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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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Business Strategies and their Effects

Business Strategies and their Effects

(p.280) 7 Business Strategies and their Effects
The World's First Railway System

Mark Casson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

To obtain an Act of Parliament, the promoters of a railway had to demonstrate social benefits in order to justify their powers of compulsory purchase of land. Promoters therefore formed provisional committees that represented a cross section of local interests (or stakeholders). Once construction began, however, shareholders became the dominant influence and narrow proprietorial self-interest asserted itself. The railways served the interests of the wealthy business and social elites rather than those of the ordinary workers and consumers, and benefited major towns and cities more than rural areas. By the end of the Victorian period they were being heavily criticized for high fares and freight charges, poor service, and a general lack of corporate social responsibility.

Keywords:   railway, corporate social responsibility, quality of service, shareholder, stakeholder, provisional committee

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