About the Author
was instilled with a love of trains at an early age, has written many articles on railway history, and is privileged to work within the industry he loves as an Operational Safety Specialist. He has also written John Betjeman
and British Railways in the 1950s and '60s
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
British Railways – the butt of many jokes – was formed in 1948, when the Great Western, London Midland & Scottish, London & North Eastern and Southern Railways were taken into public ownership, together with fifty smaller concerns. It was originally divided into six regions, controlled by the Railway Executive – one of five that answered to the British Transport Commission, which had been established to provide a “properly integrated
system of public inland transport and port facilities within Great Britain”. The Railway Executive inherited over 20,000 locomotives, 56,000 coaches, a million wagons, 43,000 road vehicles, 650,000 members of staff and nearly 9,000 horses. Much of the rolling stock – and the track on which it ran – was in poor condition, having been heavily used and lightly maintained during the Second World War.