Chapter

Post‐Second World War British Railways

Timothy Leunig

in Paradoxes of Modernization

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199573547
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722677 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573547.003.0009
Post‐Second World War British Railways

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Public Management and Administration

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

This chapter examines the performance of Britain's railways, as measured by the speed of travel. It looks at the post-1945 period and assesses not the overall gains in speed, but the distribution of those gains across different routes. In short, the question the chapter asks is: did British Rail invest in the right lines? The chapter first demonstrates that there was considerable heterogeneity in the extent to which speeds improved on different lines. It then shows that this cannot be explained by ex ante and unalterable technical factors. Nor is it in line with an equality-based social welfare function, or obvious commercial criteria. Having shown that there is no compelling reason for what we observe, it is shown that different patterns of improvement were possible. It is argued that decisions on where to invest were made by British Rail management, before indicating that Government, acting in accordance with political incentives, could have produced a railway system that better met the needs of those who travelled on it.

Keywords: railway systems; transportation policy; British Rail; rail transport; railway management

Chapter.  10004 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Management and Administration

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.