October 1953

The BTP Journal announces the first arrest made in the force using a 'walkie-talkie' radio.

15 October 1959

The first British Transport Police headquarters is formally opened in Coronation Road, Park Royal, London NW11.


The British Transport Commission is disbanded and the word 'Commission' is dropped from the name of the force, which becomes the British Transport Police. The force loses jurisdiction over British Road Services and the British Inland Waterways Board.

31 August 1963

William Owen Gay becomes chief constable.


Chief constable William Owen Gay retires and is replaced by Eric Haslam.

28 February 1975

Moorgate Tube disaster


Force Headquarters moves to 15-17 Tavistock Place, London WC1. The building is the former headquarters of Express Dairies.

Kenneth Ogram becomes the new chief constable of the BTP.


Associated British Ports decides to no longer use the services of BTP.

18 November 1987

A fire on an escalator at King's Cross Underground station results in the death of 31 people. BTP officer PC Stephen Hanson suffers severe burns.

12 December 1988

Clapham Junction train crash.

24 April 1989

Desmond O'Brien OBE, QPM, becomes the new chief constable of the BTP.

April 1991

The first edition of BTP staff newspaper The Blue Line is published. Edited by Simon Lubin, it replaces the BTP Journal published since 1948.

March 1994

Superintendent Joyce (London Transport Area) exchanges duties with Deputy Chief Bohrer of the New York City Transit Police; the first international exchange involving BTP.

June 1996

Special constables reintroduced to police the railways. Paid special constables had previously been used during war years.

19 September 1997

Seven people are killed in the Southall Train Crash.

October 1997

David Williams QPM, LLB becomes the new chief constable of the force.

September 1997

The BTP Freephone number 0800 40 50 40 is launched.

June 1999

The Midland-Metro, a tram system linking Birmingham and Wolverhampton, starts operation. This is the first tram system to be policed by BTP.

July 1999

BTP website is launched.

5 October 1999

Thirty-one people are killed when the driver of a local train misses a signal and is hit by a Paddington-bound express train.

11 May 2000

The 28km of the Croydon Tramlink is opened and policed by BTP.

17 October 2000

Four people are killed at the Hatfield train crash which was caused by a broken rail.

28 February 2001

The Selby train crash. A Land Rover driven by Gary Hart comes off the M62 onto the railway. It is hit by a passenger train which collides with a freight train killing 10 people.

1 May 2001

Ian Johnston CBE, QPM becomes the new chief constable for British Transport Police.

June 2001

Commencing with London Underground Area, officers are issued with yellow high-visibility tabards as opposed to the orange ones.

11 December 2001

British Transport Police jurisdiction is extended in the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act to effectively cover all of England, Scotland and Wales.

10 May 2002

A faulty set of points south of Potters Bar station in Hertfordshire causes the derailment of a northbound train. The last carriage overturns and becomes lodged under the station canopy. Six passengers are killed as is a pedestrian walking nearby who is struck by debris.

February 2003

A series of four one-hour television programmes called Rail Cops is shown on BBC. It follows the duties of several British Transport Police officers.

April 2004

BTP introduce its first mobile custody unit as part of anti-robbery operation in Stratford, East London. The unit has six cells and can be taken anywhere around the capital to support operations against crime and anti-social behaviour.

6 November 2004

Seven people die at Ufton Nervet level crossing when the 17.35 First Great Western to Plymouth collides with a stationary vehicle.

13 December 2004

The first BTP community police support officers are recruited in Liverpool and London.

Next: 2005 onwards