Investing in British Rail: A Report by TEST for Transport 2000

This article is from the third special issue devoted to the work of John Roberts, the transportation consultant who founded and managed the consultancy Transport & Environment Studies (TEST) in London. This special issue makes reports and articles from John Roberts available for the first time in electronic format. The articles and reports provide clarity, insights, and policy suggestions, particularly with regard to sustainable transport. In this issue, the reprints are focused around the idea that endless growth in vehicle numbers, car dependency, and distances travelled is avoidable. Roberts called this “trip degeneration,” which emphasizes the multiple advantages associated with increases in walking and bicycling, including for traditional retail areas. This article reprints a 1983 report on British Rail, prepared for Transport 2000. The author describes this report as being about a conflict between dogma and rational analysis. British Rail, while showing achievements in performance and in reducing their workforce to a manageable level, may now be subject to irrational forces, to the detriment of the nation. This report picks up after the 1983 Serpell Reports and proposes a substantial investment program, including the largest (and most viable) electrified network for British Rail. The report concludes with a brief look at the advantages of investing in the Channel Tunnel and Cross London Rail link.


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  • Accession Number: 01711136
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 7 2019 7:03AM