Rail conversion - the indisputable facts by E.A. Gibbins, C.M.I.L.T.

A site aimed at bringing a sense of reality to those obsessed with converting railways to roads who cannot see the wood for the trees.

& rebutting their claims with fact & figure.




Advocators of conversion claims include:-

Claim 1 – that widths of railways, & the width & height of bridges & tunnels are adequate for use as fast motor roads

Claim 2 - that railways converted to roads will capacity for existing road traffic

Claim 3 – that passenger terminals will require only 25% of their existing space to accommodate replacement buses

Claim 4 – that upon conversion all railway passengers will travel by bus

Claim 5 – that bus fares would be substantially less than rail.

Claim 6 – that changeover from railways to roadways will be simple, swift & cheap

Claim 7 – that fuel consumption will be less for road transport than for comparable rail transport

Claim 8 – that transferring rail freight to road would be more efficient

Claim 9 – that safety of roads is better than rail, & converted railways will be as safe as m-ways

Claim 10 – that taxes on road transport create profits for government, whilst rail is subsidised

Claim 11 – that costs for converting railways into roads will be outstripped by benefits, so that the cost will be zero.

Claim 12 – that huge financial benefits will accrue from conversion

Claim 13 – that there have been no major opportunities to convert railways into roads

Claim 14 – that conversion of railways will release valuable land for industrial use.


A web site jibe by Transwatch selected 37 words referring to two statements from an 809 word article – which was not an extract from the above book as claimed. Many points in the article will not be found in the book. It is a tacit admission that there was no answer for the other 25 issues, which preceded, fell between or followed the points criticised, much less hundreds of other flaws in conversion theory which had been addressed & demolished in that book.

Transwatch says that most people are ‘open to reason’ on conversion. The reality is that 50 years of propaganda has not convinced ‘most people’, MPs nor road biased Transport Ministers - including one who was a Partner in a road building firm! At its peak – as recorded by the Directory of British Associations conversion league/campaign membership was 75 – so they didn’t find many open to reason from a population of 60m! Membership fell to 26, before they ceased to report the size of membership, & eventually, the organisation folded through lack of interest.

See also more rail jibes

An article cataloguing the flaws in Conversion was published in Focus, Journal of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport

Transwatch submitted a paper on conversion to the Transport Select Committee. Click Select Committee for a rebuttal of those claims

Transwatch had circulated a paper on conversion, with references to waste railway capacity. Click Answers to see a rebuttal of that paper.

Transwatch responded to “Answers”. Click Response for details, and demolition of the ‘response’

See article “Railway Conversion is a Pipe-Dream” responding to an article by Transwatch published in the Public Service Review


A booklet published in 1970 by the Railway Conversion League made claims of railway lines converted and those soon to be converted. It was out of touch  with reality – click booklet


See www.transportmyths.co.uk for various letters to the media countering claims about railway conversion then click Letters-Convert

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