Strategic steam reserve
A Strategic steam reserve (SSR) is a collection of withdrawn
steam locomotives which is kept in working order for possible use in a national emergency. During the Cold Warseveral countries, including Swedenand the Soviet Union, kept SSRs.
Need for a SSR
Many European railways have a large mileage which is electrified. In the event of a war, or major natural disaster, electricity supplies could be disrupted and
electric locomotives would be unworkable. Diesel locomotives could also be at risk for two reasons:
# supplies of imported oil might be cut off,
# solid state components in diesel locomotives might be destroyed by the
electromagnetic pulse(EMP) from a nuclear weapon.
United Kingdom SSR
UKdid not officially have a SSR. The UK government did discuss the matter in the 1960s but decided against it. Possible reasons include:
# Britain has a smaller electrified mileage than most European countries,
# the first generation of British Railways diesel locomotives had no solid state components and would not have been vulnerable to EMP.
However, rumours persist that the UK did have a SSR at
RAF Rudloe Manor[http://www.willys-mb.co.uk/rudloe.htm] and photographs have been published purporting to show locomotives from the SSR at work [http://www.willys-mb.co.uk/strategic-reserve.htm] . The BBCradio programme "Punt PI" reported on the alleged SSR on 1 October 2008 [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/puntpi/pip/7p1d0/] .
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