Economics of Railway Electrification
The essential feature of electric traction is the removal of power generation from the train to a stationary power unit, and this fact is responsible for most of its economies and advantages. In Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and parts of France electrification has been due to geographical factors. In these mountainous regions coal supplies are lacking, but there is abundant water power, gradients are severe, and there are numerous tunnels. In 1929 a committee consisting of Lord Weir, Sir Ralph Wedgwood, and Sir William McLintock was appointed by the Minister of Transport to report on the economic and other aspects of railway electrification in Great Britain, with particular reference to main line working. The importance of the contribution of the Weir Committee Report lies in the fact that for the first time since a national supply of electricity became available a definite estimate has been given of the costs of general railway electrification and calculations have been presented for detailed criticism.