Waverley (passenger train)

Last updated

Service typePassenger train
PredecessorThames Forth Express
First serviceSeptember 1927
Former operator(s) London, Midland and Scottish Railway
British Rail
Start London St Pancras
End Edinburgh Waverley
Service frequencyDaily
Line(s) used Midland Main Line
Thames-Forth Express
This diagram is a guide; not all stations
shown were served in all years of operation
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Edinburgh Waverley
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St Boswells
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Waverley Line
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Carlisle Citadel
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Settle and Carlisle Railway
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Leeds Wellington/Leeds City
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Wakefield Westgate
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Sheffield Midland
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Midland Main Line
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Nottingham Midland
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London St Pancras

The Waverley, originally called the Thames Forth Express, is the name of an express passenger train which operated on the Midland Main Line from London St Pancras to Edinburgh Waverley [1] and which ceased in 1968.

Midland Main Line

The Midland Main Line is a major railway line in England from London to Sheffield in the north of England. The line is under the Network Rail description of Route 19; it comprises the lines from London's St Pancras station via Leicester, Derby/Nottingham and Chesterfield in the East Midlands.

St Pancras railway station railway station terminus in London

St Pancras railway station, also known as London St Pancras and officially since 2007 as St Pancras International, is a central London railway terminus on Euston Road in the London Borough of Camden. It is the terminus for Eurostar continental services from London via High Speed 1 and the Channel Tunnel to Belgium, France and the Netherlands. It provides East Midlands Trains and Thameslink services to Corby, Sheffield and Nottingham on the Midland Main Line and Southeastern high-speed trains to Kent via Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International, and local Thameslink cross-London services. It stands between the British Library, the Regent's Canal and King's Cross railway station, with which it shares a London Underground station, King's Cross St. Pancras.

Edinburgh Waverley railway station main railway station in the Scottish capital Edinburgh

Edinburgh Waverley railway station is the principal station serving Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. It is the second busiest station in Scotland, after Glasgow Central. It is the northern terminus of the East Coast Main Line, 393 miles 13 chains (632.7 km) from London King's Cross, although some trains operated by London North Eastern Railway continue to other Scottish destinations beyond Edinburgh.

The original name was given to the morning departure from London by the London Midland & Scottish Railway in September 1927. [2] Its sister train to Glasgow, which departed an hour later, was named the Thames–Clyde Express.

Glasgow City and council area in Scotland

Glasgow is the most populous city in Scotland, and the third most populous city in the United Kingdom, as of the 2017 estimated city population of 621,020. Historically part of Lanarkshire, the city now forms the Glasgow City council area, one of the 32 council areas of Scotland; the local authority is Glasgow City Council. Glasgow is situated on the River Clyde in the country's West Central Lowlands. Inhabitants of the city are referred to as "Glaswegians" or "Weegies". It is the fourth most visited city in the UK. Glasgow is also known for the Glasgow patter, a distinct dialect of the Scots language that is noted for being difficult to understand by those from outside the city.

The Waverley travelled by the scenic Settle–Carlisle route, but could not compete on speed to Scotland with the trains travelling on the East Coast Main Line via York. Its route was longer and steeper, and Midland expresses could not ignore major population centres en route. As a result, after the 1920s few passengers travelled the full length of the route.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and the North Channel to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

East Coast Main Line railway link between London and Edinburgh

The East Coast Main Line (ECML) is a 393-mile long (632 km) major railway between London and Edinburgh via Peterborough, Doncaster, York, Darlington, Durham and Newcastle; it is electrified along the whole route. The route is a key transport artery on the eastern side of Great Britain and broadly paralleled by the A1 road.

York Historic city in the north of England

York is a city and unitary authority area in North Yorkshire, England, with a population of 208,200 as of 2017. Located at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss, it is the county town of the historic county of Yorkshire and was the home of the House of York throughout its existence. The city is known for its famous historical landmarks such as York Minster and the city walls, as well as a variety of cultural and sporting activities, which makes it a popular tourist destination in England. The local authority is the City of York Council, a single tier governing body responsible for providing all local services and facilities throughout the city. The City of York local government district includes rural areas beyond the old city boundaries.

The Thames–Forth lost its title at the outbreak of World War II in common with almost all named trains in the UK. It was not restored—this time as The Waverley—until June 1957.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

However the effect of regional division, mining subsidence along part of the route, and underpowered locomotives meant that its performance was actually inferior in time to that achieved in 1939.

