‘Railways at the dawn of the Commonwealth.’, with Oliver Betts is the second talk in the Commonwealth Heritage Forum’s Series on ‘Railways across the Commonwealth’ (Autumn 2023).
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 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.
Unfortunately the recording of this talk was lost as a result of a Zoom malfunction. The CHF are hoping to arrange a recording with the speaker as soon as possible and an update will be available in due course. Our four remaining lectures in this series are available to listen to online, via our website.
More information and photos for all topics can be found on our website