The Final Day Collection
THE FINAL DAY COLLECTION
To mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the ‘Big Four’ train companies, the limited edition Final Day Collection features a mainline locomotive from each of the four regions in its final regional livery
Only 500 of each locomotive will be produced, complete with an individually numbered limited edition certificate
Nationalisation may have been averted in 1923, but with the outbreak of war in 1939, wartime government control of the railways once more fell to the Railway Executive Committee (REC).
The Minister of Transport, Euan Wallace, took control of Britain's railways on September 1,1939 using the Emergency (Railway Control) Order, under the powers granted by the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939.
The REC, under the direction of the Ministry of Transport, retained control throughout the war years and remained in control until Clement Attlee's Transport Act of 1947 nationalised the railway companies on January 1, 1948, twenty five years after Eric Campbell Geddes’ Railways Act of 1921.
The creation of British Railways marked the end of what many enthusiasts regard as the golden age of the railways in Great Britain, as within months locomotives and carriages were repainted into the new standard BR liveries, whilst the Modernisation Plan of 1955 led to the withdrawal of steam traction and the closure of many lines.
2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the ‘Big Four’ and the ‘Final Day’ collection features a mainline locomotive from each of the regions, in its final regional livery, each one being available to purchase separately.
A CHANGING NETWORK
The unbridled expansion of Great Britain's railway network throughout the 19th century,and into the 20th century, was arrested by the onset of war in 1914.
By 1914, there were over 100 different rail companies, 23,000 miles of rail track and 4,000 stations, serving 1.55 million passengers. With no major road network, personnel, equipment and spares had to be moved out to the continent by rail, whilst ambulance and troop trains increased on the national network. Under the Requisition of Forces Act 1871, the various rail companies were nationalised under the Railway Executive Committee (REC) on August 4, 1914, state control of the railways continuing until 1921. Whilst many in government favoured nationalisation, the Minister of Transport,
Eric Campbell Geddes, didn't and the compromise was a 'Grouping' of the Rail Companies on January 1, 1923 into the 'Big Four' companies of the Great Western Railway, the London Midland Scottish Railway, the London North Eastern Railway and the Southern Railway. A number of joint lines managed to remain outside the 'Big Four', such as the M&GN and the S&DJR, whilst the London suburban railway companies were also exempted. Light railways, such as those run by Colonel Stephens, also retained their independence.