Guinness Fact Book Rail by John Marshall Soft Cover 1985 208 pages

Guinness Fact Book Rail by John Marshall Soft Cover 1985 208 pages

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Guinness Fact Book Rail by John Marshall Soft Cover 1985 208 pages
Guinness Fact Book Rail by John Marshall Soft Cover 1985 208 pages
This book is intended as a handy reference work, providing data about British and various foreign railways. It is not an abridged version of The Guinness Book of Rail Facts and Feats which does not contain most of the material in this Factbook. The author hopes that it may find use as a work of reference for railway historians.
The selection of this raw material of history may appear arbitrary, particularly that of the French National Railways (SNCF) as the only example out of over 20 major European systems, besides British Railways, to be considered in detail. Reasons for this, apart from the dictates of space, are first that the SNCF is the largest; second, since World War II it has been the most progressive and an example of what can be achieved with strong government commitment, unlike British Railways on which progress has been hampered by low investment and apathetic government. Third information about the SNCF has been forthcoming.
On the world's largest nationalised system, the USSR Railways, scant information is available compared with the railways of Britain, France, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan on which there is an abundance of factual material. It has not been practicable to present information in a standard form because different railway managements tend to stress different aspects of their statistics, but as far as possible the aim has been to enable comparisons to be made between various railways and to present an outline of the progress or decline within a system over a number of years.
Certain railways cannot be compared; for example the railways of Europe and of the USA. In the USA the most economical method of operating freight traffic over the enormous distances is to assemble it into trains up to 2 km (1.25 miles) long, often hauled by six or more diesel locomotives, under the control of two or three men. Such trains would be unmanageable in Europe where distances are much shorter and traffic density much greater, and where track layouts could not accommodate such trains.
A similar rule applies to electrification: it is an economic proposition only if the traffic density is such as to make the installation cost worthwhile. Eventually, however, rising fuel costs may make electric railways the most economical form of transport even in the USA. In the USSR, where greater distances are involved, rail traffic density is sufficient to justify electrification on a vast scale, such as on the Trans-Siberian Railway. An interesting feature of the USSR Railways is that the equipment is almost identical with that in North America.
Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to give full details of the railway system on which the greatest progress is being made, The Chinese People's Republic Railways; but gradually, as the significance of the work they are doing is realised, details are emerging and soon it should be possible to give much more information about the railways of this fascinating country which aims to have 60 000 km (nearly 40000 miles) of railway route by 1990.
A book of this type is out of date before it is even typed; by the time it is published, route lengths, numbers of locomotives and rolling stock, all have changed. The numbers quoted were from the most recent information, but at best can be only approximate.
Although most of the information in this book is obtainable in various printed sources, some of which are not readily available, it is believed that this is the only book in which the information from these numerous sources is brought together in one compact volume.
Throughout the book metric units are given first, followed by imperial units in brackets. For countries using the metric system, the metric units are the original measurements, the imperial the conversion, and vice versa.

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