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Encyclopedia > British Transport Commission

The British Transport Commission (BTC) was created by Clement Attlee's post-war Labour government as a part of its nationalisation programme, to oversee railways, canals and road freight transport in Great Britain (Northern Ireland had the separate Ulster Transport Authority). Its general duty under the Transport Act 1947 was to provide "an efficient, adequate, economical and properly integrated system of public inland transport and port facilities within Great Britain for passengers and goods", excluding transport by air. Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, FRS, PC (3 January 1883–8 October 1967) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1945 to 1951. ... The Labour Party has been, since its founding in the early 20th century, the main left-wing political party of the United Kingdom. ... Nationalization or nationalisation is the act of taking assets into state ownership. ... UTAs logo The Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) ran rail and bus transport in Northern Ireland from 1948 until 1966. ... The Transport Act, 1947 was part of the nationalisation agenda of Clement Attlees Labour government. ...


The BTC came into operation on 1 January 1948. Its first chairman was Lord Hurcomb, with Miles Beevor as Chief Secretary. Its main holdings were the networks and assets of the four big national regional railway companies: Great Western Railway, London and North Eastern Railway, London, Midland and Scottish Railway and the Southern Railway. It also took over 55 other railway undertakings, 19 canal undertakings and 246 road haulage firms, as well as the work of the London Passenger Transport Board, which was already publicly-owned. The nationalisation package also included the fleets of 'private owner wagons', which industrial concerns had used to transport goods on the railway networks. January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1948 calendar). ... Baron Cyril William Hurcomb (18 February 1883-7 August 1975) was a distinguished British civil servant. ... Miles Beevor (born 8 March 1900; died London on 9 September 1994), was a solicitor, pilot and businessman The son of Rowland Beevor and Margaret Frances Evans, Beevor was educated at Winchester College, and graduated from New College, Oxford University in 1921 with a Bachelor of Arts. ... The original Bristol Temple Meads station, first terminus of the GWR, is the building to the left of this picture The Great Western Railway (GWR) was a British railway company, linking South West England, the West Country and South Wales with London. ... LNER timetable for Autumn 1926 detailing the resumption of services after the General Strike. ... The London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS1) was a British railway company. ... The following railways or railroads are or were called the Southern Railway or Southern Railroad: // The world other than North America Southern Railway in southern England (1923-1948) Southern, a National Rail franchise operators in the United Kingdom Southern Railway of India Southern Railway of Austria North America Southern Railway... The transport of London has, since 1933, been under a single control with various names. ...


Organization

The BTC was one of the largest industrial organizations in the world, at one time employing nearly 688,000 people. At first, the Commission did not directly operate transport services - these were the responsibility of the Commission's Executives. These were separately appointed, and operated under what were termed 'schemes of delegation'. The Act provided for five Executives, covering Docks & Inland Waterways, Hotels, London Transport, Railways, and Road Transport. The Railway Executive traded as "British Railways". In 1949, Road Transport was divided into separate Road Haulage and Road Passenger Executives, though the latter proved short-lived. The British Railways Board (BRB) was the governing body of British Railways (later British Rail) from 1962 until privatisation in the 1990s. ... British Railways (BR), later rebranded as British Rail, ran the British railway system, from the nationalisation of the Big Four British railway companies in 1948 until its privatisation in stages between 1994 and 1997. ...


The Commission's extensive activities included:

