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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 2 (May 1, 1934.)


The most extensive suburban electric railway system in the world is that of the Southern Railway of England. Following the conversion to electric traction of the majority of the suburban tracks in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, the Southern authorities some time ago set about the electrification of the throughout main-line between London and Brighton and Worthing. This enterprise has met with exceptional success, and as a consequence there have now been put in hand further main-line electrifications, which will add an additional sixty route miles to the Company's electric lines.

The main-lines now being electrified are those from Brighton and Wivelsfield to Eastbourne and Hastings. These tracks skirt the Channel Coast, and during the summer months handle an enormous holiday traffic. With the electrification of the Brighton-Eastbourne-Hastings route, the Southern will have a total electrified route mileage of 442, and a track mileage of 1,146. Train services will be immensely improved, and train mileage will be increased from the present total, with steam, of 1,688,820 miles, to 2,446,548 electric train-miles, an advance of forty-five per cent. Marked speeding-up of passenger trains will also be witnessed. The LondonHastings run will be cut by thirteen minutes, and the London-Eastbourne journey by eleven minutes. Special rolling-stock, consisting of seventeen six-car units, five four-car units, and eighteen three-car units, will be employed. These units will be run in the express services to and from London, and are additional to the stock which will be utilised for stopping services.

In speeding-up passenger movement between the metropolis and the south coast, the Southern authorities are in harmony with the general policy of railways throughout the world to give faster and more frequent service to the public. In Europe accelerations are everywhere the order of the day, and practically every European line has one trunk route at least where really high speeds are recorded daily. Among speed routes of note are the SwindonLondon tracks of the Great Western, and the York-Darlington line of the London and North Eastern. Across the Channel, the Northern Company of France operates praiseworthy passenger flights between Paris and Calais, Paris and Liege, and Paris and Brussels. Another railway speedway is the Paris Dijon track of the P.L.M. system.