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Modern Railways Magazine, December 1966 Issue

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Contents Listing - Articles & Features in this issue

Pleasant talk but no action: Electrification needs an act of faith : Starry-eyed look at traction turbines: BR taken for a merry-go-round ride? Earlier starts could beat the air: Southern should build for tomorrow: The Severn Tunnel is still there: Are Japanese dumping diesels?
Letters
Freight transport and the White Paper:the views of the transport industry
New Scottish Region regular-interval services
Leeds layout reorganised
More previews of BR's 1967 inter-city express service:
Faster to Leeds, Newcastle - and a Hull Pullman
New Swansea and Oxford Pullmans
SR's Bournemouth opening threatened
English Electric to get Ruston & Hornsby
Railways in the 1980s: The commercial requirement
The limitations of conventional railways
Monorails versus conventional railways
A US 300 m.p.h. "guideway" concept
Automatic train control for BARTD
BR should plan 125 m.p.h. coaches now
Continental Express
Traffic Divisions of BR - 9: Manchester Part 2
New books
BR's oil boom
Freightlines
Train running and traction performance
Rotterdam Metro opens next year
French road-rail transport merger
Beyond the Channel
Today and Tomorrow
Traffic report

Article Snippets
Article Snippets
Pleasant talk but no action
RAILWAYMEN and engineers got a hearty thump on the back from the Minister of Transport at BR's October Main-Line Electrification Conference dinner, but no slap of pen to paper approving fresh extensions. Now London Transport is complaining that at least £lm will go down the drain if its tunnelling engineers cannot move smoothly from the basic Victoria Line to its £15m extension beyond Victoria to Brixton. True, we have a freeze, but the ice is concealing a growing number of blocked channels. The deeper analyses, the new criteria and the wider consultation the Minister seeks as bases for decisions are not only unexceptionable but will broaden the grounds on which the ultimate decisions are valid. How she obtains all this without duplicating a great deal of the research and planning operations of the BRB, other transport operators and a host of other agencies is something else. It is a tall- order for her staff of some 50 economists (a good many of whom must be unfamiliar with transport, anyway). The urgent need is to accelerate the accumulation of data and the consultation, otherwise this will never catch up with the changing environment it concerns, and to see to it that consultative mountains are not being sent into labour over relative trivia. Do internal improvements at Paddington, for example, really need submission to a general London transport co-ordinating body? Happy as one is to learn that the Government is taking power to make capital grants for "the provision of new terminals and interchange facilities" one wonders whether the outcome will be even more protracted delays for consultation and ministerial sifting.

One has a suspicion that the Minister's new economist brooms are re-doing a lot of old sums. To revert to electrification, BR and industry between them must long ago have amassed every available tittle of evidence on non-variables in the equation and export potentials. On the purely accounting data an unequivocal refusal or endorsement of a five-year electrification programme, provisional only as national economic considerations dictate, ought to have been forthcoming by now (though there are other considerations, as the succeeding editorial stresses). If, however, BR have got to wait until every last brick of some general social and economic Utopia has been costed and shaped to fit its neighbour before it gets even a nod for fresh major developments, we are in for another stagnant period reminiscent of the Marples era. But at least Mrs Castle speaks kindly of the railways. And we have a new agreement to agree on a Channel Tunnel. Electrification needs an act of faith RISING above the sound of mutual backslapping at the 1966 Electrification Conference was the repeated call for all concerned to make electrification cheaper. Speaker after speaker pursued this theme. The BRB's Chairman brought it into his speech half a dozen
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