The Beauty of Transport is doing a series on British Rail’s corporate identity.
On 1st January 1948, British Railways was born. It would go on to be one of the most infamous of British institutions, loved by some and reviled by many. Its corporate identity and “double arrow” logo would go on to attain international fame. But all that was to come later. The story of the early corporate identities of British Railways is one of occasional (if misplaced) design brilliance, but mostly complete confusion.
Funnily enough, there was never any need for this. British Railways was formed from the private railway companies which had operated the country’s rail network until 1948. It was nationalised alongside various bus companies, ports, canals, and road haulage firms as part of the grandly titled British Transport Commission (BTC). The other major transport undertaking which had been subsumed into the BTC was the already publicly-owned London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) which had overseen London Transport since 1933…
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