01 January 2009

A quiet start to the year

The 1st January is usually a fairly quiet day as most people recover from the night before. However, the start of a new year is as good a time to start any major new initiative so the date sees many key events over the years. Two of them which changed public transport in Plymouth (and everywhere else) are noted here, in my first post of 2009, and my return to regular posting after a well earned break over Christmas!


1st January 1948



British Railways was born. British Railways (BR), which later traded as British Rail, ran most of the British railway system from the nationalisation of the 'Big Four' British railway companies in 1948 until privatisation in stages from 1994 to 1997. For Plymouth it meant the end of the Great Western Railway and The Southern Railway as two separate private railway companies. Bringing the lines in Plymouth under one common (state) ownership enabled lots of changes to be made over the coming years which probably wouldn't have happened otherwise, or at least not quite so soon.

1st January 1969

National_Bus_Company Forty years ago today saw the birth of The National Bus Company. Locally that meant Western National, Southern National, and Devon General. were all under the same ownership. It wasn't long before Southern National merged under Western National and then later Devon General was taken over too, although the name was to continue.

There you have it. Two starts to two different years both to have major impacts on the way public transport was provided in and around Plymouth. Things have of course changed a lot since these dates and in some ways have come around full circle with both the buses and the trains being run by large private companies rather than the state. Even the name Great Western lives on under the First banner although the Western National name has disappeared under a much blander 'First' branding.


I have set myself the aim of covering more of the history of Plymothian Transit this year than I have managed so far which means actually sitting down and reading some of the books I have purchased over the last year! If you have any suggestions as to what you want to see covered, or any information you think might be interesting then you know where I am!

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