The economic advantages of amalgamation are of especial importance in the railway industry because competition involves a wasteful and unnecessary duplication of a great amount of fixed capital. It is not surprising therefore that an economic urge towards combination is evident throughout the history of British railways from the time of the Wigan amalgamation in 1834 up to the Railways Act 1921. Over a thousand railways have been promoted in this country, but as a result of successive amalgamations there are now only four big groups and about ninety other lines. The wastes and expenses of competition between railways were soon discovered, and indeed it was foreseen by George Stephenson from the first; ‘Where combination is possible,’ he said, ‘competition is impossible.’ The elimination or reduction of competition has been effected in a variety of ways, and Mr. W. A. Robertson, in a study of this movement, enumerated ten distinct methods of combination. 1