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GS 56/72

MEMORANDUM TO THE COMMISSION

ECONOMIC OPERATION OF PASSENGER SERVICES IN RURAL AREAS


1.     It is established that a large number of passenger services in rural areas, whether on branch lines, or as stopping trains serving main line wayside stations, are run at a loss.

In marginal cases, loss can be turned into profit by the substitution of steam services by standard diesel multiple unit trains.

In others, there is no prospect whatever of profitable operation by the use of present equipment and methods. But the service may have a value as a main line feeder, and a rail passenger service may have to be maintained for social reasons.

2.     When closure of branch line or wayside station is for one reason or another either impossible or undesirable, and passenger services must continue, even though unprofitable, it is clearly desirable that economy in operation be carried to the ultimate, and that unorthodox methods of operation must be used where necessary to achieve this end.

3.     Much has been said in the past about the economies that may be derived from the operation of light diesel railcars, but generally it has been asserted that these would be so small in relation to track, signalling and other operational costs, as not to justify their use.

However, many services of light railcars are now operating, with apparent success, in Continental Railways and there is a public demand for the operation on such vehicles in Britain in rural areas, where fears are entertained of the widespread loss of rail transport.

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Memo
British Railways
to British
Transport Commission
8th June 1956

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