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Railway World Magazine, May 1983 Issue

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Contents Listing - Articles & Features in this issue
Manchester Central revisited - R.E. Rose recalls locomotive and train workings at Manchester Central in the late 1930s, including a lesser known visit by Stirling Single No 1 and Sir Nigel Gresley.

Stroudley in Scotland - Alex Rankin - traces reports of the loan by the Southern Railway to the LMS for service in Scotland

The Dundee and Newtyle Railway - James Page - traces the history of a notable Scottish pioneer, to 4ft 6^-in gauge, and the surviving evidence today.

Seen and heard with Anthony J. Lambert. - The first of a new quarterly feature on developments in video, cassette, radio and tv coverage of railways, with reviews of recent releases.

Orand Junction - Alan Wilkinson recalls his days as a temporary member of signalbox staff at Crewe in the mid-1960s,

Operating the 'Venice-Simplon-Orient-ExpreSS Who is better qualified than George Behrend to give a first-hand report- of a journey from Victoria to Venice on the 'V-S-O-E'

'Q' No 541 and the Maunsell Locomotive Society Mike Frackiewicz describes the restoration of the only SR 'Q' - 0-6-0 to have passed to Barry scrapyard, and reviews the work of the MLS.

London Transport photo-call

Ready for the season - the Dart Valley railways A report by Michael Harris on the Buckfastleigh and Torbay & Dartmouth lines at the start of a new season.

New Books
Letters
Preservation Scene
Rail Report
Enthusiast's Month
Article Snippets
Article Snippets
HE railway hotels are being sold. Soon, only two will be left under the control of the British Railways Board. Privatisation is making grudging progress. Any money that is being generated is really incidental to the financial requirements of the BRB. Slowly, but surely since 1948 the railways have been stripped of all the components that once distinguished them as wide-ranging corporations concerned with transport. Docks, bus interests, road freight and distribution have all been taken away. Facilities which provided warehousing for railway customers have been sold off. The railway has been pared down to a simplified operation, and the prospects for meeting costs with revenue from traffic are as far as ever from being realised. The Serpell Report, with its offered alternative strategies, seems likely to be no more successful in its attempt to come to terms with railway financing. The problem is that railways in this country no longer offer a total transport service. The argument advanced since the Beeching era is that the 'total' approach does not work and is a recipe for losses. Railways should concentrate on what they can do best. Much the same policies are being followed by other national systems. But that doesn't mean that they are a universal panacea. For the fact remains that railways are an alternative form of transport and by offering a total service they are more likely to retain customers. If the system is reduced to providing specialised services only, in the face of integrated road-based operations, many of the options are reduced. No road distribution, a minimum of local depots, largely unstaffed stations, no interchange/transhipment facilities, no road/rail passenger road services a€ the result is that the railway is reduced to catering for dedicated rail users only. In time, its dependence on them is absolute and the chance to break into new opportunities becomes progressively more limited. True enough, most private enterprise railways that have survived very often have diversified into new fields to the detriment of their original activity. Some have not and have prospered. Hotels are an ancillary operation, but as the short break holiday marketing demonstrated, so long as they were part of BR it meant that the railway had a stake in the leisure industry and a reason for persuading people to travel by train to a destination. Perhaps there will still be an opportunity a€" at least one of the hotel purchasers now has a vested interest in rail transport. If James Sherwood can take passengers by rail across Europe to Venice, maybe something similar can develop in Britain. Sea Containers is an interesting example of a total transport activity a€" perhaps the message may not be lost elsewhere. Privatisation just might have a point.
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