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The South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR) was formed on 1 January 1899, when two neighbouring rival railways; the South Eastern Railway (SER) and London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) formed a "managing committee" comprised of the directors of the two companies. This effectively merged the two companies (strictly speaking they remained independent until grouping: this was to avoid capital gains tax, stamp duty, etc of a merger) with the receipts split 59% to SER and 41% LCDR.
The two companies had competed extensively over broadly the same area, reportedly with some of the bitterest competition ever seen between British railway companies. Many towns in Kent were thus served by both companies and were left with a legacy of two stations and multiple London termini (the prime destination of most passengers).
1919 It was decided to adopt a third and fourth rail DC electrification system at 3kV (1500V on the outer third rail and -1500V on the inner fourth rail). Power would come from a dedicated generating station at Angerstein Wharf. Routes planned for electrification were from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Holborn Viaduct and Victoria. However this scheme did not come to fruition.
1922 The two concerns were formally merged as the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR)under the South Eastern and Chatham Railways' Managing Committee on 1 January 1922. The combined track mileage was 637.75 miles.
1923 Became part of the Southern Railway