The British Transport Commission (BTC) was created by Clement Attlee’s post-war Labour government as a part of its nationalisation programme, to oversee railways, canals, shipping and road freight transport in Great Britain. Its general duty under the Transport Act 1947 was to provide “an efficient, adequate, economical and properly integrated system of public inland transport and port facilities within Great Britain for passengers and goods”. The BTC came into operation on 1 January 1948. Its main holdings were the networks and assets of the ‘Big Four’ national regional railway companies: Great Western Railway, London and North Eastern Railway, London, Midland and Scottish Railway and the Southern Railway. It was via the assets of the ‘Big Four’ that the BTC was involved in shipping with numerous steamers being owned by the railway companies.