Let’s Reorganise the Railways!
During the Great War, the Middy along with most other railway companies in the UK was controlled by the Government, acting through the Railway Executive Committee. As the war drew to a close, a Parliamentary Select Committee was set up to consider the future organisation of the railway industry: it was widely considered that the pre-war structure of more than 100 companies was inefficient and led to wasteful competition, so some form of merger was on the cards, possibly even permanent state control.
In early 1919 the government introduced the Ministry of Ways and Communications Bill, which proposed setting up an organisation to control and develop all forms of transport, including railways, roads, canals and docks. In charge of the new Ministry would be Sir Eric Geddes, a senior railway manager who had been recruited by Lloyd George to help the war effort, eventually becoming First Lord of the Admiralty. A very forceful character, Geddes apparently intended to effectively nationalise the railways and run them himself. He was, however, rather dismissive about light railways, stating in a parliamentary debate that “Roads have a greater possibility in opening up these districts [agricultural areas] then any light railway I have ever met”.