British Railways Case Study

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2.3 NATIONALISATION PERIOD: 1948-1994 The Transport Act, 1947, handed over many forms of transport, including buses, shipping, canals, and road haulage, to the newly created British Transport Commission (BTC). The BTC was also responsible for operating Britain’s railways and, from January 1st 1948, the railway was one entity known simply as “British Railways”. There was a new branding for the railways to make them look better, but this did not arrive straight away. At first many of the engines stayed in their previous company colours or, when serviced, were repainted again in the colours of the old companies rather than the drab wartime black livery. They would come out from the workshops with the words “British Railways” replacing any previous…show more content…
Huge marshalling yards were built to use the new freight stock, but the traffic never arrived, having moved to the roads, which, with the brand-new motorways, were becoming more attractive to businesses. The first generation of diesels was largely a disaster, with many failing or at best unreliable. The shared facilities with steam engines did not help as the diesels’ air intakes sucked in huge amounts of sooty air! Some of the newer diesels, however, were a great success, with the “Deltics” (later class 55) taking over duties on the East Coast Main Line and reducing the journey to around 5 ½ hours, and the small Class 08 shunters being used in yards throughout the country. A major initiative in Scotland was the electrification of the Glasgow Suburban Network in 1960, with brand new Class 303 Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) introduced to replace ageing steam services. Although there were problems at first with the new units, they became a success and, with their bright blue liveries and push-button sliding doors, the “Blue Trains” helped establish a more modern image in the area. The last surviving Class 303 is in the Display Shed at Bo’ness. By the end of the 1950s it was apparent that the Modernisation Plan had not reversed the railways’ fortunes, so it was decided that something would have to be done. By 1963 the British Transport Commission had gone. The new British Railways Board was headed by Dr Richard Beeching and his report – The Reshaping of British Railways – was to have huge consequences for the future of rail in this

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