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Title: An economic analysis of the performance of railways in Ireland, 1834 to 1912
Author: McGeehan, Harry Martin
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 2035
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis is concerned with the performance of Irish railways in the period 1834 to 1912. A key focus of the thesis was to examine Irish railway companies as business entities whose behaviour was tempered by legislation, market structure, and economic variables. Specific research was directed at measuring the demand for railways, profitability and rates of return, economies of scale and productivity, using standard econometric techniques. The introduction of the Dublin-Kingstown line in 1834 formed the baseline for the research. The following forty years represented the formative years of railway development in Ireland, and by 1876, primarily through a process of amalgamation, five major railways had been created. Government policy regarding the operation of railways changed significantly in the 1870s, and this underlined the need to differentiate toe research for toe formative years with a period when railways had reached maturity extending from 1876 to 1912. For the first period, up to 1876, the key finding was that the performance of the economy was vital for the growth in railway carryings, with pricing policy being of secondary importance. Due to a combination of emigration, productivity growth, and capital accumulation, economic growth in the post-Famine period increased significantly, and this was the primary catalyst for the expansion in railway demand. From the mid-1870s onwards profits depended upon the interplay between paid-up capital, working expenses and revenue. At the same time, changes in the operating environment, and transitory variables influenced profitability. Two measures of productivity growth were determined, and although there were differences in the results, reflecting the presence of economies of scale, both followed essentially the same path. Generally the level of efficiency achieved between 1876 and 1912 was fairly low, reflecting the specific attributes of each of the main railways.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available