Modernisation and Conciliation Comparison of the industrial relations policies of the North Eastern and the Midland should begin with their thoroughly contrasting market situations. This is not to claim that the factor of itself generated two very different cultures. Nevertheless, the very different business environments promoted perceptions of company strategy within which specific approaches to trade unionism could seem appropriate. The North Eastern was the result o f an amalgamation in 1854, and developed a virtual monopoly over an economically significant and diverse region. It dominated a quadrilateral defined by the Humber, the North Sea, the Scottish border and the Pennine ridge. After early absorptions of local lines, the only significant competition was provided by the Hull and Barnsley Railway, a largely coal-carrying line whose construction was encouraged by Hull business interests in the belief that the North Eastern discriminated against Hull’s port facilities in favour of alternatives further north. Even this rival was absorbed by the North Eastern in 1922, just prior to the grouping of the private companies.