I've listed the main companies that owned the local railway lines in the area this website features and also the main companies which took over from them. I haven't listed all the national companies as this list is very extensive.
The company is listed first, then the years of operation and in brackets the company which took over.
Sheffield, Ashton-under-lyne & Manchester Railway 1841 - 1847 (MS&LR)
Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway 1846 - 1847 ((MS&LR)
Great Grimsby & Sheffield Junc Railway 1845 - 1847 (MS&LR)
Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR) 1847 - 1897 (GCR)
Great Central Railway (GCR) 1897 - 1923 (LNER)
Lancashire, Derbyshire & East Coast Railway 1897 - 1907 (GCR)
Midland Railway (MR) 1844 - 1922 (LMS)
Midland Counties Railway 1832 - 1844 (MR)
North Midland Railway 1840 - 1844 (MR)
Mansfield & Pinxton Railway 1819 - 1847 (MR)
South Yorkshire Joint Railway (made up of Great Central, Great Northern, Lancashire & Yorkshire, Midland and North Eastern Railway Co's) 1903 - 1923 (various)
South Yorkshire Railway 1849 - 1864 (MS&LR)
North Eastern Railway (NER) 1854 - 1923 (LNER)
Great Northern Railway 1846 - 1923 (LNER)
Great North Eastern Railway 1841 - 1850 (NER)
East Lincolnshire Railway 1848 - 1970 (LINE CLOSED COMPANY ABOLISHED)
Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway 1847 - 1922 (LNWR)
London North Western Railway 1846 - 1922 (LMS)
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) 1923 - 1948 (BR)
Midland & Great Northern Railway 1893 - 1923 (LNER & LMS)
Great Western Railway 1833 - 1948 (BR)
Great Eastern Railway 1862 - 1923 (LNER)
Hull, Barnsley & West Riding Junc Railway 1885 - 1923 (NER)
The 'Big Four'
In 1923 (until 1948) most railway companies were amalgamated into four large companies, these are detailed below with some short facts on each company, they are listed in their respective size.
LMS: London Midland & Scottish Railway 6,870 route miles. Claimed to be the World's largest joint stock organisation.
LNER: London North Eastern Railway 6,590 route miles. Hauled one third of Britains coal.
GWR: Great Western Railway 3,800 route miles. Largest single user of Welsh coal.
SR: Southern Railway 2,186 route miles. Despite its small size, it carried more than a quarter of the UK's passengers.
On the 1st of January 1948, state-owned British Railways (BR) were formed. The 'big four' companies and all other companies remaining were amalgamated into one national company. The network however was divided into sections, these were;
ER: Eastern Region; LNER lines South of Shaftholme Junction (Doncaster)
NER: North Eastern Region; LNER lines North of Shaftholme Junction
LMR: London Midland Region; LMS lines in England & Wales
ScR: Scottish Region; LMS & LNER lines in Scotland
SR: Southern Region; Southern Railway lines
WR: Western Region; GWR lines
In 1994 British Rail was no more, the network was privatised and a new company called Railtrack was formed much to everyones dismay. It lasted until 2002. Costs spiralled out of control and privatistation was doomed. A fatal derailment at Hatfield in Hertfordshire which was blamed on poor track maintenance was the final nail in the coffin and the company went into administration.
In 2002 the rail network was taken back into public ownership and a 'not-for-profit' company called Network Rail was created. It is run by the ORR (Office of Rail Regulation) and all profit made is put back into improving the system.
The World's first Railway
Wollaton Wagonway in the East Midlands, Nottinghamshire was the first form of railway and ran from Strelley to Wollaton in 1603.
The Liverpool & Manchester Railway (L&MR) was the World's first Intercity passenger railway from 1830-1845 before being taken over by the London & North Western railway.