5 MARCH 1932, Page 2

The Struggling Railways .

Sir Josiah Stamp's address to the shareholders of the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company went far to show that the company is facing its troubles in the right spirit. The mere fact that its expenditure. has been

reduced by 7.79 per cent, while its receipts have fallen by 7..9ri per cent, points to drastic economies, while the chairman claims that scientific reorganization has pro- duced a better service. Doubtless if the railway com- Panies had adopted these modern methods sooner, they would not have lost so much traffic to the road coaches and lorries. But Sir Josiah Stamp may fairly, ask the' Government to define its long term policy, if it has one towards' the competition 'between road and rail. The railways are suffering from the depression in the heavy industries which will, we trust,' pass away very soon. But their main complaint is that the road traffic, though taxed for licenses and petrol, is provided with tracks at the taxpayer's and ratepayer's expense, while the railways have to be maintained by the companies and are rated and subject to many" restrictions. Road trans- port is thus artificially. cheapened and naturally tends to increase year by year, 'leaving less and less traffic for the railway system. The whole question needs full con- sideration, for we arc in fact duplicating our transport facilities at an enormous cost just when economy is urgently required.

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