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The London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) was a railway company in England from 1840 to 1923. Its ultimate network extended from London to Plymouth via Yeovil, Exeter and Okehampton with branches to Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and Torrington and Padstow and Wadebridge — a territory in which it was in direct competition with the Great Western Railway — and, via Basingstoke, Winchester and Southampton, along the Dorset coast to Bournemouth and Weymouth. It also had a large number of branches which connected to places such as Portsmouth and Reading, and some joint railway operations with others — including the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. Following the grouping in 1923, the L&SWR lines became part of the Southern Railway.
Among the most significant achievements of the L&SWR were the electrification of suburban lines, the introduction of power signalling, the development of Southampton Docks, the rebuilding of Waterloo Station as one of the great stations of the world and the handling of the massive traffic involved in the First World War. By the 20th century its services were exemplary. The major locomotive classes of the L&SWR's last engineer, Robert Urie, were continued and further developed by his successor on the Southern Railwary, Richard Maunsell. Its General Manager Sir Herbert Ashcombe Walker became the Manager of the Southern Railway and Walker himself was succeeded in the latter post by Major Gilbert Szlumper, formerly his assistant on the L&SWR.
The LSWR was blessed throughout much of its history by distinguished and highly capable locomotive engineers.