|British Union Railway|
|Owned By:||Floyd Ketchum & Rupert McCullough|
|Incorporation Status:||Railroad Company|
|Mission Statement:||Provide efficient, safe and cheap freight transportation.|
|Headquarters:||British Union Railway Building|
|Location(s):||Tampico, The Royal Dominion|
|Notable Employees:||Ulysses Chamberlain|
|Founded by:||Robert Ketchum, Lorraine Washburn, & Arnold McCullough|
|Competitors:||Tampico Railroad Company, Dominion Passenger & Transportation Railway, Federal Rail Company|
Foundation & Initial Growth
In the spring of 2173 three veterans, Robert Ketchum, Arnold McCullough and Lorraine Washburn formed the British Union Railway Company. The three people having known each other during their service in the PDF, all came from relatively well off families, with Lorraine being the younger sister of Lord High Admiral Jason Wasburn and Robert being the oldest son of Lord Alfred Ketchum. Together the three pooled their resources and founded the Protectorate's first rail company, immediately commissioning several dozen tribal laborers to begin repairing the railroad ties that reached across the Dominion. As well, headed by Arnold, a group of mechanics and engineers began to go to work repairing three locomotives that sat dormant in one of Tampico's old roundhouses.
By 2174 the company had been incorporated, and several rail lines, leading out to the ruins of Oldham and Santa Clara had been suitably repaired and on July 7, 2174 the first British Union Railway train pulled into the station at Santa Clara, carrying a load of construction material, steel beams and foodstuffs. Contracts to carry cargo began to flood the company offices, as the rail lines were expanded into the Frontier District, and as a result share prices soured, adding £25,000 to the company's market value. This all culminated in the rapid expansion of operations and lead to the company's initial expansion.
By 2180 the company was in what was generally agreed to having been the company's golden age, the value of their stocks were up, and contracts for their services were coming in from all over. It was 2180 that the company successfully secured the Provisional Defense Force's contract to carry military supplies and ferry wounded that really put the railway ahead. Yet to secure their position of power, Robert and Lorraine, after discussing it with the various members of the military board, got the board to pass a series of directives that, in effect, drove up the cost of entering the rail transportation business. Alongside this, Robert was appointed to a permanent position on the military board as a "civilian observer." The result of all this was the virtual establishment of a monopoly over the rail transportation market by British Union Railway. As well, due to the increased cost involved with entering and expanding in the market, other young companies like the Tampico Railroad Company and Talbert Cargo Lines couldn't expand beyond their local markets. When the company began to face competition from coaching lines, and courier services, Robert used his leverage on the board to push through a hefty tax on such services.
First Anglo-Ganadero War
With the onset of the First Anglo-Ganadero War in 2224, the frontier district exploded as the small allied collection of Ganadero Republics along the Protectorate's frontier, led by the Free City of Staffordshire, declared war on the Protectorate and invaded the Frontier seeking to reclaim lost territory. Within a few weeks Fort Comstock was cut off by the fast moving Ganadero armies, and throughout the Frontier District, Ganadero guerrillas rose up and began to harass the PDF's troop formations. The Tampico Guard Grenadiers, the regiment charged with the protection of the Protectorate's frontier, was spread out between its various posts and was immediately pressed by the oncoming Ganaderos. Within days most of the various posts had shot through their stocks of ammunition holding off Ganadero attacks, and required resupplying. The board of directors, seeing an opportunity to squeeze the government for more money, decided to up their freight rates, costing the PDF upwards of £1,000 to move about five pounds of supplies.