In 1962, the train left London at 09:15. It used what is now mainly a freight, Leicester avoiding route (see Oakham to Kettering Line) and stopped first at Nottingham Midland at 11:13. After calling at Chesterfield it reached Sheffield Midland at 12:18 and Leeds City 13:26—so a journey of 39 miles took over an hour as a result of subsidence-induced speed restrictions. Then came stops at Skipton, Hellifield, Settle and Appleby West before Carlisle was reached at 15:31. Five more stops in the border country were made at Newcastleton, Hawick, St Boswells, Melrose and Galashiels before final arrival at Edinburgh Waverley at 18:34. This was a journey of nine hours 15 minutes—the Flying Scotsman left London at 10:00 and took only six hours.

Leicester City and unitary authority in England

Leicester is a city and unitary authority area in the East Midlands of England, and the county town of Leicestershire. The city lies on the River Soar and close to the eastern end of the National Forest.

Flying Scotsman (train) London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley passenger train

The Flying Scotsman is an express passenger train service that has operated between Edinburgh and London, the capitals of Scotland and England, via the East Coast Main Line. The service began in 1862; the name was officially adopted in 1924. It is currently operated by London North Eastern Railway.

However the Waverley provided a useful service from the East Midlands and Yorkshire to Edinburgh, and also provided a direct London service to the small towns on the Settle-Carlisle route, and in the Scottish borders between Carlisle and Edinburgh (the Waverley Route). However, by this time the train had acquired a bad reputation for slowness and unpunctuality

East Midlands region of England in United Kingdom

The East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It consists of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland. The region has an area of 15,627 km2 (6,034 sq mi), with a population over 4.5 million in 2011. There are five main urban centres, Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Northampton and Nottingham. Others include Boston, Skegness, Chesterfield, Corby, Grantham, Hinckley, Kettering, Loughborough, Mansfield, Newark-on-Trent and Wellingborough.

Yorkshire Historic county of Northern England

Yorkshire, formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Due to its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform. Throughout these changes, Yorkshire has continued to be recognised as a geographical territory and cultural region. The name is familiar and well understood across the United Kingdom and is in common use in the media and the military, and also features in the titles of current areas of civil administration such as North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire.

The Waverley ceased to run during the winter after 1964, but continued to operate during the summer until September 1968.

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West Coast Main Line railway route in Britain

The West Coast Main Line (WCML) is one of the most important railway corridors in the United Kingdom, connecting the major cities of London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow. It is one of the busiest mixed-traffic railway routes in Europe, carrying a mixture of intercity rail, regional rail, commuter rail and rail freight traffic. The core route of the WCML runs from London to Glasgow, with branches diverging to Northampton, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, totalling a route mileage of 700 miles (1,127 km). Services from London to North Wales and Edinburgh also run via the WCML; however the main London-Edinburgh route is the East Coast Main Line. In addition, several sections of the WCML form part of the suburban railway systems in London, Coventry, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, with many more smaller commuter stations, as well as providing links to more rural towns.

Settle–Carlisle line railway line in northern England

The Settle–Carlisle line is a 73-mile-long (117 km) main railway line in northern England. The route, which crosses the remote, scenic regions of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Pennines, runs between Settle Junction, on the Leeds to Morecambe line, and Carlisle, near the English-Scottish borders. The historic line was constructed in the 1870s and has several notable tunnels and viaducts such as the imposing Ribblehead.

North British Railway British pre-grouping railway company (1844–1922)

The North British Railway was a British railway company, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was established in 1844, with the intention of linking with English railways at Berwick. The line opened in 1846, and from the outset the Company followed a policy of expanding its geographical area, and competing with the Caledonian Railway in particular. In doing so it committed huge sums of money, and in doing so incurred shareholder disapproval that resulted in two chairmen leaving the company.

Waverley Route Closed railway line from Edinburgh to Carlisle in Great Britain

The Waverley Route was a railway line that ran south from Edinburgh, through Midlothian and the Scottish Borders, to Carlisle. The line was built by the North British Railway; the stretch from Edinburgh to Hawick opened in 1849 and the remainder to Carlisle opened in 1862. The line was nicknamed after the immensely popular Waverley Novels, written by Sir Walter Scott.

Carlisle railway station

Carlisle railway station, or Carlisle Citadel, is a Grade II* listed railway station serving the city of Carlisle, Cumbria, England. It is on the West Coast Main Line, 102 miles (164 km) south east of Glasgow Central, and 299 miles (481 km) north north west of London Euston. It is the northern terminus of the Settle and Carlisle Line, a continuation of the Midland Main Line from Leeds, Sheffield and London St Pancras.

