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Railwatch 078 - December 1998

Railwatch - Buses oust trains

An intact railway line that should be reinstated may be sacrificed on the altar of a mistaken dream of solving Britain's transport ills with buses.

Industry experts say that for a £5m investment, the Luton-Dunstable line could be operating again with new German-built railbuses. Even consultants admit the railway could be reinstated for £15 million.

But they are recommending a guided busway at twice the price because they say public grants could be found for that but not for trains. The consultants claim that private finance would be available for a busway but not for a railway.

They ignore the fact that more enlightened City institutions are now looking much more favourably on rail and realise that buses have limited appeal.

But it begs the question why public money is supposedly not available for cost-effective rail options.

It adds to suspicions that there are still people inside the government machine who will do all they can to cripple rail while promoting dead-end road-based policies.

Meanwhile in North Bedfordshire, progress on the East-West rail link is still being held up by dithering in Bedford which ironically has most to gain from the scheme.

If you want to help the battle to reinstate the railway, our affiliate ADAPT (01582 763098) can provide information, about what action to take.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

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