Anniversaries 20182018-01-02T10:31:47+00:00

2018 Anniversaries           

300th anniversary

1718 — –         John Hore appointed engineer to Kennet & Avon Canal.


250th anniversaries

1768 Jan 29   Coventry and Droitwich Canals authorised (James Brindley and John Priddey, engineers, respectively).

1768 Feb –     Birmingham Canal authorised (James Brindley, engineer).

1768 Jun 10   Forth & Clyde Canal construction begins (Act Mar 8; James Brindley, engineer).

1768 — –         Alloa waggonway open.

1768 — –         Stourport canal basin opened.

1768 — –         Poolbeg lighthouse (Dublin Bay) first illuminated (by candlepower).

1768 approx   Donnington Wood and Sir John Glynne’s Canals constructed.



1818 Jan  2    Institution of Civil Engineers formed.

1818 Jan  6    General Post Office, Dublin, opens in Sackville Street.

1818 Feb 24   16 ships driven ashore at Padstow.

1818 Mar  3    Union Canal construction begins at Edinburgh end.

1818 May mid   PS Thames makes the first steamboat passage from the Clyde to Dublin.

1818 Jun 13–14 Rob Roy makes the first steamboat passage from the Clyde to Belfast.

1818 Aug  1   Irish packet service transferred from Dublin to Rennie’s new harbour at Howth.

1818 Aug 16   Death of John Palmer of Bath, postal entrepreneur, Brighton (b. 1742).

1818 Aug 20   Portsmouth & Arundel Canal first sod cut, Ford.

1818 Nov 13   Public meeting in Darlington resolves to promote a Stockton & Darlington Rly.

1818 — –         Edmonston waggonway opened Newton colliery–Little France (edge rail; Robert Stevenson, engineer).

1818 — –         Red Jacket Canal completed (William Kirkhouse, engineer).

1818 — –         Rosehall canal (private) begun in Scotland.

1818 — –         Aire & Calder Navigation basin at Leeds opened.

1818 — –         Thomas Morton of Leith invents the patent slip.

1818 — –         Brighton Road rerouted to a new turnpike through Redhill.


175th anniversaries

1843 Jan  2    GWR Swindon Works opens officially.

1843 Jan 30   Bishop Auckland & Weardale Rly (S&DR) opens to Bishop Auckland permanent station.

1843 Jan 31   Queen’s Bridge, Belfast opened.

1843 Feb  7    Glasgow, Kilmarnock & Ayr Rly opens.

1843 Mar 10   Grand Juncn Rly begins transfer of its locomotive works to Crewe from Liverpool.

1843 Mar 25   Thames Tunnel opened to pedestrians (M.I. Brunel, engineer).

1843 Mar 29   Eastern Counties Rly opens to Colchester.

1843 May  1   Bristol & Exeter Rly extends Taunton–Beambridge.

1843 May 23  Hayle Rly opens to passengers Hayle–Redruth worked by contractor.

1843 Jun 22   Bolton–Preston railway opens.

1843 Jun 29   PS Vanguard launched at Robert Napier’s new yard at Govan on the Clyde, his first iron ship.

1843 Jul 19    SS Great Britain* launched at Bristol (I.K. Brunel, engineer).

1843 Aug 19   Kingstown & Dalkey Rly (Ireland) begins experimental operation on atmospheric system.

1843 Dec –     The world’s first Christmas cards, commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in London from the artist John Callcott Horsley (I.K. Brunel’s brother-in-law), are sent.

1843 — –         Steam locomotive wheel balance weights introduced by William Fernyhough, loco supt, Eastern Counties Rly.

1843 — –         First steam on Loch Katrine, PS Gypsy.



1868              Zenith of sail: global net tonnage 5M (steamships 1M).

1868 Jan –      American tramway promoter G. F. Train is arrested in Cork for debt and spends much of the year imprisoned in Ireland.

1868 Jan  1    LB&SCR opens Central Croydon branch.

1868 Jan 22   16 vessels lost off Burry estuary in a gale (30 killed).

1868 Feb  1    Cambrian Rlys Caersws Severn bridge approach embankment collapses under a train after undermining by flood water (2 crew killed).

