Dialogue:______read aloud in pairs
A: I believe you've been working on a transport policy for Britain. Can you
explain what is special about your plan?
B: Yes, certainly. First of all, Britain is unique in its transport history.
A: Why's that?
B: Because of all the transport systems that have been developed in the last 300
years. By the year 1700, Britain had a whole network of canals and rivers. Coal could
be moved from Welsh mining villages right into the heart of London.
A: But surely, the canal system is much too slow for industry today.
B: Not necessarily. With a bit of forward planning, we could still move
construction materials by waterway, though I'd agree that the main potential of the
canal routes today is their recreational use. They are ideal for people who really
want to relax and live life at a slower pace - I don't mean stuck on the roads in a
A: What do you propose for industry then?
B: Well, Britain's rail network is still second to none.
A: But freight trains can't deliver goods from door to door. By the time you've
loaded them onto a truck, you might as well do the whole journey by road.
B: That doesn't necessarily follow. A lot of our trade is with Europe and before
the Channel Tunnel, there was a very good container industry. The containers could
either be hooked onto lorries or loaded onto ships. Why not adapt the rail network
to allow it to cope with containers?
A: You couldn't have loading bays and cranes at every station along the line.
B: No, but you could have freight terminals in each of our major cities. Loading
could take place during the night to avoid congestion.
A: How do people fit into your plan?
B: Well firstly, nobody will have the right to own a private car. You will still be
able to rent a car for journeys between cities, but it will always be cheaper to take the
family on the train. There will be taxis to cross town, but it will naturally be more
economical to use bicycles and buses or to walk. Disabled people will be given taxi
vouchers and there will still be hospital cars driven by professionals.