Dr John Stubbs - Senior Lecturer in Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Dr John Stubbs, Senior Lecturer in Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

John Stubbs

Dr John Stubbs cycled 300 miles as part of his study work

Back in the 1960s Dr Richard Beeching's Government document The Reshaping of the British Railways resulted in more than 4,000 miles of Britain's railways and 3,000 stations being closed.

John's research has focused on several railway lines axed following Beeching's report, which have been, or are to be, re-opened across the British Isles. His findings reveal that the re-opening of formerly closed railways can benefit both car drivers and rail passengers.

He said, "What was of particular interest was how each of the railway projects has, paradoxically, developed in the wake of substantial investment in the nearby road infrastructure and so the railway re-openings were not taking place in isolation from the road network. Railway improvements, particularly re-opening formerly closed railways, benefit all travellers - be they car drivers or rail passengers. This undermines the often heard argument that rail improvements only benefit rail users."

Dr Stubbs argues that if at least some of the railways axed by Beeching were to re-open, more car drivers could divert to rail for a faster journey. The crucial point is that trains do not slow down through attracting more passengers, whereas cars certainly do when roads attract more traffic. And any reduction of cars on the road as a result of re-opened railways, enables the remaining road traffic to go faster due to less congestion, so all travellers benefit.

John's research is especially important in the current tough economic climate and impetus for real value for money in transport projects. Dr Stubbs believes that 'reversing Beeching' should be seriously considered.

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