The photograph of Exeter City Basin signal box on the penultimate night of operation by Paul Barlow, encompass the subject in a special way, that so many of us would have seen, but just didn’t take the snap, an absolute time capsule.
The very well researched article by Roy Hart on the Dawlish Deviation, sent me checking my photographs of 1969 which I have attached.
Unfortunately 2019, marks the 50th anniversary of the destruction of the LSWR mainline from Exeter to Plymouth.
All of us in the railway community were horrified at the closure and the lack of foresight at the time, Roy has really highlighted the lack of foresight then and now.
As an engineer, it is obvious that the proposed plans for the Dawlish Deviation are political rather than practical.
The new generation IET units are a compromise too far in engineering terms.
The power train proliferates problems, with each coach individually powered and obviously there has not been enough thought built in to protect the sophisticated electronics with respect to the harsh conditions at Dawlish.
I am presenting the biography of Isambard Kingdom Brunel by LTC Rolt next month at our local book circle and was struck by philosophy of our Victorian ancestors.
Railways were designed predominantly to carry large amounts of freight and passengers at relatively low speeds, using basic technology, combined with low costs.
As we are witnessing with HS2, trying to shave a few minutes off of a relatively short distance just doesn’t stack up. The French are struggling to maintain the TGV network, because once trains are expected to exceed 100 mph, the infrastructure costs rise exponentially.
India and Australia prove the point. The Indian passenger network runs at relatively slow speeds, but carries millions of passengers at very low ticket prices.
Australian freight is carried at relatively low speeds over long distances in consists of over 1 mile piggybacked and are cost effective.
The Indian Pacific passenger train, which travels across Australia, runs twice a week, usually fully booked, it is nearly a mile long and is generally hauled by a single locomotive of 4,500 hp! (a fantastic trip if you are lucky enough to afford it).
If only our railways were run by engineers and not politicians!
I only hope common sense will prevail one day and we will see Tavistock and Okehampton re connected to the national system, providing a robust railway to the Duchy and South Hams.
Best wishes Andrew Many thanks for your appreciations Andrew - we in turn thank you and all our contributors- without you where would we be?