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British Rail: A New History

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In this comprehensive history, Colin Maggs, one of the country's foremost railway historians, tells the story of over 400 years of British railway history. The unified integrated structure was split into more than 100 sections, governed by a system which was far more expensive to operate and ultimately proved unworkable.

With Peter Parker there came the first in the line of very public and media savvy managers who fought for the railway tooth and nail deploying modern marketing and managerial techniques to win public support and counter government and Treasury intransigence. There is a short selling up of the events of privatisation showing it reflects badly on the final incarnation of British Rail. As he reveals, BR managed to overcome organisational confusion and political sabotage to become a remarkably forward-looking and efficient network before its breakup in 1997. The book mostly focusses on the political, organisational and commercial aspects of the railways and explains many of the (to me) ridiculous changes in the last 30 years.

Still it was out of this post-Beeching period that the popular support for the railways grew and closure proposals became a lot more difficult and faced greater challenges. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products.

The rise and fall of the state-owned British Rail, from "the greatest expert on British trains" Christian Wolmar Her voyage as an apprentice astronaut began when she was in her early thirties: five years of intense training around the world, from Houston to Japan to the legendary Star City in Russia. This title is an authoritative and enthralling history of the rise and fall of the state-owned British Rail. The beautiful, if flaky, diesel hydraulic Western class aren't even named - they get lumped in with a general criticism of the Western Region's attempt to do it their way. In fact, there is a very real effort to inject color and vibrancy into the history of Britain’s postwar railways here, with a striking sense of design and presentation that brings readers into the history of Britain’s railways in an engaging way. Whilst the period covered is largely early 1960s, the last years of the steam era on British Railways Western Region, the earliest pictures in this volume are some Dufaycolor slides of Tintern station taken in the 1930s.Wolmar is fair in his dissection of Beeching noting that along with the poorly thought through hatchet job he instigated against the network there were many key issues including the operation of uneconomic seasonal services, the common carrier albatros, and freight traffic more generally that required attention. No maps, diagrams or photos to illustrate the text, which is made all the worse for poor descriptive writing.

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