Railway Amalgamation and Combination
The economic advantages of amalgamation are of especial importance in the railway industry because competition involves a wasteful and unnecessary duplication of a great amount of fixed capital. The year 1844 may be taken to mark the beginning of the movement towards railway combination in Britain. The year 1846 was an outstanding year in the history of British railways, since in addition to the numerous amalgamations, many lines were leased, numerous canals absorbed, and a record number of Railway Bills for new lines were promoted in Parliament. Between 1860 and 1872 a number of amalgamations were effected without undue comment as time had shown that combination was not so dangerous to the public interest as had been thought. Amalgamations, working agreements, and other forms of combination have great economic and financial attractions to the participating companies, and these advantages can in turn be passed on to the public provided the monopoly thus established is suitably regulated by the Government.