GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY
The first section of line to be opened in 1848 was Louth-Grimsby and was leased. This was followed in 1849 by Peterborough-Doncaster via Lincoln. In 1850 the line was opened to Peterborough from a temporary station at Maiden Lane, London and Doncaster-York via Askern. By 1852 the main line from London-Doncaster was open, as was the new London terminus of Kings Cross. The GNR works was completed at Doncaster in 1853. The Peterborough-Grantham-Retford direct route was opened in 1853 and by purchasing other railways or obtaining running powers, the GNR gained access to Bradford, Cambridge, Halifax, Leicester and Nottingham. By 1857, a working arrangement was made with the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway, which enabled the GNR to run London-Sheffield-Manchester express services. In 1858, the GNR line into London from Hitchin was used by the Midland Railway. Both these developments helped to undermine the Euston Square Confederacy established by the London & North Western Railway. By the late 1850s the GNR had access to all the important West Yorkshire towns. Established in 1879, the Great Northern and Great Eastern joint lines from Huntingdon through March into Lincolnshire, joined together by new construction, thwarted the ambitions of the GNR. However, the GNR persued territorial interests outside its original areas of interest by jointly promoting a Manchester-Liverpool route with the MSLR in 1865. Expanding rapidly through the 1860s, the GNR was at its most profitable in 1873. However, in 1875, the increase in revenue was out-paced by investment, which included items such as block signaling systems and interlocking, and improvements to stations and goods sidings. The GNR's role in the establishment of an Anglo-Scottish East Coast route was confirmed by establishment of the East Coast Joint Stock in 1860, whereby a common pool of passenger vehicles was operated by the GNR, North Eastern and North British Railways.