Williams, Michael Aufrere (2010) 'A more spectacular example of a loss-making branch would be hard to find': A financial history of the Whitby-Loftus line 1871-1958. MA by research thesis, University of York.
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While a number of historians have identified the problems of Britain's railways in the period from approximately c.1925 onwards as having their roots in the last decades of the nineteenth century, with special emphasis being placed upon the building of unremunerative branch lines, R. J. Irving's 1993 article specifically identified the Whitby-Loftus line as a paradigm: 'A more spectacular example of a loss-making branch would be hard to find'. The dissertation considers this opinion by looking at the construction of the line, its history up to the opening in 1883, and especially its later history in terms of a financial analysis of the line. Underpinned by detailed and mostly hitherto unused primary sources, the dissertation attempts to modify to a certain extent Irving's rather harsh description, although fundamentally agreeing with it. That the line was mainly, but by no means entirely, dependent upon passenger revenue is a factor which may be adduced to T. Leunig's argument in his 2006 article that lines like this provided 'tremendous welfare gains to travellers and society', thus offering a more sophisticated, if more abstract, reason for the line's seventy-five year existence. The dissertation also considers the effect of bus competition in the 1920s and shows how dramatic an effect this competition had on the line and, by implication, many other unremunerative branch lines. A financial analysis of the line's estimated profits for three discrete years, 1910, 1920 and 1933, is undertaken. Although the analysis is fraught with pitfalls and lacunae it indicates that, for a short period in the line's existence it did, perhaps, pay its way. No such detailed history or financial analysis of this line has been hitherto attempted and, given the emphasis that Irving placed upon it,is therefore an important contribution to the railway history of north-eastern England.
|Item Type:||Thesis (MA by research)|
|Keywords:||Railways. North-Eastern England. Whitby. Loftus. Branch lines.|
|Academic Units:||The University of York > History (York)|
|Depositing User:||Dr Michael Aufrere Williams|
|Date Deposited:||16 Feb 2011 12:56|
|Last Modified:||08 Aug 2013 08:45|
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