txk

TXK (Telephone eXchange Crossbar) was a range of Crossbar exchanges used by the British Post Office telephone network, subsequently BT, between 1964 and 1994. TXC was used as the designation at first, but this was later changed as TXC sounded too much like TXE the code used for later electronic exchanges. Prior to this the GPO had standardised on Strowger for automatic switching and had resisted the adoption of Crossbar, preferring to wait for its electronic switching research to bear fruit. The development of electronic systems however took longer than anticipated and the British equipment manufacturers, particularly Automatic Telephone & Electric (ATE), which later became part of the Plessey group feared that continuing to focus the bulk of their production on Strowger equipment would harm their export sales as Crossbar had already become popular throughout the world.
In response to this, ATE, and later Plessey, developed their own crossbar system, the 5005, and pushed for the GPO to adopt it as an interim measure. Normally the GPO preferred to develop systems in co-operation with the manufacturing companies, from whom they could then purchase competitively rather than allowing one manufacturer to sell it a proprietary system. The situation however was becoming critical, waiting lists for telephone service in the UK were growing embarrassingly long and the manufacturers were becoming more and more reluctant to supply Strowger in the quantities needed by the GPO. Eventually the GPO relented and decided to accept Crossbar equipment into its network.

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