John Speller's Web Pages South Eastern & Chatham Railways Joint Committee

John Speller's Web Pages - British Railways
South Eastern & Chatham Railways Joint Committee Untitled UKRH Horizontal
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"The Chatham Company have year by year extended their system and sapped all the traffic of the S.E., and yet, with it all, the Chatham Company are as deep in the mire as ever; and so their deluded and dissatisfied shareholders raise the cry of "amalgamation," well knowing they have nothing to lose and much to gain at the expense of the South-Eastern Railway, which for the sake of peace are willing to enter into a working agreement, and so reduce the expenses of the two lines." — G. A. Sekon (George Augustus Nokes), History of the South Eastern Railway (1895), p. 39.

But against this view of the coming together of the arch-enemies — the South Eastern Railway and the London, Chatham & Dover Railway — literally over the dead body of Sir Edward Watkin, in a Joint Management Committee in 1899, was the view that this liaison, involving as it did a monopoly over the railways in Canterbury, Dover and much of south eastern England, was unconscionable and was only designed to make the inefficiencies of both companies, which had been somewhat notorious, even worse. Thus in 1901 we read:

"The last Parliament, always the friend of vested interest, and beguiled possibly by the fluent promises of Mr. Cosmo Bonsor and other directors, including Mr. Akers Douglas and Mr. George Wyndham, possibly also by the fact which Mr. Barker, the only Liberal M.P. in Kent, mentioned at Maidstone—viz., that eleven members of the late Government were railway directors—passed the Bill, notwithstanding the warnings of Mr. Bryce, M.P., Mr. J. W. Lowther, M.P., and other sagacious and disinterested public men, while the Chatham Chairman, as he himself informed the shareholders, was consoled for his abandonment of that post by a guarantee by the South Eastern Company of £3,000 a year for ten years. Nearly two years have passed and what is the result? The county of Kent is up in arms against the inefficient services of goods and passenger trains ; Continental and other services have been taken off; Canterbury, Maidstone and other towns allege that promises made to them when the scheme for union was before Parliament have not been kept; and even the far-off branch line to Reading seems to be petitioning the Board of Trade on the inefficiency of the management (as if that would remedy matters!)." — "The South Eastern Railway Scandal," The Speaker, vol. 3 (1901), p. 87.

I have to say I could have told them so. Of course, the Grouping of 1923 created an even greater monopoly, but in favor of the Southern Railway it can at least be said that the Southern had in Sir Herbert Walker a General Manager who was more than capable of administering his way out of a wet paper bag than most of the former management of the SE&CR.

The best decision the SE&CR ever made was to appoint Richard Maunsell as Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1913.
SE&CR Dover Boat Express behind Wainwright "D-1" Class 4-4-0 No. 726. Express was perhaps a misnomer for a train that averaged a little under 30 mph
Maunsell ex-SE&CR "N" Class 2-6-0 No. 1412. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Maunsell 3-cylinder "N-1"Class 4-4-0 No. 822 outside the SE&CR's Ashford Works in 1922. The boiler is actually domeless and what looks like a dome is the casing for the top feed apparatus. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Richard Edward Lloyd Maunsell, LL.B. (1868-1944), of Blessed Memory. Chief Mechanical Engineer, Great Southern & Western Railway (Ireland), 1911-13, South Eastern & Chatham Railway 1914-1922, and Southern Railway 1923-1937
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