The erecting shop at the Grand Junction Railway engine-works, Crewe, 1849
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving from the 'Illustrated London News', published on 24 March 1849. The Grand Junction Railway (GJR) was incorporated in 1833, serving Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Chester. The GJR amalgamated with the London & Birmingham Railway and the Manchester & Birmingham Railway in 1846 to form the London & North Western Railway. The building of the GJR's engine building and maintenance works at Crewe in 1843 established the town as a centre of the rail industry and caused it to grow rapidly. The works were only built at Crewe because local landowners blocked the company's preferred site at Nantwich, four miles away. The Crewe works gained a reputation for the high quality of its locomotives.