1868 Feb  3    SER opens Chislehurst–Tonbridge.

1868 Feb 17   GNR and LC&DR begin to operate services over Metropolitan City Widened Lines King’s Cross–Farringdon.

1868 Feb 17   MR opens Manningham station.

1868 Feb 28   Torbay & Brixham Rly opens on broad gauge to passengers (R. W. Wolston, principal proprietor).

1868 Mar  1    MS&LR opens New Mills–Hayfield.

1868 Mar  2    NER opens Gateshead–Durham and Crook–Tow Law deviation.

1868 Mar 14   Millwall Dock opens.

1868 Mar 16   L&SWR opens Colyton Juncn–Seaton.

1868 Apr  1    Corwen & Bala Rly opens Llandrillo–Bala; extended Aug 4 by Bala & Dolgelley Rly opening throughout.

1868 Apr  1    NER opens Nunthorpe Juncn–Ingleby.

1868 Apr  6    L&NWR opens Llanrwst–Bettws-y-Coed to passengers.

1868 Apr 13   Metropolitan & St John’s Wood Rly opens Baker Street–Swiss Cottage.

1868 Apr 13   Sutherland Rly opens Bonar Bridge–Golspie.

1868 May  1   SER completes main line to Tonbridge via Sevenoaks.

1868 May  1   Glasgow & Paisley Joint Rly opens Ibrox–Govan.

1868 May  1   GNR opens Firsby–Spilsby.

1868 May  4   MR opens Redditch–Alcester.

1868 May 25  Forest of Dean Central Rly opens Awre Juncn–New Fancy Colliery for minerals on broad gauge.

1868 May 26  Birth of R.E.L. Maunsell, CME, Raheny (d. 1944).

1868 May 30  Festiniog & Blaenau Rly opens on 1 ft 11½ in (60 cm) gauge.

1868 Jun –      Bill authorising joint working of SER, LC&DR and LB&SCR withdrawn in Lords.

1868 Jun  1    L&NWR opens Llanwrtyd–Llandovery.

1868 Jun  1    NBR opens Dalmeny–South Queensferry.

1868 Jun  1    Pembroke & Tenby Rly opens Carmarthen loop.

1868 Jun  5    NER opens Hownes Gill Juncn–Lanchester Juncn.

1868 Jul  1     L&NWR opens Sandbach–Northwich.

1868 Jul 13    Midland Rly begins passenger services over Metropolitan City Widened Lines.

1868 Jul 15    L&YR opens Blackrod–Horwich.

1868 Jul 21    Tottenham & Hampstead Rly opens Highgate Road–Tottenham.

1868 Jul 31    Telegraph Act authorises GPO to take over private and railway company telegraphs.

1868 Jul 31    Wey & Arun Juncn Canal (Abandonment) Act passed.

1868 Aug  1   MS&LR opens Tinsley–Rotherham.

1868 Aug  1   Brecon & Merthyr Rly opens Merthyr–Cefn.

1868 Aug  3   LB&SCR opens Groombridge–Uckfield.

1868 Aug  3   Caledonian Rly opens Newtyle–Meigle.

1868 Aug 19   Clipper Thermopylae launched by Walter Hood & Co., Aberdeen, for George Thompson’s Aberdeen Line.

1868 Aug 20   L&NWR Abergele accident: ‘Irish Mail’ collides with runaway paraffin trucks (33 killed).

1868 Sep  1   MR opens Derby–Melbourne.

1868 Sep  1   Brecon & Merthyr Rly opens Deri Juncn –Dowlais Top.

1868 Sep  1   Caledonian Rly opens Busby–East Kilbride.

1868 Sep 23   Aylesbury & Buckingham Rly opens Aylesbury–Verney Juncn.

1868 Oct  1    Midland Rly opens to passengers Bedford–London St Pancras station. The St Pancras train shed (W. H. Barlow, engineer) is complete, but the permanent building and hotel have only just been started.

