Railway Commission and Railway and Canal Commission: Miscellaneous Records
This series contains records of the Railway Commission (1873-1888) and of its successor, the Railway and Canal Commission (1888-1949). The records consist of registers containing summary particulars of applications to the commissioners and of registrar's minutes, 1934 to 1949. On occasions more than one register may need to be consulted because there are some overlapping dates. This is due to entries under some of the alphabetical sections of the register filling up sooner than others, and being carried over to the next volume. The series also includes some seals, ink stamps and obsolete file covers. There is also a selection of case files containing a variety of documents, such as applications to the commissioners, accompanying maps and plans and subsequent orders, and appeals against rating valuations.
The commissions' records are arranged chronologically according to the type of record and proceedings concerned.
Railway Commission, 1873-1888
In the early years the Railway Commissions' main functions were to administer the Railway and Canal Traffic Acts 1854 and 1873 by sanctioning agreements between companies and determining disputes involving railway and canal companies on the one hand, and public authorities, private industries and members of the public on the other, concerning facilities and charges. They also had certain responsibilities under the Telegraph Acts 1863-1926, when differences arose regarding the installation by the Post Office of telegraph lines and posts. In 1916 the government assigned to the Railway and Canal Commission certain powers regarding the compulsory acquisition by departments of land for defence purposes.
After the First World War this commission's jurisdiction over railway and canal company charges was largely transferred to a Railway Rates Tribunal, re-named the Transport Tribunal in 1947. However, from 1923 it was given certain powers to grant colliery and other mining undertakings the right to search for, and work, minerals. From 1930 the commission also heard appeals by railway companies, local authorities, private firms, etc, against rating decisions of the Railway Assessment Authority, until that work was ended under the Local Government Act 1948. The commission itself was finally abolished under the Railway and Canal Commission (Abolition) Act 1949, its remaining jurisdiction concerning mine workings passing to the Chancery Division of the High Court in the same year.
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