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The World's First Railway System
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The World's First Railway System: Enterprise, Competition, and Regulation on the Railway Network in Victorian Britain

Mark Casson


The British railway network was a monument to Victorian private enterprise. Its masterpieces of civil engineering were emulated around the world. But its performance was controversial: praised for promoting a high density of lines, it was also criticized for wasteful duplication of routes. This book provides a history of the railway system written from a modern economic perspective. Using counterfactual analysis, it reveals enormous inefficiency in the Victorian system. This inefficiency was due to weaknesses in regulation and defects in government policy. British railway companies developed i ... More

Keywords: railway, network, history, Victorian Britain, system efficiency, regulation, performance, counterfactual

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780199213979
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213979.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mark Casson, author
Professor of Economics, University of Reading
Author Webpage