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The World's First Railway SystemEnterprise, Competition, and Regulation on the Railway Network in Victorian Britain$
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Mark Casson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199213979

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213979.001.0001

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(p.221) 6 Regulation
The World's First Railway System

Mark Casson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The regulation of the Victorian railway system was weak. A golden opportunity to introduce indicative planning at the time of the Railway Mania was lost when Members of Parliament decided to reject advice given to them by the Board of Trade. A regime of indicative planning lasted for only one year, during which time the Board of Trade produced an impressive set of reports. Because the Board recommended the rejection or postponement of many local schemes, Parliamentarians who endorsed these recommendations faced unpopularity in their constituencies. Without the advice of the Board, Parliament approved large numbers of competitive schemes, precipitating a financial crisis in the short run and wasteful duplication in the long run.

Keywords:   railway, Board of Trade, indicative planning, Member of Parliament

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