1868 Oct  1    Metropolitan Rly opens Edgware Road–Gloucester Road.

1868 Oct  1    LB&SCR opens Peckham Rye–Sutton.

1868 Oct  1    Tooting, Merton & Wimbledon Rly opens Tooting Juncn–Merton Park and Streatham South Juncn–Wimbledon.

1868 Oct 13–23  GWR converts Princes Risborough–Aylesbury from broad to standard gauge.

1868 Oct 30   Birth of Holman Fred Stephens, light railway engineer, London (d. 1931).

1868 Nov  2   Sirhowy Rly opens Sirhowy–Nantybwch.

1868 Dec 10   The world’s first traffic lights are installed in Parliament Square.

1868 Dec 12   Hammersmith & City Rly extended to new Hammersmith terminus.

1868 Dec 24   Metropolitan District Rly opens its first section, South Kensington–Westminster Bridge; Metropolitan Rly opens South Kensington–Gloucester Road.

1868 — –         Liverpool Tramways Act, first to authorise a street tramway in the British Isles.

1868 — –         J. Bacon Dashwood publishes The Thames to the Solent by Canal and Sea.

125th Anniversaries

1893 Jan  1    Publication of maximum freight rates under Railway & Canal Traffic Act 1888, causing widespread complaints from traders.

1893 Jan  1    GER abolishes 2nd class (outside London suburban area and boat trains).

1893 Mar  6    Liverpool Overhead Rly opens as the world’s first electrified elevated railway (500 V DC, outside 3rd rail).

1893 Mar 26   Death in service of Sir George Findlay, general manager, L&NWR (b. 1829).

1893 Mar 28   Baker Street & Waterloo Rly authorised as a Tube line.

1893 Apr  5    Post Office opens Belfast–Glasgow telephone link via Donaghadee–Portpatrick submarine cable.

1893 May  1   2nd class abolished by Scottish railways, West Coast Joint services, Cambrian, GNR (outside London suburban area) and NER (outside Tyneside suburban area).

1893 Jun 29   Fishguard Bay Rly & Pier incorporated (renamed Fishguard & Rosslare Rlys & Harbours Co. 31 Jul 1894).

1893 Jul  6     Replacement Bonar Bridge opened.

1893 Jul 25    Corinth Canal opens in Greece.

1893 Jul 26    Oystermouth Rly reconstructed as Swansea & Mumbles Rly.

1893 Aug 12   Taff Vale Rly Llantrisant accident: runaway caused by locomotive component failure (13 killed).

1893 Aug 21   First boat crosses Barton Swing Aqueduct, carrying Bridgewater Canal over (uncompleted) Manchester Ship Canal (Edward Leader Williams, engineer).

1893 Aug 24   Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Rly authorised as a Tube line.

1893 Sep  7   Douglas & Laxey Coast Electric Rly opens Derby Castle–Groudle Glen (Isle of Man, 3 ft gauge, 500 V DC, overhead, rigid bow collectors).

1893 Oct 17   Nigel Gresley begins his premium apprenticeship at Crewe works.

1893 Nov  6   Dore & Chinley Rly opens for Midland Rly goods, including Totley tunnel (3 miles 950 yds/5.7 km).

1893 Dec 19   GWR opens Brent–Kingsbridge branch.

1893 Dec 30   Thames & Severn Canal closed east of Chalford until further notice (at 2 days notice).

1893 — –         Leeds & Liverpool Canal Winterburn reservoir opened.

1893 — –         Forth & Cart Canal closed.



1918 Jan 19   MR Little Salkend accident: express collides with landslip (7 killed).

1918 Feb 10   Richborough train ferry begins operation.

1918 Feb 22   Southampton–Dieppe train ferry begins operation.

1918 Apr 13   Death of Thomas Fremantle, ex-chairman, LB&SCR (b. 1830).

1918 May –     Belvoir Castle tramway last known use.

1918 Jun  3    GPO raises postage rates: the ordinary letter rate is now 1½d., bringing an end to the Uniform Penny Post which has existed since 1840; and the rate for postcards doubles from ½d. to 1d.

1918 Jun 22   Michigan Central RR Hammond Circus train wreck, Hammond, Indiana: circus train collides in rear with troop train following signals passed at danger (86 killed).