  • Advertising: British Transport Advertising sold space on premises and vehicles
  • Buses: the Tilling Group sold its bus interests to the BTC in September 1948, as did the Red and White Group in 1950. Midland General buses and trolleybuses were transferred by the British Electricity Authority. From the railway companies, the BTC also inherited non-controlling interests in many bus companies in the British Electric Traction Group. It also manufactured buses for its own use, through the subsidiaries Bristol Commercial Vehicles and Eastern Coach Works. In London and the surrounding area, the BTC ran both the (red) London buses and the (green) country buses, including Green Line Coaches.
  • Docks: British Transport Docks (today known as Associated British Ports), comprising 32 ports taken over from the railway companies
  • Films: the BTC had its own film production company, British Transport Films
  • Hotels & Catering: the former railway hotels and catering departments, later re-organised as British Transport Hotels
  • Museums: The BTC inherited the LNER's Railway Museum at York and appointed a Curator of Historical Relics to build up a national collection. Eventually, much of this collection was displayed at the Museum of British Transport at Clapham, south London. This closed in the early 1970's and was superseded by the National Railway Museum at York and the London Transport Museum (now in Covent Garden). The BTC also established the Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum.
  • Police: the British Transport Police was formed chiefly by the amalgamation of the various railway constabularies
  • Railways: British Railways, including ancillary activities like engineering workshops, and London Underground. The former LMS lines in Northern Ireland (see Northern Counties Committee) were sold to the Ulster Transport Authority in 1949.
  • Road Haulage: the local road distribution networks of the pre-nationalisation rail companies, plus the removals company Pickfords, which the railways had owned jointly. To these were added numerous smaller independent concerns taken over at nationalisation, comprising all undertakings predominantly engaged in ordinary long-distance work for distances of 40 miles or upwards. These networks were later re-organised as British Road Services (BRS).
  • Shipping: the former railway steamer services, primarily to France and Ireland and around the Scottish coast, and investments in Associated Humber Lines and the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company
  • Tramways: the South London tramways of London Transport, all of which were abandoned by 5 July 1952
  • Travel & Holidays: the travel agents Thomas Cook & Son
  • Waterways: canals and navigable rivers, mainly taken over from canal companies, like the Grand Union Canal Company, but also including those bought out earlier by the pre-nationalisation railways. The Caledonian Canal was already State-owned. The canals are today run by British Waterways. As well as the canal infrastructure, BTC also managed canal carrying services.

The Commission was permitted to "secure the provision" of road passenger services, although it did not have general powers of compulsory purchase of bus operators. To obtain specific powers of acquisition it had first to draw up, and get approval for, a 'Road Scheme', area by area. Only one was published, the North East Area Road Scheme, though work began on a second scheme, covering East Anglia. The NEARS was never confirmed, as it was fiercely opposed by private and municipal operators. 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1948 calendar). ... 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... The British Electricity Authority (BEA) was established in 1948 with the nationalisation of the UKs electricity supply industry, as a result of the Electricity Act 1947. ... British Electric Traction Company, PLC, was a leading manufacturer and operator of electric railway tram systems in England during the late 19th century and early 20th century. ... Green Line Coaches is a long-distance commuter coach-operating company, part of the Arriva group operating services from London. ... Associated British Ports Holdings plc is a holding company that owns and operates 21 ports throughout the United Kingdom. ... British Transport Films was an organisation set up in 1949 to make documentary films on the general subject of British transport. ... British Transport Hotels (BTH) was the brand name of the hotels and catering business associated with the nationalised railway system in Great Britain from 1948 to 1983. ... Clapham is a neighbourhood in the London Borough of Wandsworth, South London. ... London (pronounced ) is the capital city of England and of the United Kingdom. ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1970 calendar). ... Locomotives arranged around the turntable in the Great Hall. ... York is a city in northern England, at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss. ... Londons Transport Museum, formerly known as the London Transport Museum, is a museum which seeks to conserve and explain the transport heritage of London, the capital city of the United Kingdom. ... Covent Garden is a district in central London and within the easterly bounds of the City of Westminster. ... Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum is a canal museum located next to the Grand Union Canal, near the village of Stoke Bruerne in Northamptonshire England. ... The British Transport Police (BTP) is a non-Home Office national police service responsible for policing the railway system throughout Great Britain. ... British Railways (BR), later rebranded as British Rail, ran the British railway system, from the nationalisation of the Big Four British railway companies in 1948 until its privatisation in stages between 1994 and 1997. ... The nickname the Tube comes from the circular tube-like tunnels through which the small-profile trains travel. ... The Northern Counties Committee (NCC) came about, on 1 July 1903, as the result of an amalgamation between the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway and the Midland Railway . ... Pickfords is a moving company based in England, part of the international firm Sirva. ... British Road Services, often shortened to BRS, was the nationalised company that operated the former road transport networks of the pre-nationalisation railway companies, after the 1962 break-up of the British Transport Commission The company was made up of four main operating areas: British Road Services Ltd BRS Parcels... 1952 (MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Thomas Cook (22 November 1808 – 18 July 1892) of Melbourne, Derbyshire, founded the travel agency that bears his name. ... The canal at Braunston The Grand Union Canal is a canal in England and part of the British canal system. ... The Caledonian Canal in Scotland connects the Scottish east coast at Inverness with the west coast near Fort William. ... British Waterways sign near Gas Street Basin on the BCN. British Waterways is a government body sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Scottish Executive in the United Kingdom. ...


