For British Rail, the 1970s was a time of contrasts, when bad jokes about sandwiches and pork pies often veiled real achievement, like increasing computerisation and the arrival of the high-speed Inter-City 125s. But while television advertisements told of an 'Age of the Train', Monday morning misery remained for many, the commuter experience steadily worsening as rolling stock aged and grew ever more uncomfortable. Yet when BR launched new electrification schemes and introduced new suburban trains in the 80s, focus fell on the problems that beset the Advanced Passenger Train, whose ignominious end came under the full media glare. In British Rail in the 1970s and '80s, Greg Morse takes us through a world of Traveller's Fare, concrete concourses and peak-capped porters, a difficult period, which began with the aftershock of Beeching and ended with BR becoming the first nationalized passenger network in the world to make a profit.
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.
Excerpted from British Railways in the 1970s and 80s by Greg Morse. Copyright © 2013 by Greg Morse. Excerpted by permission of Shire, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
THE QUEST FOR PASSENGERS
THE NETWORK SPREADS
AGE OF THE TRAIN?
SERPELL , STRIKES AND SECTORIZATION
TOWARDS THE 1990S
PLACES TO VISIT
FURTHER READING AND VIEWING