1918 Jul  9     Nashville, Chattanooga & St Louis Rly great train wreck, Nashville, Tennessee: head on collision on single track (101 killed, greatest number in any US rail accident).

1918 Jul 22    L&SWR abolishes 2nd class.

1918 Jul 17    Cunarder RMS Carpathia is torpedoed and sunk off the east coast of Ireland on passage from Liverpool to Boston by SM U-55 (5 killed; 218 saved).

1918 Aug 18–23 London & Provincial Union of Licensed Vehicle Workers women bus and tram workers strike for same 5 shillings per week increase in war bonus as men; on Aug 30 Committee on Production awards full backdated increase to them and munitions workers.

1918 Oct 10   City of Dublin Steam Packet Co. RMS Leinster is torpedoed and sunk just out of Kingstown on passage to Holyhead by U-55 (500+ killed).

1918 Nov  1    Brooklyn Rapid Transit Malbone Street wreck, New York City: train derailed in tunnel due to excessive speed on curve (97 killed).

1918 Nov 11   05:12–05:20: Armistice with Germany signed in Marshal Foch’s carriage, CIWL 2419, in Compiègne Forest, ending World War I.

1918 approx   Greasbrough (Park Gate) Canal use ceases.


75th anniversaries

1943 Jan  1    Civilian travel to the Isle of Wight is prohibited (until 25 Aug 1944).

1943 Jan  1    First Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST steamed, earliest of 377 built for war service to Ministry of Supply order.

1943 Jan  16  First War Department Austerity 2-8-0 handed over to Ministry of Supply, earliest of 935 built for war service.

1943 Mar  3    Bethnal Green Tube station disaster: Crush at uncompleted station, in use as air raid shelter (173 killed).

1943 May 10  BOAC’s first stewardess begins service, Rosamond Gilmour on DH91 Bristol (Whitchurch)–Shannon feeder.

1943 May 25  SR London Road Viaduct, Brighton, hit by bomb.

1943 Sep –     Ballykelly airfield runway extended across LMS NCC Londonderry main line.

1943 Sep  7   Birth of Chris Green, railway manager, Winchester.

1943 Oct 14   Death in office of O.C.Power (b.1879): traffic manager, Birmingham & Midland Motor Omnibus Co. (or predecessor) since 1899. Donald M. Sinclair, chief engineer, succeeds him as Midland “Red”’s first general manager.

1943 Oct 17   Empire of Japan completes Burma Rly Bangkok–Rangoon using forced labour of Asian civilians and Allied Prisoners of War.

1943 Nov 17   GWR Honeybourne boiler explosion: USATC S160 class 2-8-0 2403 firebox collapses as result of misleading water gauge reading (fireman killed).


50th anniversaries

1968              BR withdraws its last 359 standard-gauge steam locomotives, and 431 diesels, during year; also last LNER-design general service hauled passenger coaches.

1968 Jan –      Ford Escort car introduced from Halewood. Produced until 20 Jul 2000, having achieved 2M production by 1974.

1968 Jan  1    BR introduces metric system for new projects.

1968 Jan  1    BR introduces 6-digit National Location Codes for asset management.

1968 Jan  1    Last BR train calls at Trent station.

1968 Jan  1    UTA’s Ulster Transport Railways renamed Northern Ireland Railways.

1968 Jan  2    BR introduces Holyhead–Dublin container service, using MV Harrogate.

1968 Jan  6    BR Hixon accident: train collides at speed with heavy indivisible load on automatic half-barrier level crossing (11 killed). A judicial enquiry into the circumstances under Section 7 of the Railways Act 1871 is held by F.B. Gibbens QC.

1968 Jan  6    Canal Transport Marketing Board inaugurated.

1968 Jan 29   BR opens Millbrook (Southampton) Freightliner terminal.

1968 Jan 29   M1 completed throughout, Belfast–Dungannon (38 miles/90 km), first motorway in Northern Ireland finished end to end.

1968 Feb –     Formation of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders by amalgamation of Fairfields, Govan; Alexander Stephen & Sons, Linthouse; John Brown & Co., Clydebank; Charles Connell & Co., Scotstoun; and Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd (latter leaves consortium Apr 1970); with 48.4% government holding.

