[sclug] OT: convert rail tracks to tarmac for private coach network which saves billions and provides a better service!

Jonathan H N Chin jc254 at newton.cam.ac.uk
Thu Sep 10 09:46:34 UTC 2009

tom wrote:
> the site which provides all the facts and figures the rail lobby doesn't  
> want you to see is here:
> http://www.transport-watch.co.uk/sitemap.htm
> read it, then post back your thoughts on this dramatic but very  
> worthwhile proposal.

>From a quick websearch, I don't find Paul Withrington very credible.


| By the way, this
| (http://www.transport-watch.co.uk/about-transwatch.htm) and this
| (http://www.transport-watch.co.uk/railway-lobby-group-transport-2000.htm)
| page on the website would seem to indicate he is a one man
| band with possible funding from a large road haulage company. I
| remember now, I've come across him before - he is also known as a
| bit of a nutjob who advocates ripping up railways and replacing
| them with guided-busways or multi-lane highways (how many lanes
| can you get on a typical railway anyway?) He seems to submit a
| lot of "evidence" to government committees etc, and unfortunately
| seems to have influenced the thinking of at least one conservative MP
| (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/columnists/article883785.ece).
| It's pretty pathetic that the Telegraph feels the need to base their
| case on a source like that. Interestingly this will be good test of
| Boris Johnson's commitment to the electric car cause, if indeed his old
| employers and his current national party are going to take this stance
| (note Conservative central office has been quiet on this so far, it
| would appear, but it is interesting that many of their supporters in
| the press are publishing stuff like this).


| Without any wish to sound rude, it would be interesting to know what
| motivates the thoughts of Paul Withrington.
| As stated in his letter in LTT on 12 April, Mr Withrington is director
| of Transport-Watch. This appears to be largely a campaign against
| "cumbersome trains", to turn railways into roads. It uses cherry-picked
| "facts" to discredit trains and promote roads, which blissfully ignores
| both the many realities of doing so and the many virtues of trains.
| Away from this campaign, he now appears to dispute mankind's contribution
| to global warming (Letters LTT 12 Apr). In LTT letters on 26 April,
| Matthew Ledbury very eloquently addressed the questions raised by Mr
| Withrington but why were they being asked?


| His argument is constructed around carefully selected figures which
| purport to show that taxpayers are being "railroaded", as he puts it,
| by a railway industry demanding ever greater subsidies. According to rail
| commentator Christian Wolmar, Withrington has confused himself by feeding
| his calculator not with current rail costs but the prices attached to
| an extravagant "dream" list of projects produced by someone in the
| SRA with no more expectation of them becoming reality than a young child
| hoping to be served with triple-layer chocolate fudge cake every meal
| time for as long as he wants it.


| Nigel Harris, the editor of Rail (January 19-February 1), spoke
| out. "The blunt truth", he said, is that standard double-track railways
| are just not wide enough to be replaced by roads "without buying extra
| land, rebuilding bridges and widening cuttings, embankments and other
| structures. The seductively simple idea... that it's simply a matter of
| concreting over a railway, is risible."


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