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Modern Railways Magazine, January 1965 Issue

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Contents Listing - Articles & Features in this issue

The Western's £30m saving: Strong case for a new image: Has economy gone too far? What Customers cost BR
Letters
The BRB drafts a National Traction Plan
The Western will be in the black this year
Tracked hovercraft—a threat to orthodox railways?
The ER's new diesel depot at Tinsley
The NER's Gateshead shed becomes a dieseldepot
The SR's new Brighton express units
Train running and traction performance
British Rail: a new image
British Railways test Belgian Railways safety device
"Blue Trains" treble North Clyde revenue
Power signalling for Guildford
The Taunlon freight concentration centre
The Retford diveunder is taking shape
Accident report
BRB's "True Costs" attacked by Holding Company
Today and tomorrow
Beyond the Channel
The Irish scene
Traffic report

Article Snippets
Article Snippets
The Western's £50m saving:
STORM cones were hoisted at Paddington early in 1962 'with the arrival as WR General Manager of Mr. S. E. Raymond, now the BRB's Vice-Chairman (and its Chairman-to-be according to all the latest callovers in Marylebone Road and Fleet Street). For a time all that came out of the eye of the hurricane were hunted cries. Even now a great deal of the storm damage is unknown to those outside the area, though it is clear that a good many Great Western traditions and practices, time-hallowed to the sanctity of venerated relics, were thrown to the winds. The casualties that were conspicuous—wholesale branch and secondary service closures; revised timetables to improve stock user and load factors; and not least the incidental abandonment of chocolate-and-cream livery—were quite enough, however, to set up a Great Western wailing wall from Paddington to Penzance and Pembroke. But how many of the mourners realised the state of the WR at that juncture? In a paper to the Institute of Transport in the spring of 1962 Mr. L. W. Ibbotson, then one of the Region's Assistant General Managers and now the BRB's Chief Operating Officer, admitted that the WR was failing to cover its costs by "a large margin". The actual gap, we believe, was close on £30m for both 1961 and 1962. In 1961 the total BR working deficit was £87m, so that the WR alone was probably responsible for over a third of it. One is not, of course, implying that internal factors alone had built up this alarming WR deficit. In his paper, which was summarised on page 320 of our May, 1962 issue, Mr. Ibbotson pointed to a number of external industrial changes, especially in South Wales, that had seriously affected the Region's business. Nevertheless he also made plain that there was room for a great deal of improvement in the utilisation of material and human assets. Our interview in this issue with the WR's present General Manager, Mr. G. F. Fiennes, who has taken over re-shaping of the Region following Mr. Raymond's translation, needs to be read against this background. If his financial predictions are fulfilled, the elimination of a £30m deficit within four years will be a cogent vindication of much that has wracked the Western these past few years. To have cut manpower requirements by over one-half in a decade is a substantial achievement, particularly as the overall Regional volume of both passenger and freight traffic is increasing; productivity, in fact, has been improved by about 40 per cent during the period. (It is interesting to record—though no invidious comparison should be inferred—that Mr. Fiennes' comparatively short-term aim of a 40,000 staff total equals what is today needed to run the Scottish Region, generally accepted as forming only one-eleventh of the whole BR network.) It is fair to say, too, that the WR's financial return to health has been accompanied by an all-round improvement of the services that matter most to the great majority of passengers and freight users,
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