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Total factor productivity (TFP) growth in Britain’s railways in the last part of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth has been widely studied, not least because it can throw light on the question of the causes of overall slowdown in industrial growth. This article is concerned with the detailed mechanics of measuring TFP growth and with the use of results to compare growth across different companies. The article disaggregates TFP growth between different activities performed by railway companies (provision of locomotive power, operation of carriages and wagons, provision of permanent way, and working of traffic), and it also develops detailed measures of capital stock and capital costs using disaggregate data on assets employed in each activity. These improvements to existing methodology reduce, rather than increase, existing estimates of TFP growth. Consequently the results confirm the previously observed conclusion that productivity growth was slow. They show that while there were significant increases in goods train operating efficiency in the first decade of the twentieth century, the additional resources that were employed meant that these increases were slow to translate into overall TFP growth.