LNER: 100 years of memories with London North Eastern Railway

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In a new LNER project, a Dragons’ Den star recalls her journey to meet Queen Elizabeth II.

A project has been launched celebrating the impact the East Coast Main Line has had on people’s lives over the last 100 years.

The 393-mile railway line between King’s Cross and Edinburgh was built in the 1840s by three railway companies. In 1923 they were brought together to create the London and North Eastern Railway.

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That company ended with nationalisation 25 years later, but current operator London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is marking the anniversary.

100 Years of Firsts is a podcast, exhibition and story series and tells the stories of passengers, relatives, LNER employees and historians. The multimedia gallery includes written stories, audio recordings and photography.

Ryan and Hayley

LNER employee Ryan O’Donnell met his future wife, Hayley, during a shift on the East Coast Main Line in 2019, four months into starting the job. The pair worked in customer service and as romance blossomed, Ryan took extra shifts to spend more time with Hayley at King’s Cross station.

LNER’s Ryan and Hayley O’Donnell. (Photo by LNER)LNER’s Ryan and Hayley O’Donnell. (Photo by LNER)
LNER’s Ryan and Hayley O’Donnell. (Photo by LNER) | LNER

Emmy and Willow

Emmy Louise Hughes marked her 40th birthday with her six-year-old daughter, Willow, on a VIP trip to Edinburgh Zoo to feed the pandas.

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Willow and family. (Photo by LNER)Willow and family. (Photo by LNER)
Willow and family. (Photo by LNER) | LNER

Dragons’ Den’s Sara Davies

Dragons’ Den star Sara Davies travelled to meet Queen Elizabeth II for the first time to collect her MBE.

Dragons’ Den’s Sara Davies. (Photo by LNER)Dragons’ Den’s Sara Davies. (Photo by LNER)
Dragons’ Den’s Sara Davies. (Photo by LNER) | LNER


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."

LNER is asking customers to share their “firsts” memories and a hundred of these will win the passengers £100 in LNER Perks loyalty credit.

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