The quasi-federal structure of Commission and Executives proved to be an obstacle to integration and was largely abolished by the Conservative government with effect from 1 October 1953 (the London Transport Executive alone survived). On 1 January 1955, the railways were re-organised on the basis of six Area Railway Boards, which had a wide measure of operational autonomy under the Commission's overall supervision. The Commission took direct charge of the remaining assets, though these were significantly reduced by the Conservatives de-nationalising much of the road haulage sector. On 1 January 1955, separate managements were also set up for road haulage, hotels, docks and inland waterways. The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative & Unionist Party) is currently the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), and the largest in terms of public membership. ... October 1 is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1953 (MCMLIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1953 calendar). ... The London Transport Executive (LTE), commonly known as London Transport, was the organisation responsible for public transport in London, United Kingdom and its environs from 1948-1963. ... January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Break up

By the late 1950s the BTC was in serious financial difficulties, largely due to the economic performance of the railways. It was criticised as an overly bureaucratic system of administering transport services and had failed to develop an integrated transport system (such as integrated ticketing and timetabling). It was abolished by Harold Macmillan's Conservative government under the Transport Act, 1962 and replaced by five successor bodies: Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC (10 February 1894 – 29 December 1986), was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1963. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative & Unionist Party) is currently the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), and the largest in terms of public membership. ... The Transport Act, 1962 was passed by Harold Macmillans Conservative government to dissolve the British Transport Commission, which had been established by Clement Attlees Labour government in the 1940s to oversee railways, canals and road freight transport. ...

These changes took effect on 1 January 1963. Notwithstanding the abolition of the BTC, the British Transport Police continues to exist. The BTC heraldic shield is still displayed on the BTP badge. The British Railways Board (BRB) was the governing body of British Railways (later British Rail) from 1962 until privatisation in the 1990s. ... British Waterways sign near Gas Street Basin on the BCN. British Waterways is a government body sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Scottish Executive in the United Kingdom. ... The London Transport Board, commonly known as London Transport, was the organisation responsible for public transport in London, United Kingdom and its environs from 1963-1970. ... The Transport Holding Company (THC) was created by the Transport Act 1962 to administer a range of state-owned transport, travel and engineering companies previously managed by the British Transport Commission (BTC). ... January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (the link is to a full 1963 calendar). ... The British Transport Police (BTP) is a non-Home Office national police service responsible for policing the railway system throughout Great Britain. ...


Chairmen


  Results from FactBites:
 
Transport Act 1947 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (586 words)
Under the Transport Act 1947 the railways, long-distance road haulage and various other types of transport were acquired by the state and handed over to a British Transport Commission for operation.
The commission was responsible to the Ministry of Transport for general transport policy, which it exercised principally through financial control of a number of executives set up to manage specified sections of the industry under schemes of delegation.
All of these transport modes including British Rail were brought under the control of a body called the British Transport Commission (BTC).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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