The Great Northern Railway in Sandy
The Great Northern station at Sandy in the 19th century [Z50/99/7]
The railway age came to Sandy on 7th August 1850 with the opening of the Great Northern Railway (GNR). This line ran from Maiden Lane in London (King's Cross replaced it in 1852) to Peterborough [Northamptonshire] and was built under the auspices of engineer William Cubitt, the contractor being Thomas Brassey. The route for this railway had been surveyed as early as 1844 and the London & York Railway Act allowing it to be built passed on 26th June 1846. The railway later ran as far as York and, by 1871 to Edinburgh and was known as the East Coast Main Line. The GNR livery was dark green with brown frames for locomotives, switching to grass green with claret frames between 1876 and 1881. Coaches were finished in varnished teak.
In 1860 it took just under two hours to travel between Sandy and King's Cross. This time had come down to less than an hour and a half by 1890. In 1922 the old companies were reorganised into groups by virtue of the Railways Act 1921 - Great Northern Railway becoming part of the new London and North Eastern Railway. The new railway used a number of liveries on its trains. A lined apple green was used on passenger locomotives and unlined black on freight locomotives. Passenger carriages continued to have a varnished teak finish. The famous Flying Scotsman was an LNER locomotive. In 1917 the two sets of buildings, LNWR and GNR were amalgamated into one station serving both routes.
The bridge connecting the platforms of the GNR and LNWR at Sandy [Z1306/99]
In 1948 the British railway companies were all nationalised as British Rail. The LNER was formerly wound up in 1949. British Rail was privatised in 1996 and the winners of the East Coast Main Line franchise were Sea Containers Limited who used the name Great North Eastern Railway.
Sandy Station March 2010