chapter  XVI
10 Pages

State Ownership of Railways

From the earliest days of railways, and in every country, there has been a close contact between the railways and the State. In view of the variations in the types of relationships between States and their railways it is necessary to distinguish carefully between State Control, State Ownership, and State Operation. In general, State railways are administered and operated by the State itself. The Railway Administration forms one of the Government Departments comparable to the Post Office in this country, and at its head is a Minister of the Political Party or Group in power at the time. The new method of State administration has obvious advantages over the old, since it strengthens the organization in those directions in which experience has shown that State railways are handicapped, e.g. lack of initiative, routine, and non-continuity of policy. The case for nationalization has to be decided on broad issues and on the specific merits and limitations of private versus State enterprise.