British Rail 1974-1997: From Integration to Privatisation

Hardcover | March 1, 2002

byTerry Gourvish

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Britain's privatised railways continure to provoke debate about the organisation, financing, and development of the railway system. This important book, written by Britain's leading railway historian, provides an authoritative account of the progress made by British Rail prior toprivatisation, and a unique insight into its difficult role in the government's privatisation planning from 1989. Based on free access to the British Railway Board's rich archives, the book provides a comprehensive analysis of the main themes: a process of continuous organisational change; theexistence of a persistent government audit; perennial investment restraints; the directive to reduce operating costs and improve productivity; a concern with financial performance, technological change, service quality, and the management of industrial relations; and the Board's ambiguous positionas the Conservative government pressed home its privatisation programme. The introduction of sector management from 1982 and the 'Organising for Quality' initiative of the early 1990s, the Serpell Report on railway finances of 1983, the sale of the subsidiary businesses, the large-scale investment in the Channel Tunnel, and the obsession with safety which followed theClapham accident of 1988, are all examined in depth. In the conclusion, the author reviews the successes and failures of the public sector, rehearses the arguments for and against integration in the railway industry, and contrasts what many have termed 'the golden age' of the mid-late 1980s, whenthe British Rail-government relationship was arguably at its most effective, with what has happened since 1994.

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Britain's privatised railways continure to provoke debate about the organisation, financing, and development of the railway system. This important book, written by Britain's leading railway historian, provides an authoritative account of the progress made by British Rail prior toprivatisation, and a unique insight into its difficult ro...

Terry Gourvish has been Director of the Business History Unit at the London School of Economics since 1989. Previously he was the Dean of the School of Economic and Social Studies at the University of East Anglia.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:736 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.61 inPublished:March 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199250057

ISBN - 13:9780199250059

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Table of Contents

Introduction: British Rail After Twenty-Five Years of NationalisationPart I: Railways Under Labour, 1974-19792. Operating the 1974 Railways Act: Financial Results, Organisational Responses, and Relations with Government3. Operations, Productivity, and Technological ChangePart II: The Thatcher Revolution? British Rail in the 1980s4. Sector Management and New Performance Targets5. The Serpell Report6. Cost Control and Investment in the Post-Serpell Railway7. Selling the Subsidiary BusinessesPart II: On the Threshold of Privatisation: Running the Railways, 1990-19948. Business Performance, Pricing, and Productivity9. Investment and the Channel Tunnel10. SafetyPart IV: Responding to Privatisation, 1981-199711. The Privatisation Debate and 'Organising for Quality'12. Reorganising for Privatisation, 1992-199413. Endgame, 1994-1997Appendices

Editorial Reviews

`The Channel Tunnel is only one of many fascinating topics discussed in the book. Other key topics include the burying of the highly critical Serpell Report, the demise of the Advanced Passenger Train, the response to the Clapham accident of 1988, the branding and marketing of the InterCitynetwork and Network South East, the development of provincial commuter lines, and the sale of ancilliary businesses, such as railway workshops.'Business History