The Modernisation Plan


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ISBN: 9780711037908 Categories: ,


This new railway history has been produced to mark the 60th anniversary of the British Railways Modernisation Plan of 1955. Apart from the design and building of new diesel locomotives, very little has been written about the process itself, so this detailed analysis fills a gap in the literature and tells the story of how the modernisation was undertaken, set against the backdrop of Britain in the 1950s and 1960s.Starved of capital since nationalisation in 1948, the Government’s willingness to fund a bold programme of modernisation in 1954 sparked a new mood of optimism on the railways and brought forth new schemes covering almost every facet of activity. The best known of these, the so-called Pilot Scheme for main line diesels and the equivalent scheme for electric locomotives are covered in detail. Railway electrification, including the reason for adoption of 25kV as the new standard, self-powered passenger vehicles – from railbuses to the Blue Pullman sets – and service modernisation are also explored.David Clough is an established expert in railway affairs and a well regarded author of railway history, his work always being supported by original research from the official files of the National Archives. Using this approach in this book has enabled him to provide an insider’s view of how and why decisions were taken, how progress with the Plan was buffeted by factors inside and outside British Railways’ control and why the Modernisation Plan failed to deliver the promised salvation of the British railway network.


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