Jump to content

sem34090

As of New Year's Day in 1923, the railways of Great Britain are to be formally Nationalised...

Recommended Posts

That is correct, yes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll say that there were lots of ROD's - We still had a few of them operating in the 1970s in Australia! As far as I am aware, the only surviving one in the UK was a GCR 8K, whilst the only ones built for the ROD still surviving are in Australia.

True, but two of the Australian survivors were built by the great central.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If, as was likely, Sir Eric Geddes was in charge, and Sir Vincent Raven became CME, we'd probably have seen at least some mainline electrification during the 1920s and 30s.

 

The ROD couldn't have become a national standard — remember the GCR was built to the standard European loading gauge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You say that, but ROD's found homes on the LSWR, CR, LNWR, GWR and later LMS and LNER after the war so they can't have been that huge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A question - Via a rather roundabout chain of webpage-viewing I came across a rather interesting snippet about Heinrich Bruning, chairman of the German Centre Party until July 1933, and had been German Chancellor in 1930. He had studied at the London School of Economics:

Quote

After graduating from Gymnasium Paulinum he first leaned towards the legal profession but then studied Philosophy, History, German and Political Science at Strasbourg, the London School of Economics and Bonn, where, in 1915, he received a doctorate for his thesis on the financial, economical and legal implications of nationalizing the British railway system.

I think this could be quite an interesting thing to have a read through, given its date, but I have yet to work out how to go about finding it!

 

It's amusing where history lessons can lead...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Possibly the most salient point about nationalisation is that it makes capital expenditure, and any subsidy of loss-making operations, "public spending", which has to be found from tax income, so that the first thing to do in considering what a nationalised railway in Britain in the 1920s would be like would be to consider the then existing appetite for taxation and public spending.

 

Looking at the GPO (remember that?) might be an instructive example. Was the GPO richly funded from tax revenue, or very largely dependant upon self-generated income? Did it make major investment in the 1920s? The National Grid came a bit later, but is another interesting example.

 

All worth thinking about, even from a 'toy train set' perspective, because it will tell you whether you are looking at a load of old crocks being nursed along, or some tasty modern machinery.

 

And, how much rationalisation, how quickly? Lots, fast, would be my guess, because, to use a bit of management-speak, there was an awful lot of low-hanging-fruit - triplicated termini all ver the place.

 

And, and, could the response to the austere conditions of the late-20s and early-30s have been more adroit and effective?

 

Were Ministers happier with an "arm's length" relationship than the became later? I think they probably were, so less detailed dabbling, and more effective power to the executive managers, provided that there were no or very limited calls on the public purse!

 

PS: I suppose bond-funding could have been used, as indeed it was by LT in the early years, because the status of government backed bonds was a bit different then.

 

And, having checked, public expenditure was effectively dead flat through the 20s and 30s, except for a tiny bump of ‘pain relief’ at the time of the Depression, so I wouldn’t bet on being able to fund any ‘new works and renewals’ except from revenue income, which makes for less capital to spend than the big four had, because they did raise some capital on the markets over this period. Austerity measures must be implemented immediately!

Edited by Nearholmer
  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a PPS:

 

There was a lot of very serious discussion about the possibility of nationalising Britain's railways from about 1900 until WW1, then again in the debates that eventually led to Grouping, so the scenario that SEM imagines is anything but unrealistic.

 

I have (somewhere!) two books published c1913, one setting out the case for nationalisation, one the case against. These were "popular' publications, not specialist items for politicos or railway managers.

 

If you want to read contemporary thoughts, there are a lot of papers and articles, and a few books, viewable via Google Scholar. Use advanced search, enter 'railway nationalisation', and bound the dates to 1910-1920 to avoid getting all the same arguments over agin in the 1940s and 1990s!

  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.