So far, about twenty-thousand motorists have taken their cars today on to Britain's first high-speed highway - the M-One between London and Birmingham.
CUE: UNDER BRIDGE
WORDS START: "This motorway starts..."
ENDS: "...so great that senses may be numbed and judgments warped."
CUE: PEOPLE ON BRIDGE
CUE: COACH OUT
CUE: C.U. JONES
SEP MAG: "Wonderful journey Mr Banks..."
ENDS: "...no I didn't find it so no."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: So far, about twenty-thousand motorists have taken their cars today on to Britain's first high-speed highway - the M-One between London and Birmingham. Most of them had an easy journey.
The M-One was opened twelve hours ago by the Minister of Transport, Mr Marples.
Mr Marples watched the first of the traffic go by, and on the basis of what he saw he said at a luncheon later that he was appalled at the speeds of some of the cars. He'd never seen anyone going so fast.
Menace on the M-One. The Minister of Transport, Mr Marples, has said he was appalled at the speeds of some of the first cars travelling on the London-to-Birmingham Motorway. "Remember" - he said - "that speed is not enough - the tragic death of Mike Hawthorne showed that...". Mr Marples was speaking at a luncheon after this morning's opening of the motorway.
The A.A. said that although the first cars had gone flat out, motorists soon settled down to an average of sixty. Mr Marples had made his observations soon after he'd opened the M-One, at a point south of Luton where work on the road had begun nineteen months ago. Soon after the ceremony, the first of the vehicles which had been waiting at the Southern end of the roadway, started on the journey north.
In the first two hours, there-thousand vehicles used the road...
Mr. Marples also said some driers had been ignoring "the rules and regulations." But an A.A. spokesman thought the Minister had been too hasty. He agreed that the first cars on the road had gone flat out, but he said motorists soon settled down to an average of a safe sixty miles an hour.
The speed soon told on some vehicles. This one developed big end trouble; another lost its engine altogether.
This one pulled up on to the verge and got into difficulty. (ONE SECOND PAUSE). So far breakdown calls on the M-One today have averaged one every eight minutes.
Special high-speed coaches have been put into service to get the best out of the motorway, and our reporter was among the passengers travelling on one of them from Birmingham to London.
At the wheel was a driver of thirty years experience, fifty-four year old Albert Banks. He had no difficulty in keeping to the schedule; Without previous experience of motorways this had been set at nearly three-and-a-half hours, compared with the old five hours, twenty minutes. But in fact the coach, cruising at seventy miles an hour, reached London in two hours fifty-one minutes.
Christopher Jones, our reporter, was able when they finally pulled into Victoria coach station to congratulate the driver on taking only forty minutes longer than the railway's best time.
This was one of two coaches that - cruising at seventy - got from Birmingham to London in two hours fifty-one minutes.
A spotter aircraft was on the lookout for the breakdowns...about one every eight minutes. This one had big-end trouble.