This obscenely high rate prompted the House of Commons to meet in an emergency session, a bill was put forth by a coalition of Dominionists, Liberals, and Labor party MPs to seize the British Union Railway was passed by a margin of 33-9. The Deputy Director of Treasury was immediately placed on the company's board of directors and took over as head of operations, setting freight rates at £32 per pound, despite protests from stockholders. Stockholders now had to face the prospect of losing copious amounts of money, and as share prices plummeted, many sold their stocks to government buyers. Despite the best efforts of both the board of directors and some more laissez-faire minded politicians, freight prices were not allowed to fluctuate with the market, and instead were held at an artificially low rate, at which no other company could compete. Much to the excitement of radical Tories within the Dominionist party, the British Union Railway began to monopolize the railroad market.
The British Union Railway remained a state-acquired corporation for the majority of the 23rd century, still taking on passengers and private freight, with certain restrictions, but mostly acting as a the state's private ferrying service, moving troops and material, along with VIPs across the Protectorate at the discretion of the government. The various other railways survive mostly by taking on more risky contracts and extending their railheads beyond the frontier of the Dominion, servicing the various Ganadero settlements and republics. However as a whole the private rail companies just couldn't compete with the British Union Railway's artificially low prices, thus a great deal of mergers occurred as failing companies combined to consolidate their resources.
However as the strategic needs of the Protectorate increased, the amount of cargo space the board of directors was willing to sacrifice to private usage shrunk, and eventually the rail company was used exclusively as a form of strategic transportation. What few remaining private stockholders remained within the railway, sold their worthless stocks to government buyers, who bought them for as little as £.20 per share, and promptly left the company. As a result, the various other rail companies no longer had to drive their prices down as low, and were able to put their prices on par with market values. However, the government at the time being run by radical Tory Dominionist, passed the Railroad Security act, through which the government created the United Railroad Trust. The trust was created, as the Tories viewed competition on the open market as being a savage existence, with men being turned into ruthless animals for monetary gain, this image of society didn't meet their strict Christian convictions and thus the trust was created to "level" the market.
The trust remained in effect until the passage of the Tallmadge Anti-Trust Act, through which the Deputy Director of the Treasury, brought a suit against the United Railroad Trust, winning the case in a case overseen by the current Lord Chief Justice, Grant Marshall. The trust was broken up and thus the price controlling powers of the trust were removed. Thus the newly privatized British Union Railway, and its various competitors were once again competing on the open market, this time safeguarded by a series of laws prohibiting the collusion of industries and unions into forming trusts, monopolies or cartels of any kind. The comapny's stock currently sits at 78.53 pounds per share.
The railway is organized much like any other corporation, it is headed by a board of directors, at the head of which sits the CEO and his right-hand man, the CFO. The company is owned by a mix of stockholders, and members of the board, who make profit off of dividends paid quarterly out of their profits.
- Ulysses Chamberlain - Ulysses or Ulees as his co-workers used to call him, was hired on as a rail constable aboard one of the railway's passenger trains. His duty, as was the case with all rail constables, was to keep the peace on the cars, prevent thievery, violence and any other crimes that might give the company a bad image and reduce their stock values. During his three month stint with the company he stopped a grand total of thirteen crimes, handing two over to police alive. His flair for violence, and constant complaints from passengers about him making passes at women, quickly earned him the boot, and due to his crimes later in life, infamy.
- Harley O'Keefe - Coming from a family of strict Catholics, Harley was known for his very straight edged behavior while serving as a rail constable for the railway. He was known to have been polite, and courteous to every passenger he dealt with, even treating criminals with a sort of respect uncommon among the constables. He rose to fame after uncovering a Jet smuggling ring among a few of the rail employees and teamsters.
- Roger Oland - Working as a teamster at the Oldham station, Roger ran a side business of selling stolen goods, mostly weapons and ammunition to Ganadero guerrilla groups during the Second Anglo-Ganadero War, alongside running a prostitution ring. He was later found out by investigators from the Royal Tampico Constabulary, and forced to turn on his clients, leading to the arrests of several Ganadero guerrilla leaders and perverts alike. Roger was later killed by Ganadero guerrillas in retaliation for his betrayal.
|This has been written by CaptainCain. Please contact this user before editing this article.|