London, 28 Oct 2000.
For immediate release.

Contact the ABD

Press Release

ABD Links Rail Disaster To "Pot Hole Britain" And Unrealistic Speeds
The Association of British Drivers today draws parallels between the deeply regrettable rail accident in Hertfordshire and accidents on the roads of the UK.
Rightfully, there has been an outcry to the rail crash disaster in Hertfordshire, caused, it seems, by the failure to maintain and repair the rail infrastructure. But every day at least an equivalent number of motorists are killed on the roads of "pot hole Britain" due this time to the failure of Government to maintain and repair the public highway for which £36bn is collected from those dodging the holes. Two million people travel on Britains creaking railways every day, a tiny figure compared to the tens of millions using the broken roads.

ABD spokesman, Nigel Humphries said:

"Having extracted huge sums of cash from the near empty pockets of road users throughout the UK, it should come as no surprise to the Government when they are accused of a rip-off that also leads to the deaths and serious injury of thousands of people every year. Central Government takes the money, and leaves cash strapped councils to repair the roads from their own resources. It's a national disgrace."

"Furthermore, it would suddenly appear top be of major concern that speed limits are to be introduced at over 80 rail locations, causing delays to rail travellers. This has been a problem faced by Britains 30 million car drivers for years; ever decreasing speed limits, and anti-car policies aimed at increasing journey times as a method of driving people out of their cars and onto an insufficient public transport system. With the rail network now confirmed as virtual scrap, the ABD calls for the raising of speed limits on the road network and the removal of so called 'traffic calming' and other restrictions before the economy grinds to a halt."

ABD Chairman, Brian Gregory commented:
"The top speed of an Intercity 125 is 125 mph. In Hertfordshire we have these trains travelling at 90% of their maximum speed in complete safety - track and signalling excepted. On the safest roads in the UK we see average cars unreasonably restricted to 60% of their safe design speed, yet pseudo road safety Professors continue to call for reductions to 50 mph on the Motorway "to make rail travel more attractive"[1]. It's about time the motorways were opened up to more realistic speeds, after all, a modern car is easily capable of speeds equivalent to the Intercity 125, and an average driver can slow down much quicker than a fully laden train, and can re-position themselves within moments to avoid the cracks in the infrastructure."
[1] Dr A Jefford, Chairman of Traffic and Safety Committee, County Surveyors Society, said at Aston University on 20/9/2000:
" food for thought, we should look to a 50 mph motorway limit to extend journey times in order to make rail travel more attractive."

Notes for Editors