Wigan North Western railway station One of two railway stations in Wigan, Greater Manchester, England

Wigan North Western railway station is one of two railway stations serving the town centre of Wigan, Greater Manchester, England.

Kettering railway station station which serves the town of Kettering in Northamptonshire, England

Kettering railway station serves the town of Kettering in Northamptonshire, England. It lies south-west of the town centre, on the Midland Main Line, 71 miles (115 km) north of London St. Pancras.

Royal Scot (train) express passenger train service between London Euston and Glasgow Central

The Royal Scot was a British named express passenger train that ran between London Euston and Glasgow Central, the length of the West Coast Main Line (WCML), with previously a portion also going to Edinburgh.

The transport system in Scotland is generally well-developed. The Scottish Parliament has control over most elements of transport policy within Scotland and the Scottish Government's Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department is responsible for the Scottish transport network with Transport Scotland being the Executive Agency that is accountable to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth.

Race to the North

The Race to the North was the name given by the press to occasions in two summers of the late 19th century when British passenger trains belonging to different companies would literally race each other from London to Scotland over the two principal rail trunk routes connecting the English capital city to Scotland – the West Coast Main Line which runs from London Euston via Crewe and Carlisle and the East Coast Main Line route from London King's Cross via York and Newcastle. The "races" were never official and publicly the companies denied that what happened was racing at all. Results were not announced officially and the outcomes have since been hotly debated. In the 20th century there were also occasions of competition for speed on the two routes.

The Glasgow–Edinburgh via Carstairs line is a main railway route which connects the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, by means of their respective branches of the West Coast Main Line (WCML).

Thames–Clyde Express

The Thames–Clyde Express was a named express passenger train operating on the Midland Main Line, Settle-Carlisle Railway and the Glasgow South Western Line between London St Pancras and Glasgow St Enoch. Following the closure of St Enoch station in 1966, the service ran to Glasgow Central instead.

The Caledonian Railway main line in Scotland connected Glasgow and Edinburgh with Carlisle, via Carstairs and Beattock.

Oxford to London coach route

The Oxford to London coach route is an express coach route between Oxford and London along the M40 motorway. The Oxford Tube, which is operated by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, runs up to five coaches an hour via Lewknor, Hillingdon and Shepherd's Bush terminates on Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria. The X90, which is operated by the Oxford Bus Company, runs up to two coaches an hour via Baker Street and terminates on Buckingham Palace Road.

East Coast (train operating company) railway company

East Coast, the trading name of the East Coast Main Line Company, was a British train operating company running the InterCity East Coast franchise on the East Coast Main Line between London, Yorkshire, North East England, and Scotland. East Coast ran long-distance inter-city services from its Central London terminus at London King's Cross on two primary routes; the first to Leeds and the second to Edinburgh via Newcastle with other services reaching into Yorkshire and Northern and Central Scotland. It commenced operations on 14 November 2009 and ceased on 28 February 2015.

Shotts Line

The Shotts Line is a suburban railway line linking Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley via Shotts in Scotland. It is one of the four rail links between the two cities.

Borders Railway Railway from Edinburgh to Tweedbank

The Borders Railway connects the city of Edinburgh with Galashiels and Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders. The railway follows most of the alignment of the northern part of the Waverley Route, a former double-track line in southern Scotland and northern England that ran between Edinburgh and Carlisle. That line was controversially closed in 1969, as part of the Beeching cuts, leaving the Borders region without any access to the National Rail network. Following the closure, a campaign to revive the Waverley Route emerged. Discussion on reopening the northern part of the line came to a head during the early 2000s. Following deliberations in the Scottish Parliament, the Waverley Railway (Scotland) Act 2006 received Royal Assent in June 2006. The project was renamed the "Borders Railway" in August 2008, and building works began in November 2012. Passenger service on the line began on 6 September 2015, whilst an official opening by Queen Elizabeth II took place on 9 September.

Carlisle railway history

Carlisle, in North West England, formed the focus for a number of railway routes because of the geography of the area. At first each railway company had its own passenger and goods station, but in 1847 passenger terminal facilities were concentrated at Citadel station, which is in use today. Goods facilities remained dispersed, and goods wagons passing through were remarshalled, incurring delay and expense.


  1. Allen, Cecil J. (1967). Titled Trains of Great Britain. Ian Allan Ltd. p. 200.
  2. "LMS Railway" . Derby Daily Telegraph. England. 16 September 1927. Retrieved 25 November 2017 via British Newspaper Archive.