The South Eastern and Chatham Railway Companies Joint Management Committee
(SE&CRCJMC), known by its shorter name of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway
(SE&CR) was a working union of two neighbouring rival railways, the South Eastern Railway
(SER) and London, Chatham and Dover Railway
(LC&DR), that operated services between London and Southeast England. Between 1899 and 1923 the SE&CR had an effective monopoly of the railway service in Kent, and several of the main Channel ports for ferries to France and Belgium.
The companies had competed extensively over the same area, with some of the bitterest conflicts ever seen between British railway companies. Competing routes to the same destination were built; thus many towns in Kent were served by both companies, and left with a legacy of two stations and services to multiple London termini.
By the end of the 19th century the SER and LC&DR had fought over a small and not particularly lucrative territory for 40 years. Both were notorious for the poor quality of their services and decrepitude of their stock, and the struggles had driven both companies to the verge of bankruptcy. It became inevitable that they must combine or succumb.
The SE&CR was formed on 1 January 1899, when the SER and LC&DR formed a "managing committee" comprising the directors of both companies. This effectively... Read More