1968 Feb –     Miss Gillian Cazalet becomes a pilot with Skyways Coach Air Ltd.

1968 Feb 10   Boeing 737 first commercial flight, with Lufthansa.

1968 Feb c.    BR WR closes Rhondda tunnel, at 3443 yds (3148 m) the longest in Wales.

1968 Mar  1    Aurigny Air Services begins operations in Channel Islands.

1968 Mar  2    BR runs last train (until 1987) through Birmingham Snow Hill tunnel, severing the ex-GWR Chester line as a through route.

1968 Mar  3    First enthusiasts’ trains operate over Leighton Buzzard Light Railway (2 ft/60 cm gauge) (first regular steam working Jun).

1968 Mar 23   BR runs last regular passenger train Honeybourne–Cheltenham.

1968 Mar 24   Tuskar Rock accident: Aer Lingus Vickers Viscount EI-AOM St Phelim on flight 712, Cork–London, crashes into St George’s Channel off Co. Wexford, attributed to structural failure (61 killed).

1968 Mar 25   Opening of Tinsley motorway viaduct, Sheffield (steel box girder; Freeman, Fox & Partners, engineers) (lower level: upper level Jun?).

1968 Apr  1    BR places into store at Hull Dairycoates 33 of 56 class 14 0-6-0DH trip working locomotives (some built as recently as Sep–Oct 1965) prior to sale into industry.

1968 Apr  1    Portsmouth–Ryde hovercraft service introduced, using Hovermarine HM2 sidewalled craft.

1968 Apr  1    Teesside Municipal Transport set up under joint committee of Langbaurgh, Middlesbrough and Stockton councils, merging Middlesbrough and Stockton Corporation Transport departments and Tees-Side Railless Traction Board (owned 66% by Middlesbrough and 33% by Eston UDC), which had made the last extension to any trolleybus network (Grangetown–Eston–Normanby) the previous day.

1968 Apr  5    Northern Ireland Transport Holding Co. takes over former UTA constituents, Northern Ireland Railways Co. Ltd, Ulsterbus Ltd, Northern Ireland Carriers Ltd and Northern Ireland Airports Ltd; UTA dissolved.

1968 Apr  5    Monarch Airlines (established 5 Jun 1967 as subsidiary of Globus Gateway Holdings) begins operation with Luton–Madrid charter using Bristol Britannia aircraft (ceases trading 2 Oct 2017).

1968 Apr  6    Richard Marsh (Lab.) succeeds Barbara Castle as Minister of Transport (until 6 Oct 1969).

1968 Apr  7    Western Ferries (Clyde) Ltd begin ro-ro service Kennacraig (West Loch Tarbert)–Islay route.

1968 Apr  8    Heathrow air accident: BOAC Boeing 707 G-ARWE on flight Speedbird 712 crashes after takeoff from Heathrow for Sydney following engine fire (5 killed).

1968 Apr 12   B+I Line runs last Dundalk–Liverpool cargo service, with MV Inniscarra.

1968 Apr 30   BR transfers remaining portion of Harpenden–Hemel Hempstead branch to Hemelite (concrete block producers).

1968 May  6   BR runs last Okehampton–Bere Alston passenger service, severing the ex-LSWR Exeter–Plymouth line as a through route west of Meldon Quarry.

1968 May  6   BR LMR deletes the suffix ‘Halt’ from the name of stopping places.

1968 May 10  BR runs last royal train over Windsor (Central) branch (19.00 ex Matlock, 5226/3).

1968 May 12  Belfast Corporation last runs trolleybuses, the only system in the island of Ireland.

1968 May 14  British Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd set up by merger of British Motor Holdings and Leyland Motor Corporation (announced Jan 17). Takes over Aveling-Barford during year.

1968 May 20  BR diverts Vale of Rheidol Railway (2 ft/60 cm gauge) onto former standard-gauge formation at Aberystwyth. The steam locomotives and stock are repainted with current BR blue livery and logo.

1968 Jun –      Bedwas & Machen UDC 6 (PAX 466F)* is delivered, the last lowbridge double-deck bus built (Leyland Titan PD3/Massey Brothers).

