Research Output

Britain’s railways were nationalised 70 years ago – let’s not do it again

  It is 70 years since the era of public rail ownership began in Great Britain. The British Transport Commission formally took control of the operation and planning of the whole network, having been brought into existence by Clement Attlee’s Labour government under the Transport Act 1947 (the name British Rail didn’t appear until 1965).

At the time, the network was in dire need of investment. The Railways Act 1921 had consolidated over 100 operators into “the big four” – Great Western; London, Midland & Scottish; London & North Eastern; and Southern Railways. They had been financially squeezed by rules that forced them to carry freight at rates that were often unprofitable, and competition from an emerging road sector that had been prioritised for public investment.

  • Type:

    Other

  • Date:

    01 January 2018

  • Publication Status:

    Published

  • Library of Congress:

    HE Transportation and Communications

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    388 Transportation; ground transportation

  • Funders:

    Bright Club Scotland

Citation

Cowie, J. (2018). Britain’s railways were nationalised 70 years ago – let’s not do it again. The Conversation,

Authors

Keywords

British Rail, nationalisation,

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