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News summary to WE 6th July 2003

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Posted by News Desk on July 8, 2003

Main news from the Financial Times was:

  1. 30th June Mark Odell reports Rail Chiefs saying is £58 bn needed to run the system. Transport Watch comments – its difficult to square the numbers – Moderisation was at one time said to require £73bn, the East Coast High Speed line is to cost £36 bn over perhaps 40 years. There are reports that the railways need £9 bn per year. Inquires of the SRA or the Office of the Rail Regulator are unrewarding.
  2. 1st July Rebecca Beam reports “Rail outlook offers little comfort to passengers” – one in 10 trains late and 2000 staff to be cut coupled with Network Rail’s intention, in liaison with the SRA and the Regulator, to “come up with pragmatic solutions to the funding crisis”. 
    Leader – Network Fail arguing for cuts except for the commuter services.Transport Watch comments – let us hope the redundant rail routes are bought by the Government so that it may convert the routes to roads – avoiding the loss of this priceless transport land and encouraging development in the areas served.
  3. July 2nd Rebecca Bream reports the CBI’s concern that poor transport is deterring inward investors.
  4. 5th July Cathy Newman reports the proposed widening of the M25 to an 8-lane highway plus U-turn by the Government in favour of road building as opposed to public transport.
  5. Dan Roberts Reports former chief executive of Railtrack, Gerald Corbett, may be prosecuted for the Hatfield Rail crash. Transport Watch comments – whereas it is difficult to see any justice in such a prosecution, some may believe a prosecution of rail management for misrepresentation of the financial and engineering facts down the decades may be appropriate. 
    Chris Tighe reports a train arrives in Wensleydale after 49 years.
  6. Bertrand Benoit reports the plan for 79 km of (German) Maglev in Westphalia has been scraped casting a pall over the hope for a Maglev track in China. Transport Watch comments: a Maglef system must surely be many times as expensive as steel wheel on steel rail, itself 4 times as expensive as express coaches. If speed is the issue then how does Maglev compare with air for cost, land take and fuel consumption? 

    6th July: Sunday times: David Smith, Dipesh Gadher and Mark Ludlow Railways: time for the AXE (Some parts of the network are doing the job that a small bus could do perfectly adequately and a lot cheaper) – a major article suggesting the facts are at last beginning to be understood.

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