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Modern Railways Magazine, February 1966 Issue

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Contents Listing - Articles & Features in this issue

Time for decisions: BR's lost time on disc brakes: How many more reorganisations? LT lessons in equipment reliability: If it sells BR, what's wrong ?
Letters
BR deficit up £9m in 1965
Rationalisation in the West Midlands
On the move in Scotland
First stage of LMR's Walsall resignalling is completed
Disc brakes: a progress report
The railway's role in transport of tomorrow
Traffic Divisions of British Railways - 6: Doncaster Part 2
Soundproof test house for diesel-electrics at Doncaster
Continental Express
Electrification changes in European timetable

New rolling stock design in the USA:
1. High-speed gas turbine train by United Aircraft
2. Rapid transit car by US Steel
3. Aeronca four-unit 230-ton coal hopper

Train running and traction performance 
£10m increase in BR freight charges and passenger fares
Today and tomorrow
Traffic report
Irish Scene

Article Snippets
Article Snippets
Time for decisions:
THE new Minister of Transport has not gone short of reminders of unresolved issues on her desk. At her first press conference on January 5, Mrs. Barbara Castle made plain that she is getting to forceful grips with the biggest of them—and in a heartening way, to judge from her decision to strengthen substantially the economic planning apparatus of the Ministry and evidence that she is prodding both rail and road interests into more purposeful public passenger transport co-ordination. But one does not expect early results from these new moves. In the interim the only certainty so far is yet another White Paper on transport.

Shelves are already loaded with reports and White Papers touching the long-term future of the railways. It is not so much which way Ministerial opinion on these will veer that matters now but the growing urgency of getting decisions of some sort. All that the studies have done so far is to erect a forest of question marks to obstruct long-range planning and investment policies until clear answers are forthcoming.

It is past time, for example, that the BRB was given a clear lead on electrification. All that seems to be happening now is that the BRB's planners dust off the files on historic projects every so often, then shake their heads a little more glumly at the widening gulf between the costs of diesel oil and electricity as a means of traction for all but the most intensively used pieces of route. It is ludicrous if this is the only criterion being applied.

The evidence from the industrialised world at large, let alone from purely British forecasts, is that in the major conurbations at least an attractive high-capacity electrified rail transport system will be a social necessity in the last quarter of this century. Between cities, even the Americans have now been persuaded to invest in high-speed electrified railways. Ultimately projection of the LMR main-line electrification to Glasgow, the GN suburban electrification, improvement of the SR's South Eastern Division and probably rapid transit schemes in the North Western cities are bound to be endorsed. It will be absurd if BR and industrial teams that have been created to execute the present schemes are allowed to disperse when they finish, and a build-up of men and expertise has to start all over again. A long-term plan of conservative butsteady electrification ought to have been published by now. Apart from a brief endorsement in the Government's National Plan, there has been no clear indication whether and when the trunk route rationalisation of "Beeching Part Two" will be carried out. Continued indecision over the Channel Tunnel is severely handicapping BR in the frenzied contest for passenger and freight traffic to and from Europe; while private enterprise builds new ships or hovercraft, BR are restricted to contingency planning against the eventual choice for them between under - and over - sea transport. There are other uncertainties worrying the
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