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Time is money: a re-assessment of the passenger social savings from Victorian British railways

Leunig, Tim (2005) Time is money: a re-assessment of the passenger social savings from Victorian British railways. Working papers in large-scale technological change (09/05). Department of Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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This paper reassesses and extends Hawke’s passenger railway social savings for England and Wales. Better estimates of coach costs and evidence that third class passengers would otherwise have walked reduce Hawke’s social savings by two-thirds. We calculate railway speeds, and the amount and value of time saved by railways. Initially small, time savings was three times fare savings by 1912, when total railway passenger social savings exceeded 13% of GDP. The transition from railways saving money to saving time came when railway technology stopped simply fulfilling existing demand more cheaply (travel for the affluent) and became a new good (travel for the masses).

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2005 The Authors
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
T Technology > TF Railroad engineering and operation
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2009 14:38
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2020 00:10
Projects: 2394/R000239536
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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