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British Rail 1974-97: from integration to privatisation

Terry Gourvish
Oxford University Press (March 2002)
450pp £50 h/b

Commissioned by the British Railways Board and based on free access to its rich archives, this book provides a detailed and analytical account of the main themes: a process of continuous organisational change; the existence of a persistent government audit; perennial investment restraints; the directive to reduce operating costs and improve productivity; a concern with financial performance, technological change, service quality, and the management of industrial relations; and the Board's ambiguous position as the Conservative government pressed home its privatisation programme.

The introduction of sector management from 1982 and the 'Organising for Quality' initiative of the early 1990s, the Serpell Report on railway finances of 1983, are all examined in depth. In the conclusion, the author reviews the successes and failures of the public-sector railway, rehearses the arguments for and against integration in the industry in the early 1990s, and contrasts what many have terms 'the golden age' of the mid late 1980s, when the British Rail-Government relationship was arguably at its most effective, with what has happened since 1994.

Ends

For more information, contact Jessica Winterstein, LSE Press Office, on 020 7955 7060 or email j.winterstein@lse.ac.uk|

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