1968 Jun  4    GPO introduces first postbus in Scotland, Dunbar–Innerwick–Spott.

1968 Jun 10   Last Irish Travelling Post Office lineside mail exchanges, Enfield and Charleville.

1968 Jun 18   First commercial passage of BR dedicated ISO container ferry Sea Freightliner I, 04.45 Harwich Parkeston Quay–Rotterdam (or Mar 7 Harwich–Zeebrugge).

1968 Jun 24   NUR begin work to rule.

1968 Jun 24   Lease of Ripon Canal lower pound by Ripon Motor Boat Club returns to BW.

1968 Jun 25   BTH opens Old Course Hotel, St Andrews, its only new establishment.

1968 Jun 29   Keighley & Worth Valley Light Railway, Keighley–Oxenhope, reopens as a heritage steam-worked line.

1968 Jul –       BTDB takes over Humber Conservancy Board.

1968 Jul –       GPO introduces K8 public telephone kiosk (Bruce Martin, designer) intended to replace K6 (Jubilee) model.

1968 Jul–Aug BR/NUR/ASLEF Penzance and Windsor Agreements: major concessions from unions on productivity and reduction in number of grades.

1968 Jul  1     BR diverts Matlock–Peak Forest Juncn traffic via Dore & Chinley, severing the ex-MR Derby–Manchester line as a through route.

1968 Jul  1     BR LMR closes steam sheds at 9H Patricroft (Eccles) and 9K Bolton.

1968 Jul  3     Countryside Act, gives cyclists right to use bridleways; provision for local authorities to reclassify roads used as public paths as either bridleways or byways open to all traffic.

1968 Aug  1   BR Seaspeed introduces Dover–Boulogne hovercraft service, using SR-N4 The Princess Margaret (Rolls-Royce Proteus gas turbine engines), first international car-carrying service.

1968 Aug  1   Port of Tyne Authority takes over management from Tyne Improvement Commission and others.

1968 Aug  3   BR’s last steam-hauled ordinary passenger trains, from Preston to Blackpool (45212*) and Liverpool (45318*); last steam-hauled freights, Heysham–Carnforth (75019) and on Kendal branch (44709); last steam banker, on Copy Pit (48191); and last steam heating of sleeping cars, Preston (45212*, Aug 3–4).

1968 Aug  4   BR LMR closes steam shed at 10D Lostock Hall (Preston) as locomotive depot, 45212* being last on shed. 48476 (built Swindon Jun 1945) & 73069 work last (RCTS 1L50) chartered steam special.

1968 Aug  5   BR LMR closes steam sheds at 10A Carnforth* and 10F Rose Grove (Burnley).

1968 Aug 11   BR’s last steam-hauled passenger train, 1T57 “Fifteen guinea special”, Liverpool–Manchester–Carlisle & return (45110*, 70013 Oliver Cromwell*, 44871*).

1968 Aug 20   BR’s first dedicated company container train, for Ford Motor Co., Liverpool (Halewood)–Harwich Parkeston Quay.

1968 Aug 22   Last steam train on a US industrial short line, Magma Arizona (5*).

1968 Sep –     New Bus Grant Scheme: Government subsidy of 25% (increased to 50% from Oct 1971) for all new stage carriage vehicles capable of one person operation. Continues until 1984.

1968 Sep –     Nissan-Datsun begin large-scale import of Datsun cars at Shoreham.

1968 Sep  1   LTB opens first section of Victoria Line, Walthamstow Central–Highbury & Islington (Dec 1: Stage II, Highbury–Warren Street) using 1967 stock by Metro-Cammell with automatic train operation and single train operators.

1968 Sep 6–7 Isle of Man Railway runs last (steam) passenger trains on Ramsey and Peel lines (respectively).

1968 Sep  7   LT commences implementation of Reshaping London’s Buses programme: route changes to ‘hub and spoke model’ and flat fare entrance turnstile single-deckers on high-capacity suburban routes in certain areas (Wood Green).

1968 Sep  8   BR introduces selective prices for passenger fares, under terms of            National Board for Prices and Incomes approval, May.

