Delivering the Goods: Britain’s Railways and Society

Ref: C3747090

The Railways had been one of the cornerstones of achieving victory in the First World War, but in 1919 they were worn out and tired. In this course we will discover how the railways reinvented themselves, creating modern marketing and public relations, competing with each other to offer the most luxurious and fast services whilst rebuilding a safe and modern network. We shall discover how the Grouping of 1923 impacted upon Britain’s railways, and the people who worked for them and what that meant for the traveller and the movement of freight, the arteries which kept Britain alive. We will explore how the railways of the 1920s changed the way everyone spent their leisure time, and the re-invention of many places as holiday destinations. We will finally look at how railway travel changed forever during the 1920s and early 1930s in an age of new technology.

Course aim

To provide an introduction to the importance part the railways have played in British Society since the 19th Century to the present day.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • discuss why the railways have been such an important part of the British economy since the earliest days, and still are in the 21st Century.
  • explain how railways changed people's everyday lives, changing how we ate, worked and played.
  • explain the importance of the railways to Britain during both World Wars.
  • discuss the impact railways have had on British culture, from movies, literature and childrens books, to hobbies and heritage.
  • discuss how the railways revolutionised luxury travel during the 1920s and 1930s.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

All the materials for this course will be provided via the WEA's online learning tool, Canvas.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Delivering the Goods: Britain’s Railways and Society

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is not available for online enrolment.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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