TRANSPORT MYTHS & MISTAKES
Articles & papers by E.A. Gibbins CMILT
on the wrong road? was published in Focus
(Journal of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport) in July 2008.
It exposes the manifold problems & disadvantages of kerb guided busways,
& the lack of interest in them in the rest of the world.
The views of critics of this article were published in Focus in August 2008. My 1500 word response was published in Focus October 2008. Though not strictly an article, this comprehensive rebuttal of the criticism reads like one.
See also various letters to the media on this subject.
With the benefit of foresight was published in Focus in June 2004. It reveals that the oft-repeated claims of politicians that the problems which arose following privatisation of British Railways could only be seen with the benefit of hindsight are a myth. There was FORESIGHT in abundance, from the era of the Big Four (GWR, LMS, LNE, SR) and the BR era.
Bereft of imagination? was written to respond to a claim that BR managers were bereft of imagination, and expose myths and anecdotes to be found in criticisms of railway professionals. Written for publication in Focus, it has not yet been published.
railways & myth was published in the Journal of the Railway & Canal
Historical Society, Special 200th Edition in December 2007. It is
based on eight biographies of Mussolini, his autobiography & two books on
Fascism. None mention drivers being threatened that they would be shot for
unpunctuality, despite evidence that their trains were not all punctual as the
British media so fondly believed. Some people seem to believe that what is
needed for perfect reliability on railways is a dictator. Even fiction writers
cannot resist an irrelevant reference to the ease of achieving railway
punctuality. It seems to be a sine qua non for writers to assume that Dictators
can induce perfection in railway operation but not in industrial production.
Conversion of railways into roads was published in Focus in October 2001. It reviews the history of this idea and catalogues its impracticalities and flawed argument. It explodes the myths which created the idea of conversion. The article produced much favourable comment, including advice: “this deserves a wider audience”. This advice led to more research and a book “Railway conversion – the impractical dream”.
A letter rebutting criticism by a reviewer of this book is included as it reveals the trivia that opposes exposure of railway conversion myths. It was published in the Journal of the Railway & Canal Historical Society, July 2007.
A further article rebutted claims made in a paper by Transwatch.
A recent article on this subject - ‘Railway conversion is a pipedream’, - was prepared for publication in the Public Service Review, in response to an article in that Journal by the lone advocator of railway conversion - Transwatch. The response was not published leaving readers of the original article in blissful ignorance of the facts. The idea of conversion was dreamed up 55 years ago. Membership of its society totalled 75 at the peak before tapering off to zero. In that period every Transport Minister has dismissed the concept. 10,000 miles of railway have closed, 250 miles have been “converted” to roads after widening by a factor of up to eight.
A study commissioned by the Department of the Environment in
1974 was rejected by them. This envisaged – inter alia – that a
closed railway needed only a few mm of asphalt more than recommended for
domestic driveways on the formation to support tens of thousands of HGVs,
double-deck buses and cars. (This contrasts with
Guided busways are incompatible with the objectives of conversionists.
See Letters-Convert for letters to the media on this subject.
The major problem of converting large railway station terminals to bus stations has been seriously misjudged. (see Terminals)
Road Trains derailed? was published in Focus in April 2008. The author observed and filmed off-road demonstrations of the vehicles. It highlights the dangers, problems & disadvantages of the concept, and that the forecast easement of congestion and improvement of road capacity would prove to be a myth, A few weeks after publication, the Minister refused permission for trials on public roads. (see also letters to the media on road transport)
LT&S – the mythical ‘Misery
Line’. For several decades, users of the
Rebuttal of a paper by Transwatch to the Transport Select Committee on railway conversion
Railway Fares – it was – and is – popularly believed that fares on nationalised railways were rising every year, and were always above inflation, when the converse is the reality. (see also letters to the media on fares).
Railway Nationalisation has been offered to some Journals, but not so far published.
Some of the above items will be expanded as research progresses – please watch this space.
Other articles in course of preparation
Transport safety, Railway closures, Complaints, Unions, Wartime; Weather, Private Owner Wagons; Road haulage, CarParking. Highway pot-holes. See Letters for correspondence to the media on some of these subjects.
Any Journal interested in any of these subjects will be supplied with an advance copy. Publication on this site will then be deferred. firstname.lastname@example.org
Joined the LMS in 1946 as a junior booking and
parcels clerk. After two years National Service with the R.A.F., mainly in
Having taken early
retirement from BR, set up Leisure Products to publish books designed by me for
sportsmen & women to keep records of their games & for spectators to
keep records of club performances. These books sold to Club souvenir shops
Simultaneously, conducted research into aspects of transport history which had been neglected, ignored or inadequately researched, leading to misleading impressions, myths and inaccurate reporting. Some books on railways gave little data on the source of statements. Consequently, I wrote a series of books embracing this research, and published them through the same company. The anti-rail, pro-road attitude of pre-war governments and its effect on the LMS, LNE, SR, GWR is revealed in “Square Deal Denied”. The facts of this episode have been seriously misreported, probably due to a failure to study government files in the National Archives, and a lack of media interest when the files were released after 50 years. References in books and articles pre-1990s, when pre-war transport files were released to the public, were made without knowledge of these files. My other books expose the unreal claims made by politicians, media and users regarding nationalised railways.
Have written over 100 letters to the media on transport based on researched facts to counter anecdote and uninformed opinion posing as facts. Most were unpublished. Click letters to see examples.