By Charles Loft

Greater than forty years after its e-book, the 1963 Beeching file on British railways continues to be debatable for recommending the closure of a 3rd of Britain’s railways. during this ebook, Charles Loft examines: why the nationalized railways have been in such dire monetary straits via 1963 how govt paintings on destiny delivery wishes resulted in conclusions which might have minimize Britain’s railways down by means of hundreds of thousands of miles what problems ultimately halted makes an attempt by means of Conservative and Labour governments to enforce those cuts. This booklet might be worthwhile to somebody drawn to how delivery coverage is made or the way it has arrived at its present country and sheds interesting new gentle at the operating of presidency, the economic system and the temper of the days below Churchill, Eden, Macmillan and Wilson.

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But it’s a polite way (and the only way in which we as a Government can take a lead) of saying “no more wages this year” ’. 98 In 1958 a further strike threat was averted when the Government, having decided to take on the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) over London busmen’s pay, intervened to avoid a simultaneous fight with the NUR. The settlement included the establishment of an inquiry into railway pay under the academic economist C. W. 100 Damaging as these actions were for railway finances, it would be futile to pretend that there was some simple and obvious solution to the problems that produced them.

No-one had really appreciated the vast expansion of road traffic . . it’s easy to think now ‘they must have been blind’, but it wasn’t quite like that at the time . . [One] should not underestimate the difficulty of turning a Government department round . . 32 The 1947 Act therefore provided neither the mind-set nor the organization to achieve its coordinating aims. There is some evidence, however, that attitudes were changing. 33 In September 1951, Barnes told the Cabinet that a ‘bolder and more imaginative approach’ was required.

The ideologies of coordination and competition, although prominent in the language of transport policy in the 1950s, were not as significant as their advocates wanted to believe. Coordination under the 1947 Act was too incomplete and short-lived and competition under the 1953 Act too laden with restrictions for either to stand as practical examples of ideology at work (unless as examples of the impossibility of translating such ideologies into practicalities). Nor had 36 The railway problems the concepts been translated into plans for action.

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