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Railways at the dawn of the Commonwealth [Commonwealth Heritage Forum event]
Wed 15th November @ 18:00 - 19:30
Wednesday 15 November, 6pm GMT, Dr Oliver Betts: ‘Railways at the dawn of the Commonwealth’, chaired by Francis Maude
Railways in Britain were reaching their zenith as the Commonwealth of Nations took shape. During the previous century Britain’s railway industry had spread across its Empire and into the informal empire of British influence and capital too. For British manufacturers it had been a closed shop – India, the fastest growing rail network in the early twentieth century, was obliged to import British rails rather than make its own. For British railwaymen too, be they engineers or financiers or investors, this global network had been a land of opportunity. All of that changed post-war, and as the Commonwealth evolved so too did its railways. New routes, new manufacturers, new ideas, and, perhaps most importantly, new people were drawn into railways across the Commonwealth.
Drawing on the extensive collections at the National Railway Museum, this paper will explore how people across the Commonwealth adjusted to a new dawn of railways, how some succeeded and others faltered, and how this very nineteenth-century invention had to find new roles in the late twentieth century.
Oliver Betts is the National Railway Museum’s Research Lead. His talk will explore how people across the Commonwealth adjusted to a new dawn of railways, how some succeeded and others faltered, and how this very nineteenth-century invention had to find new roles in the twentieth century.