'Not an attack on road transport'
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• "No one in BR has ever claimed that the railways are an alternative to the road haulage industry," Mr Richard Marsh, chairman of the British Railways Board, told members of the Institution of Highway Engineers at their annual luncheon on Friday. "We keep our claims strictly within the bounds of credibility, and we are only too conscious of the fact that we carry only a relatively small proportion of the country's total freight traffic — about 20 per cent — a figure which I suspect most ordinary people are as keen to see increased as I am.
"The fact is that, just as the flexibility of road transport gives it overriding superiority in certain spheres, so too there are jobs — notably in the field of bulk movement over medium and long distances — for which railways are by their nature ideally suited. What we are asking for is a fair proportion of the investment cake and for a proper recognition of the value of railways. We pay for our own police force — the roads do not. We pay for our own signalling — the roads do not. We pay interest on capital borrowed — roads do not.
"And the day someone shuts an uneconomic road, I shall believe that road investment is on a commercial basis!