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British Railway Shipping 1948-1984 A Nationalised Success Story

Hartill, Jeremy (2014) British Railway Shipping 1948-1984 A Nationalised Success Story. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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This dissertation will look at British Railways shipping activities under the British Transport Commission (BTC) and British Railways Board British (BRB). At the time of nationalisation in 1948 the BTC took control of the extensive shipping activities of the British railway companies. The research done for this dissertation suggests the BTC was the largest operator of passenger ships in Europe in the early post-war years. Academic research in this field is very limited, indeed the whole coastal shipping scene has been somewhat neglected. What has been done suggests that the “railway ships” were outdated, inefficient and unprofitable. Richard Pryke in the Journal of Fiscal Studies considered the BRB shipping activities as a failure compared to Townsend, a private enterprise operation. A number of commentators also highlight the advent of the Townsend car ferries in leading the way forward for ferry services from the UK. What this dissertation will show by looking at a number of aspects of this sector is that this was not the case. Most of the studies and commentator’s have not compared like for like and that will be highlighted. The financial performance of the shipping sector will be examined to show that overall it was a very profitable operation. The equipment used in terms of the fleet and harbour facilities will show that over the period under consideration the BTC/BRB fleet moved forward in a manner comparable with other operators in the similar circumstances. It will also show that a massive change in the market place, moving from the classic rail-sea-rail passenger and rail born freight traffic on cargo ships to the modern mixed use vehicle ferry was managed very successfully with Sealink emerging as a major force and leading brand for short sea and ferry operations.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: Mr Jeremy Hartill
Date Deposited: 15 May 2015 10:37
Last Modified: 15 May 2015 10:37
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8814

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