Updated 20th May
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This report, known as the 'modernisation plan' was commissioned as part of an attempt to stem the losses being incurred by BR due to competition from road and air traffic. Among the recommendations taken up were massive spending - £1.2bn - on the replacement of all steam traction with diesel and electric, and construction of vast marshalling yards using automated shunting.
The failure of the plan was that nothing was done to address pre-war working practises, or the 'common carrier' requirements which meant road haulage firms could cherry-pick the lucrative freight traffic and leave BR with the rest. The diesel traction was poorly procured, with some types scrapped only 10 years after their introduction.
The failure of the plan led directly to the Beeching reports and closures 10 years later, and was seen by government as a squandering of a once-in-a-generation spending plan; the failure soured the relationship between railway and government for decades after.
This document was published on 1st December 1954 by British Transport Commission.
It was written by British Transport Commission.
The original document format was Scanned Images, and comprised 35 pages.
This document was kindly sourced from British Official Publications Collaborative Reader Information Service and is in our Financial & economic reports collection. It was added to the Archive on 1st December 2007.
This document is © BRB (Residuary) Ltd.
"For reasons which are too well known to require repetition here, British Railways today are not working at full efficiency, mainly owing to their past inability to attract enough capital investment to keep their physical equipment up to date. This plan aims to produce a thoroughly modern system, able fully to meet both current traffic requirements and those of the forseeable future."
Report of the Committee on Types of Motive Power
1st December 1954
Modernisation and Re-Equipment of British Railways
13th January 1961
High-Voltage A.C. Locomotives Built by British Railways
Modernisation Progress Report
British Railways Progress
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