1968 Sep 10   First locomotive removed from Woodham Brothers’ Barry scrapyard for preservation, 43924* to Keighley & Worth Valley Light Railway (restored to steam 4 Oct 1970).

1968 Sep 11   GPO opens Empress PCM Digital Tandem Exchange, Earl’s Court, world’s first to switch PCM signals carrying live traffic from one group of telephone lines to another in digital form.

1968 Sep 16   GPO introduces two-tier letter post system: TPOs and inland air services carry 1st class letters only.

1968 Sep 20   Plaxton Elite coach bodywork introduced, first with side windows curved in profile (Ogle Design).

1968 Sep 21–2  ‘Operation Ashton’ on Ashton Canal through Droylsden, first major canal clearance by volunteers (Graham Palmer & John Foley, leaders).

1968 Sep 22   Death of Leslie Morton, canal carrier.

1968 Sep 23   BR introduces experimental on-train public announcements, on regular Euston–Manchester services.

1968 Sep 23   Boeing rolls out first 747 jumbo jet airliner, Everett, Wash. First flies 9 Feb 1969, Paines Field (Joe Sutter).

1968 Sep 30   Last steam-worked industrial narrow gauge (2 ft 6 in./76 cm) passenger service, Bowater’s, Sittingbourne, ceases from this date.

1968 Sep 30   PLA closes St Katharine Docks to shipping.

1968 Aut ?     BR LMR Line Group management (West Coast, Midland, etc.)

1969 Oct –      M1 motorway completed by opening of Rotherham–Leeds section (35 miles (56 km)). At Leeds, it is tunnelled over the 1758 Middleton Railway.

1968 Oct  1    MoT goods vehicle plating and testing scheme commences.

1968 Oct  1    Glenlight Shipping Ltd formed to manage Scottish coasting fleets of Hay Hamilton Ltd and Ross & Marshall Ltd.

1968 Oct  4    First section of Frankfurt U-Bahn opened, pioneering the Stadtbahn concept.

1968 Oct  7    PLA’s Brent* (ex TID 159) works final duties, last steam tug to work in London’s enclosed dock system (Royal Docks).

1968 Oct  9    PO introduces rectangular fabricated postbox (F Type; David Mellor, designer; Vandyke Engineering, manufacturer). 150 produced, but design does not prove durable.

1968 Oct 14   New BR Euston station officially opens.

1968 Oct 25   Transport Act. Based partly on report of Joint Steering Group (appointed by Mrs Castle 1966) Sep 1967, Government White Papers Railway Policy Nov 1967 and British Waterways Sep 1967, and report of Geddes Committee on carriers’ licensing (appointed by Ernest Marples) 1965. BR capital liabilities written off; government subsidy for BR socially necessary services according to Cooper Brothers formula (an average of maintenance costs and administrative expenses on a service-by-service basis); block grants to BR London area services. Tapering grant to BR for ‘surplus capacity’, i.e. track mileage in excess of normal traffic demands. Regional railway boards no longer statutory. BR workshops may tender for work in the open market. BR given duty to undertake research. BR may no longer challenge road transport operators in licencing courts. Section 34 provides for local authority grants or loans to socially necessary rural bus or ferry services, 50% refundable by Government (supersedes BR grants for replacement bus services); section 138 permits local authority travel concessions to elderly or disabled people. Passenger Transport Authorities to be established for major regional conurbations. NBC subsidiary Amalgamated Passenger Transport Ltd (Dewsbury) to take over railway shares in joint bus operations with municipalities. Section 30 permits school buses to convey general public. Minibuses seating up to 12 operable by permit. Transport Holding Co. to be dissolved; National Bus Co. to take over English & Welsh operators; NFC to take over BRS, railways sundries business, 51% of Freightliners Ltd and AHL. Requirement for haulier to prove need if applying to extend operator’s licence is abolished. Carriers’ licensing to be abolished for vehicles under 3½ t and replaced by a form of quality licencing for operators of larger HGVs. Provision for ‘quantity licensing’ of road hauliers, obliging them to offer first refusal of traffic over 100 miles (160 km) to BR, never implemented and repealed by incoming government. (Substantial increases in HGV taxation dropped from Bill at early stage.) Reintroduces HGV tests for drivers; introduces maximum drivers’ hours for HGVs and authorises use of tachographs to record them; introduces HGV weight plating. First “MoT” test to be at three years from first registration. Divides British Waterways into Commercial, Cruising and Remainder; removes certain obligations (e.g. those under Railway Regulation Act 1873) to maintain waterways. Creates Inland Waterways Advisory Council. Provides for transfer of relics to Department of Education & Science (records to Public Record Office).

