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Modern Railways Magazine, May 1963 Issue

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Contents Listing - Articles & Features in this issue

DR. BEECHING PRESCRIBES
NEWS AND COMMENT
EUROPE'S LATEST HIGH-POWER DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES
THE BEECHING PLAN
PASSENGER SERVICE LINE AND STATION
CLOSURES
LOCOMOTIVE RUNNING PAST AND PRESENT
BRITISH INLAND TRANSPORT IN 1980
METAMORPHOSIS AT SWINDON WORKS
MIDLAND'S RAIL-ROAD LINK WITH
LONDON AIRPORT ....
NEW B.R. DRIVE FOR BUSINESS TRAVEL
DEVELOPMENT OF UN-MANNED TRAINS
BY LONDON TRANSPORT
NEW ELECTRIC POWER FOR FRENCH RAILWAYS
BEYOND THE CHANNEL
THE IRISH SCENE
MOTIVE POWER MISCELLANY
LETTERS

Article Snippets
Article Snippets
Dr. Beeching prescribes:
DESPITE the staring headlines of "bombshell" which greeted it, there are few shattering surprises in the Beeching Plan. Anyone with ears to hear and eyes to read all that has circulated this past year or so on the state and future of B.R. can have expected no better than the document's remorseless statistics prove and no less than the surgery proposed to rectify the situation. Unpalatable some of the harsh economic facts may be, but arguable they are not, after one has followed the clear, close reasoning that makes this probably the frankest, most convincing treatise ever produced on railway problems—would that the 1955 Modernisation Plan had been founded on similar realism and economic research in depth! Most general press comment has concentrated on the political and social issues involved. From this the Minister of Transport emerged out-numbered in his opinion that a reshaping of B.R. is an essential prelude to, not a concurrent part of the formulation of a co-ordinated national transport system. The country now knows in fine detail where its money to sustain the present B.R. system has been flooding down the drain and that in future, if it wants trains, it will have to pay at least the full cost of their service in rates and fares. It has no such information about its roads and their users, without which there can be no rational transport policy. To a lesser extent, it is also essential that the nation should know how far it is directly or indirectly subsidising the internal air services which compete with B.R. There can be no efficient transport system until each user is paying his fair share for the services he uses, whether rail, road or air. The Beeching Plan is therefore a model for further economic planning. To be content with it as a master-plan from which the re-shaping of other transport media will naturally evolve not only implies a prejudiced appraisal of the modern railway's potential, but may result in the precipitate elimination of some railway facilities which a broader appreciation of national transport problems might later show should have been retained.

The Beeching regime has done a masterly job within the constricted terms of its mandate. But the cart-before-the-horse nature of the mandate is underlined in so many of the Plan's proposals and in the reactions of private and public bodies since its publication. Many of the recommendations hinge on co-ordination with or co-operation, not yet promised, by other bodies and services
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