The election of the first majority Labour Government in July 1945 was characterised by many contemporaries as the culmination o f a ‘Forward March’ which went back to the foundation of the Labour Representation Committee, and indeed to the preceding political initiatives, most notably the foundation of the Independent Labour Party in 1893. The railway unions, particularly the ASRS and then the NUR, had played a central role in this development, and in 1945 they welcomed the arrival of the Attlee Government with enthusiasm, not least because o f the Labour Party’s long-standing commitment to railway nationalisation. However, the earlier analysis has demonstrated that the pattern of labour politics from the 1890s onwards was much more complex than can be suggested by the simplistic litany of the ‘Forward March’. Ambiguities and suppressed alternatives should be recovered; similarly, after 1945, the responses of railway workers and the railway unions to the early years of public ownership raise important questions about the character o f the Labour Government’s public ownership strategy, and the relationship between the Government and the public sector unions.