1968 Nov –     CIÉ last uses horses for delivery, Dublin.

1968 Nov  3   Reading Corporation runs its last trolleybuses. They are largely replaced by crush-load single-deckers.

1968 Nov  3   Bantry Transportation Co’s new Ultra Large Crude Carrier TSS Universe Ireland (330 000 dwt; Yokohama built; Liberian registered) makes first call at Gulf Oil’s Whiddy Island oil terminal in Bantry Bay.

1968 Nov  5   Manchester Liners’ MV Manchester Challenge begins a regular Manchester–Montreal service, the first British-built and -owned oceanic cellular container ship (500 teu, launched by Smiths Dock Co., Middlesbrough Jun 11 with Crossley engines).

1968 Nov  6   (24.00 hrs) British Eagle International Airlines ceases trading.

1968 Nov 30   General Electric Co. absorbs English Electric (Arnold Weinstock, managing director).

1968 Nov 30   Official last steam train on Swiss Federal Railways (2969*).

1968 Dec  6    Last steam freight train on a US class 1 railroad, Denver & Rio Grande Western (3 ft/0.914 m gauge), Alamosa–Durango (473*/483*).

1968 Dec 11   Vulcan Foundry deliver D449, last of fifty class 50s (introduced 7 Oct 1967), to BR LMR. Last diesel locomotive built for BR until 1977 and last ever designed for passenger traffic.

1968 Dec 31   Operation of last bus service with nominally full railway ownership, Sheffield Joint Omnibus Committee route 85, Sheffield–Worksop.

1968 Dec 31   British Transport Ship Management (Scotland) Ltd takes over Stranraer–Larne service.

1968 — –         New BR numerical locomotive classification scheme.

1968 — –         BR Freight Plan, gives continuing commitment to wagonload traffic if direct costs covered.

1968 — –         BR closes Cowlairs locomotive works.

1968 — –         Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. builds its last wagon.

1968 — –         Limehouse Cut diverted to enter Thames via Regent’s Canal Dock, under terms of British Waterways Act 1965.

1968 — –         T. & S. Element cease to carry on Birmingham Canal Navigations.

1968 — –         Strangford Lough Ferry (Strangford–Portaferry) passes to local authority control

1968 — –         London’s first female bus driver, Lisa Mann, qualifies to work Continental Pioneer’s Richmond Hill service.

1968 — –         Hall Lifts & Elevators sold to Otis.


25th anniversaries

1993              Peak year for sale of municipal bus operators, 12 being sold.

1993 Feb  2    Government announces first seven rail passenger franchises to be privatised.

1993 Mar 12   Official first train through Channel Tunnel.

1993 Oct –      Mendip Rail Ltd begins to manage rail assets of Foster Yeoman and ARC Southern (trains operated by BR).

1993 Oct 10   Gatwick Express becomes first shadow rail franchise.

1993 Nov  5   Railways Act, provides framework for privatisation: regulation, licencing, access, passenger franchising; brings railways under Health & Safety at Work Act 1974; protects pension rights of BR employees. Roger Salmon appointed Director of Passenger Rail Franchising Nov 9.

1993 Nov –     Government announces that London bus services are not to be deregulated, but LT bus operating subsidiaries are to be privatised.

1993 Nov  5   Railways Act, provides framework for privatisation: regulation, licencing, access, passenger franchising; brings railways under Health & Safety at Work Act 1974; protects pension rights of BR employees. Roger Salmon appointed Director of Passenger Rail Franchising Nov 9.

Italics indicate selected foreign events.

* Asterisk indicates an item preserved.


(Compiled by Matthew Searle)