Story collection brings together 100 years of memorable firsts on the East Coast Main Line

The landmark exhibition marks its 100th anniversary and features incredible stories from customers, colleagues, historians and celebrity travellers
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

During the past century, the East Coast Main Line has contributed to many significant firsts within people’s lives. Now, a major new exhibition to mark London North Eastern Railway’s (LNER) landmark anniversary is celebrating some of the most pioneering feats and special moments it has made possible.

Unveiled at Newcastle Central Station, ‘100 Years of Firsts’ shines a light on a century of remarkable, moving, and heart-warming tales from customers, relatives, LNER colleagues and historians.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The multimedia gallery includes written stories, audio recordings and photography capturing the firsts from a century of transforming travel of the past and present on the East Coast of the UK. LNER is also looking to the future and the firsts which they will enable in the years to come.

From a chance encounter because of missed train which sparked a four-year relationship, to tales of collecting first pets, pioneering hair salons on Flying Scotsman and even a Dragon’s Den star travelling to London to be presented with her MBE - the collection has been meticulously compiled from interviews, archive research and first-hand accounts, capturing 100 seminal firsts from along LNER’s East Coast route.

Highlights include:

● Dragon’s Den star, Sara Davies, travelling to meet Queen Elizabeth II for the first time to collect her MBE.

● A young girl travelling to Scotland to fulfill her dream of feeding the Pandas at Edinburgh Zoo.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

● An author who wrote his first book while travelling between Leeds and London King’s Cross.

● Two LNER customer experience colleagues who first set eyes on one and other at the onboard catering carriage and are now married.

● A veteran former employee whose first job from school lead to more than 40 years of illustrious service.

● Celebrity quizzer Shaun Wallace’s adventures across the UK entering quizzes before he hit the big time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Claire Ansley, People and Customer Experience Director at LNER, said: “Since 1923, LNER and firsts have gone hand in hand. Whether it’s breaking speed records, introducing cinema carriages or hiring the UK’s first black train driver, our pioneering spirit continues to push us forward along with millions of customers every year.

“Each story in this exhibition marks a moment. From touching personal accounts to lesser-known milestones of historical significance born out of a rich history of pioneering progress, the number of firsts which have been marked on the East Coast Main Line is incredible.”

To learn more about the campaign and enjoy the stories behind the exhibition, the LNER ‘100 Years of Firsts’ exhibition is running from August 22 until August 28 at Newcastle Central Station. The collection of touching stories is also being made accessible to passengers along the line digitally and on LNER’s podcast.

LNER is asking customers to share their future firsts of memories they hope to make on the route to continue the legacy of creating first class moments for the future. One hundred of these will be selected and rewarded with £100 in LNER Perks loyalty credit to help make their dream a reality. Further details can be found at

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

LNER calls at more than 50 stations along the East Coast route, totalling 956 miles including major towns and cities between London, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, North East of England and Scotland.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.