Catalogue description Ministry of Transport and successors, Railway Divisions: Correspondence and Papers

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Details of MT 6
Reference: MT 6
Title: Ministry of Transport and successors, Railway Divisions: Correspondence and Papers

This series consists of correspondence and papers of the Board of Trade Railway Department, 1840 to 1846 and 1851 to 1919, the Railway Commissioners, 1846 to 1851, the Railways Divisions of the Ministry of Transport for the periods 1919 to 1941, 1946 to 1953, and 1959 to 1966, the Ministry of War Transport, 1941-1946, and of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, 1953-1959.

The papers relate to the peacetime regulation and wartime control of railways, to railway owned canals, tramways, underground railways and related services and to the central direction of wartime transport. The series includes bill papers and some associated plans.

Date: 1840-1966

Piece nos 1 to 2602 in this series are that portion of the inherited material which was not added to in the Ministry of Transport, including some created by the Railway Commissioners who constituted a gap in the Board of Trade control between 1846 and 1851.

From piece nos 2603 the papers are either original files raised in the Ministry or inherited files added to after 1919, and for these items the list has been arranged under the subject headings shown in the MT 6 series list.

The series list does not for the most part give piece descriptions being limited to the references of the registered files contained in each box. To discover the number of the required file it is first necessary to search the appropriate Indexes in Indexes and Registers of Correspondence in MT 7. A relevant entry in an Index will give a registered paper number; the Reader must then find that number in the associated Registers in that series, and trace forward in the column headed 'No. of subsequent communication'. If and when that column proves to be empty, provided the word 'Destroyed' has not been stamped in the 'Remarks' column, the papers should have been preserved on a file bearing the registered number of that entry.

When applying for a file, Readers should include the box number in the document reference, e.g. 'MT 6/279/6201' where 'MT 6' is the series reference, '279' is the box number and '6201' the file number.

Related material:

Copies of Railway Inspectors Reports can be found in MT 29

Further records on railway rates and charges in MT 56

For the main records of private railway companies see RAIL

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Board of Railway Commissioners, 1846-1851

Board of Trade, Railway Department, 1840-1846

Board of Trade, Railway Department, 1851-1919

Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Railways Divisions, 1953-1959

Ministry of Transport, Docks and Canal Division, 1946-1953

Ministry of Transport, Nationalised Transport Divisions, 1962-1966

Ministry of Transport, Ports and Transit Division, 1938-1941

Ministry of Transport, Public Utilities Division, 1937-1939

Ministry of Transport, Railway A Division, 1961-1966

Ministry of Transport, Railway B Division, 1961-1966

Ministry of Transport, Railway C Division, 1962-1966

Ministry of Transport, Railways Division, 1939-1941

Ministry of Transport, Railways Divisions, 1946-1953

Ministry of Transport, Railways Divisions, 1959-1961

Ministry of War Transport, Port and Transit Control, 1941-1946

Ministry of War Transport, Railways Divisions, 1941-1946

Physical description: 3575 boxes and files
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

from 2000 Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

from 1984 to1997 Department of Transport

from 1970 to1974 Department of the Environment

from 1965 to1970 Ministry of Transport

Publication note:

Railways: Administrative and Other Records, PRO Domestic Records Information sheet 81

Unpublished finding aids:

An index to companies and places can be found in the 2 volumes accompanying the series list for MT 6. A register of the series can be found in MT 7

Administrative / biographical background:

In 1919, the Ministry of Transport inherited the overall control of Britain's railways. In 1921, the restoration of the railways to private hands reduced the ministry's role to administrative supervision. In 1937, preparations for the possible outbreak of war led to the formation of a Public Utilities Division, later renamed Railways Division. This division brought both railways and railway-owned canals to government oversight.

In 1947, railway nationalisation vested the principal railways of Great Britain into government ownership.

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