From the 'Suffolk Free Press' of Thursday 18 April 1963

 

Closures are not complete answer


The Central Transport Consultative Committee in a report last week said rail closures were not the complete answer to our rail problems.


"All the information we have obtained on closures during the past 12 years has, however, convinced us that, while it is obvious that apart from conurbations and suburban services, there are many local trains which must be loosing money, the negative policy of closing down uneconomic facilities, while contributing to a small financial saving, is not the panacea it has sometimes been made out to be.


"Each closure diverts some business to the roads. These losses of traffic must have contributed materially to the poor results of the last five years", says the committee.


"Without radical improvements in the pattern, speed, comfort and punctuality of the passenger and freight train services offered, the Railways Board will never stop making stupendous losses", the report says.


On rail closures the committee says, "We hope that it will be possible to consult with the road passenger transport interests so as to establish a much more effective form of co-ordination between railways and buses than hitherto.


DIFFICULTIES


"We appreciate that there are considerable practical difficulties in co-ordinating timetables between the existing stage carriage road services and trains, but where road services are substituted for trains we feel these difficulties need not arise".


The committee says towns where lines have been cut should still be mentioned in railway timetables with instructions on the best rail-bus connections.


The Central Committee, which no longer considers individual rail closures following last year's Transport Act, says it will now concentrate on 'making recommendations' to the Minister of Transport on matters of national concern.


It will advise on any hardships that might be caused by rail cuts, and will also convey the views of transport users on the quality of road and rail services.


"We will need far more co-operation from the public than hitherto received", the report says.


1,075 CLOSURES


The report shows that the Transport Users Consultative Committees - between January 1950 and August 1962 - recommended that 340 lines be closed at an estimated saving of 5,184,952. Thirty-nine lines were recommended to be closed between January and August last year. The actual number closed between 1950 and 1962 was 1,075.