An outline of British Transport Since the Second World War
The development of British inland transport since 1939 has been dominated as much by politics as by economics. Deep differences in political and economic philosophy between the two main parties profoundly influenced the organization and successive reorganization of transport in the three postwar decades. Much of the present discussion is inevitably concerned with describing this process of organizational change, which began in 1939 with wartime control over the nlain branches of transport, was follo,ved with the return of peace by a Transport Act of 1947 which aimed at 'integrating' all forms of transport through large-scale nationalization, was succeeded by an Act of 1953 which carried out partial denationalization and was designed to make competition the aim of transport policy, and followed again by an Act of 1962 which carried the process of de-centralization and commercial operation of public transport still further. The Labour Party, however, when it returned to power, while still insisting that all transport services should be related to their costs, took the view that some of them should be grant-aided on social grounds. This was one feature of the widely-ranging Act of 1968, which also took account of other lessons learned during the chopping and changing of the previous twenty years.