The privatisation of British Rail was set in motion when the Conservative government enacted, on 19 January 1993, the British Coal and British Rail (Transfer Proposals) Act 1993 (c3). This enabled the relevant Secretary of State to issue directions (as to the disposal of holdings) to the relevant Board. This was necessary since (in the case of the British Railways Board) they had to act, at all times, within the rules established by various Transport and Railways Acts – none of which would have allowed the Board to 'sell-off' any of its assets. The subsequent direction from the Secretary of State forced the creation of Railtrack PLC. This then paved the way, later that year for the Railways Act 1993 introduced by John Major's Conservative government. The operations of the British Railways Board (BRB) were broken up and sold off. This process was very controversial at the time, and the Labour opposition announced its intention to re-nationalise the railways, although this was not implemented by the subsequent Labour government. The manner in which privatisation was carried out has also received criticism for the number of companies involved (over 20), and its complexity.
Read more about Privatisation Of British Rail: Situation in 1979, 1980s Developments, The Move To Privatisation, The Railways Act 1993, Organisational Structure Created By The Railways Act 1993, Privatisation Under The New Labour Government, Changes To The Structure Since The Railways Act 1993, Effects of Privatisation, Criticisms, Community Railways, Future Directions
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