London Transport Executive

London Transport Executive

The London Transport Executive (LTE), commonly known as London Transport, was the organisation responsible for public transport in the Greater London area, UK, between 1948-1963.


The organisation was created by the Transport Act 1947 and replaced the London Passenger Transport Board. The organisation was in public ownership. It became part of the British Transport Commission, which meant that London Transport and British Railways were under the same management for the first and last time in their respective histories.


The main priority of the BTC was to modernise its main-line railways. This led to nearly two decades of chronic underinvestment in the London Transport infrastructure.

A great deal of the early work of the LTE was spent repairing and replacing stock and stations damaged during the war. LTE also oversaw the completion of the delayed Central Line expansion, which had been part of the 1935-40 New Works Programme begun by the LPTB. By 1949, the westbound extension to West Ruislip and the eastbound extension to Ongar was finished.

However most of the uncompleted projects which were part of the New Works programme were postponed or shelved. These included plans to extend the Bakerloo line to Camberwell, and to extend the Northern line to Bushey Heath, linking up the separate branches terminating at Edgware and Mill Hill East in the process.

The only other significant accomplishment of the LTE, with regard to the maintenance of the London Underground network, was the completion of the electrification of the system. This project mostly consisted of electrifying the outer sections of the Central line and the Metropolitan line.

On the Central line steam locomotives were still operating between Greenford and West Ruislip in the west and between Leytonstone and Ongar in the east when the LTE took over. Electrification to West Ruislip was completed in 1948, leading to the start of passenger trains which did not require locomotive changes on 21 November of that year. On the same day electrification round the "Fairlop loop" in the east was completed. And from 25 September 1949 electric tube trains were in operation between Loughton and Epping. This left a steam shuttle service operating between Epping and Ongar which was not electrified until 18 November 1957. New trains were introduced on to the line in 1959.

The modernisation of the Metropolitan Line, the final part of the New Works programme which had not been completed or scrapped, was finally given the go-ahead by the BTC in 1956. This consisted of electrification between Rickmansworth and Amersham and Chesham, some station reconstruction and the replacement of the rolling stock. Steam locomotives were fully withdrawn from the Underground network on 9 September 1961. By the end of 1962 new A stock trains had replaced all the pre-war stock on the Metropolitan Line.

The London Transport Executive started direct recruitment in Ireland and the Caribbean in the 1950s.

The LTE oversaw the eliminiation of London's trams in 1952 and trolleybuses in 1962. In terms of bus transport the iconic Routemaster bus was first introduced in 1956.


By the late 1950s the BTC was in serious financial difficulties, largely due to the economic performance of the railways. It was criticised as an overly bureaucratic system of administering transport services and had failed to develop an integrated transport system (such as integrated ticketing and timetabling). It was abolished by Harold Macmillan's Conservative government under the Transport Act, 1962. This replaced the LTE with the London Transport Board, which was directly accountable to the Ministry of Transport.

ee also

*History of transport in London (1933-2003)

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