Atlantic Coast Express

Atlantic Coast Express

Atlantic Coast Express

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The Atlantic Coast Express (ACE) was an express passenger train in England between Waterloo station, London and seaside resorts in the south west. It ran between 1926 and 1964: at its peak it included coaches for nine separate destinations.

The origins

The First World War inevitably brought an end to competition between the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) and its historic rival the Great Western Railway (GWR) for traffic between London and the cities and holiday resorts of south western England.

However, in 1923 the Railway Grouping Act came into force creating four new companies to run Britain’s railways, and the former London and South Western Railway became part of the new Southern Railway (SR).

This was an era when air travel was still in its infancy and journeys by road uncomfortable and slow, and in consequence Devon and Cornwall were fashionable destinations for London’s wealthy and cultured society and the railways their preferred mode of transport.

The GWR had been left virtually unchanged by the railway company mergers, and the directors of the new Southern Railway recognised that some initiative was needed to publicise their services to the South West, and in addition show they were ready to compete with “the old enemy” once more. They decided on a competition open to all employees to choose a name for the principal West Country express of the day, the 11.00 a.m. departure from Waterloo. The winning entry was submitted by Mr F. Rowland, a guard...
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