Southern Railway (SR), sometimes abbreviated as 'Southern', was a British railroad company founded in 1923. It connected London to the Channel ports of South West England and the south coast resort of Kent. The railroad was formed by the merger of several smaller railroad companies. The largest were the London & South Western Railway (LSWR), the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway (LB&SCR), and the South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SE&CR). Construction of what would become the Southern Railway began with the opening of the London & Southampton Railway, renamed the London & South Western Railway, in 1838. The railroad was known for its skillful use of public relations and a coherent management structure headed by Sir Herbert Walker. At 2,186 miles (3,518 km) in length, the Southern Railway was the smallest of the Big Four railroads, and unlike the others, the bulk of its revenues came from passenger traffic, not freight. It created the world's largest electrified main line rail system at the time and the first electrified intercity route (London - Brighton). There were two chief mechanical engineers. Richard Mansell (1923-1937) and Oliver Bulleid (1937-1948), who designed new locomotives and rolling stock to replace much of what had been inherited in 1923. He supplied the Expeditionary Force during the Dunkirk campaign and Operation Overlord in 1944. Its success was an even more remarkable achievement because the railroad was primarily a passenger network. Southern Railway operated a number of well-known trains, including the Brighton Belle, Bournemouth Belle, Golden Arrow, and Knight Ferry (London - Paris and Brussels). West Country service was dominated by lucrative summer holiday traffic and included named trains such as the Atlantic Coast Express and Devon Belle. The company's most famous paint scheme was very distinctive. Locomotives and coaches were painted a bright malachite green over a pitch black frame with bold, bright yellow lettering. Southern Railway was nationalized in 1948 and became the Southern Region of British Railways.
Southern Main Line
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