I have recently purchased the six copies of The Railway Magazine which were issued in 1948. The first of these coincides with the formation of British Railways, and the January/February 1948 issue of the magazine highlights for the readers a little of the history of railways in Britain which led up to that momentous occasion. The linked article below builds on the article in The Railway Magazine.
A copy of the article is reproduced in Appendix 1 to this article.
The Railway Magazine was not alone in seeing the 1st January 1948 as a significant landmark in railway history. The Guardian carried an article on 30th December 1947 which said: "Of all the landmarks in Britain's railway history, January 1 1948 will probably be outstanding. It is over a hundred years since railway nationalisation was first advocated. Since then enthusiasts for State ownership have never ceased to proclaim the benefits to be obtained, though in 1867 Sir Rowland Hill in a minority report as a member of a Royal Commission on Railways gave a warning of the "undue enlargement of expectation". The clamour became louder towards the end of last century when the trade unions took it up strongly and after the first world war nationalisation nearly became a fact. Since then the pressure has continued to grow, culminating in the Transport Act of last August which provided for the transfer of the railways to the State on January 1. Thus after more than a century of controversy the decision has been taken."