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TOPIC 22 RAILWAY LUNATICS - Commentary on Railway Conversion the impractical dream by E A Gibbins

This topic is devoted to giving air space to those who prefer mud pies to reasoned debate  Currently there is just one entry but we look to more of the same.  Meanwhile elsewhere there is fun to be had with the Campaign for better Transport, and with The Borders proposal

A leading  light among our crtics is E A Gibbins.  We have before us an extract from his book “Railway Conversion – the Impractical Dream”.  It starts with the assertion that the “Railway Conversion idea” (initiated by Brigadier Lloyd) was “demolished by road engineers and operators at an Institution of Civil Engineers Debate in 1955”.  In contradiction we point out that the debate following the original discussion lasted until 1958.  Most of that occurred in the pages of the then prestigious magazine “The Engineer”.  We have that correspondence.  From it, it is clear that the railway lobby typically denies that a two way road can exist, whereas those who have seen a road know how effective roads are.

Further on Mr Gibbins asserts that our fuel consumption comparisons are based on “one hypothetical lorry – fully loaded by weight – with an average for all freight trains”.  That is not true.  Instead we hypothecated a lorry carrying 30 tonnes on its outbound journey and empty on its return.  Hence the average load was 15 tonnes. Of course not all lorries replacing the rail function may carry the 30 tonnes but (a) it is true to say that the around 60 percent of rail freight is bulk freight (b) many lorries may return with a half load.

We conclude that this book should be treasured as an illustration of the extraordinarily inaccurate comment typical of the railway lobby.

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