Theo Steel interviewed by David Wharton-Street

David Wharton-Street

Oral history interview with Theo Steel, conducted and recorded by David Wharton-Street at the interviewee's home in Southend on 17 April 2018. Duration: 2 hr. 35 min. 24 sec. Career to 1988; Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL); Eurorail; appointment as Director to Regional Railways South Wales and West (RRSW&W); bidding process for Class 158 1990; delegated authorities from Regional Railways Headquarters; direct reports and roles; Regional Railways Profitability Study; interface with other sectors; Cardiff Valleys passenger services; new stations; changes caused by formation of Railtrack 1994; privatisation white paper 1992; track access agreement; separation of South Wales from RRSW&W into a separate Company; management of fares structure; Rail Safety Case 1994; attitude of staff to privatisation; London and Continental Railways (L&CR); CTRL Bid with Societe nationale des chemins de fer Francais (SNCF); Eurostar loadings and effect on finances; Virgin successful bid for West Coast; European Night Services; North London Line electrification for Eurostar; L&CR restructuring; First Great Eastern Franchise; First Group; track access; Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC); amalgamation of all Anglia into one Franchise; Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) role; National Express Anglia; personal effects of privatisation; changes in industry since 1991

One of over 150 oral history recordings made as part of the Britain’s Railways All Change (BRAC) archive project. BRAC was set-up to cover gaps in documenting the railway privatisation process in the United Kingdom, between 1994 and 1997, when the government-owned British Rail was dismantled into over 100 privately-owned companies. The interviews capture the recollections of people involved in the planning and implementation of the privatisation process, the management of change and running the railway during privatisation.


Oral Histories
Object Number:
oral history interview
Britain’s Railways All Change (BRAC) oral history archive, created in partnership with the Friends of the National Railway Museum, the Retired Railway Officers’ Society and the National Railway Museum.