Who's to blame? The trail of responsibility goes beyond poor maintenance of British railways, say industry critics. Stingy governments--both Labor and Tory--have cut down on investments in trains and rails. In the mid-1990s a Conservative government pushed through the sale of the entire subsidy-guzzling rail network. Operating franchises were parceled out among private companies and a separate firm, Railtrack, was awarded ownership of the tracks and stations. In the future, the theory ran back then, the private sector could pay for any improvements--with a little help from the state--and take the blame for any failings.
Today surveys show that travelers believe privatization is one of the reasons for the railways's failures. They ask whether the pursuit of profits is compatible with guaranteeing safety. Worse, split-ting the network between companies has made coordination nearly impossible. "The railway was torn apart at privatization and the structure that was put in place was...designed, if we are honest, to maximize the proceeds to the Treasury," said Railtrack boss Gerald Corbett before resigning last month in the wake of the Hatfield crash.
Generally, the contrasts with mainland Europe are stark. Over the past few decades the Germans, French and Italians have invested 50 percent more than the British in transportation infrastructure. Asa result, a web of high-speed trains now crisscross the Continent, funded by governments willing to commit state funds to major capital projects. Spain is currently planning 1,000 miles of new high-speed track. In France superfast trains already shuttle between all major cities, often on dedicated lines. And in Britain? When the Eurostar trains that link Pads, London and Brussels emerge from the Channel Tunnel onto British soil and join the crowded local network, they must slow down from 186 mph to a maximum of 100 mph--and they usually have to go even slower.
For once, the government is listening. After all, commuters are voters, too. In a pre-vote spending spree, the government has committed itself to huge investment in transportation, as well as education and the public health service. Over the next 10 years; the railways should get an extra~60 billion, partly through higher subsidies to the private companies. As Blair acknowledged last month, "Britain has been underinvested in and investment is central to Britain's future. " You don't have to tell the 3 million passengers who use the railways every day. Last week trains to Darlington were an hour late--and crawling at Locomotion No. 1 speeds.
In the first paragraph, the author tries to
A．trace the tragedy to its defective origin.
B．remind people of Britain's glorious past.
C．explain the failure of Britain's rail network.
D．call for impartiality in assessing the situation.
Travelers now believe that the root cause for failures of British railway is
A．the pursuit of profit.
B．its inefficient network.
C．the lack of safety guarantees.
D．the lack of safety guarantees.
According to Gerald Corbett, British railway is structured
A．for the benefit of commuters.
B．to the advantage of the govemment.
C．for the effect of better coordination.
D．as a replacement of the private system.
Comparing British railway with those of Europe, the author thinks
A．trains in Britain can run at 100 mph at least.
B．Britain should build more express lines.
C．rails in Britain need further privatization.
D．British railway is left a long way behind.
What does the author think of Blair's acknowledgement?
A．It's too late to improve the situation quickly enough.
B．It's a welcomed declaration of commitment.
C．Blair should preach it to other travelers.
D．Empty words can't solve the problem.参考译文
C【精析】该题为细节题。在段中，作者回顾了英国铁路的现状产生的根源，即铁路的私有化。根据段、二句“Who is to blame? The trail of responsibility goes beyond poor maintenance of British railways，say industry critics．”可知，英国铁路系统不健全，铁路速度慢的原因不只在于英国铁路的养护不善。下文对其原因作出了具体的解释，故选C。
B【精析】该题为细节题。文章第二段分析了英国铁路失败的原因。根据第二段第二句：“They ask whether the pursuit of profits is compatible with guaranteeing safety．”以及第二段后一句“The railway was torn apart at privatization and the structure that was put in place was．．．designed，if we are honest．to maximize the proceeds to the Treasury…”可知，英国国家为了追求财政的扩大，而缩减了铁路上的补贴，为了金钱利益而忽略了铁路安全保障，所以乘客认为铁路失败的根本原因在于利益的追求，故选B。
B【精析】该题为细节题。文章第二段后一句提到杰拉尔·德科贝特说的话“The railway Was torn apart at privatization and the structure that was put in place was．．．designed，if we are honest，to maximize the proceeds to the Treasury…”，意思是“铁路系统因为私有化而四分五裂，老实说，铁路结构的设计是基于化地增加财政收入”，由此可知杰拉尔．德科贝特认为英国的铁路结构是建立在政府受益的基础之上的，故选B。
D【精析】该题为细节题。第三段句“Generally，the contrasts with mainland Europe are stark．”通常，英国铁路与欧洲大陆铁路的对比很明显。说明作者认为英国铁路和欧洲相比还差很多。A选项和B选项并不是作者的态度，C选项与作者态度相反，作者一直讲铁路私有化导致了现在英国铁路的失败，所以不可能需要进一步的私有化，故选D。
D 【精析】该题为细节题。后一段倒数第三句，布莱尔说：“英国投资不足，而投资是英国未来的关键。”后一段的后两句表明了作者对布莱尔所说话的态度，“You don’t have to tell the 3 million passengers who use the railways every day．Last week trains to Darlington were all hour late—and crawling at Locomotion speeds．”意思是：“你不必把这些话告诉300万每天坐火车的乘客。上周，去达灵顿的火车晚点了—个小时——以‘行进速度’缓慢爬行。”因此，作者认为布莱尔只是说空话、喊口号，解决不了问题，故选D。