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UK RAIL NEWS
THE RAILWAY AGE
Royal Mail. A three figure speed Royal Mail train.
Colin Garratt, Director of Milepost 92½/RailPhotoLibrary.com - Picture Library and
Photographers to the Railway Industry - sets out his belief in the essential rightness of railways
After sixty years of close An incredible network were distanced from the rail- augmented by a massive net- 15,000 trams journeys a year. Glasgow
contact with railways all over of lines ways. If open today, these work of light rail in the form of At their peak, Britain had alone had 133 route miles of
the world, I have become By 1907 Britain’s railway net- missing lines would make a tramways which covered most 241 tramway systems cover- track and 1,200 trams. Trams
increasingly convinced that work was at its peak. Virtually massive difference to rail’s conurbations providing effi- ing almost 2,700 route miles ran on their own permanent
rail should be our principal way. The mass closure of tram
means of transport. systems is both ludicrous and
Britain’s move towards a Abandoned line. reprehensible.
road-based economy in the Consider the billions spent
years following World War Two, on roads: building, mainte-
was not only a mistake, it led nance, police, accidents and
to a dramatically different parking. Britain’s road-based
Britain. At its imperial-indus- economy has disfigured our
trial height, Britain moved cities and consumed vast
thousands of people and swathes of countryside. Road
tonnes of commodities around traffic is responsible for thou-
an empire on which the sun sands of deaths annually and
never set, without using motor horrific injuries.
cars or lorries. Industrial The system insists on the
Britain developed around rail- relentless burning up of oil and
ways. creates a disinclination to walk
Latterly we did the opposite. or cycle, activities which would
Whole areas of the country greatly benefit the health of
were closed to the rail network. many. Motoring also exerts an
Our detractors claim the rail- increasingly unhealthy toll on
way cannot fulfil the nation’s the pocket.
transport requirements. If a Whilst we cannot disinvent
third of our highways were the motor car or the jugger-
closed (as was the railway all of it had been built. potential and help alleviate our cient, rapid transport. On of track over which 15,000 naut lorry - so tightly do they
under Beeching) the road sys- Bradshaw’s railway map of dependence upon the motor many of the busiest routes the trams provided credible, con- have our lives in their grip -
tem wouldn’t work either. 1907 shows an incredible net- car and oil. adage, ‘always a tram in sight’ gestion-busting transport there are many ways in which
work of lines; very few places In addition, the railway was held good. with billions of passenger the railways, utilised more
Light Rail into Heavy Rail interfacing with national and international
services, Beckenham Junction.
Virgin with M1. A graphic illustration of land
use with the West Coast Main Line and M1.
16 | RailStaff | December 2008
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