the railway in 1894. In 1864, Sir Edward Watkin was appointed general manager. He had ambitions for the company but they were not always realistic. For instance, he believed his railway should expand to London where one day it would link to a channel tunnel. Since the 1860s, Midland Railway had provided a rail link to London, Sheffield and the East Midlands. Watkin pushed for a London Extension for the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway despite reasonable objections that the destinations were already served by perfectly adequate rail links. The company obtained an Act in 1893 for a 92-mile line from Annesley in Nottinghamshire to London. The tracks were built to the Berne Gauge, able to take continental trains for Watkin's expected channel tunnel traffic. Building work started in 1895 but was not completed by the time the company was taken over in 1897. As of 1 August 1897, the company was known as the Great Central Railway.
Evidence suggests that the railway company divided the canals for which they were responsible into two divisions: Eastern and Western and kept the records for each separate. This fonds has, therefore, been arranged into two subfonds, one for each division.
[See also: BW96 for records of the Great Central Railway]]