LETTER: Stage training

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The Independent Online
From Mr Ian Dickins

Sir: Has anyone noticed the historical irony in the award of the franchise for South West Trains to the bus company Stagecoach? The first chairman of the London and South Western Railway, the original "south west trains" was William Chaplin, of the firm of Chaplin and Horne who were well-known London operators of - stagecoaches!

Chaplin was invited to put his knowledge of the road transport industry at the service of the railway. Realising that the railways would be the death of his coaching business, he persuaded his partner Horne that they should sell nearly all their coaching stock and invest the proceeds in the new form of transport. A risky, but in the end a wise decision. I hope his successors in Stagecoach have the same quality of guts and vision for their South West Trains.

Yours faithfully,

Ian Dickins

Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands