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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.ln the mid-1990s a Conservative government pushed through the sale of the entire subsidy-guzzling rail network. Operating franchises were parceled out among private comparues 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, splitting the network between companies has made coordination nearly impossible. "The railway was tom 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. As a 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 l,000 miles of new high- speed track.ln France superfast trains already shuttle between all major cities, often on dedicated lines. And in Britain? When the Eurostar trains that link Paris, 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 govemment 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 ackoowledged 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.l speeds.

51. In the first paragraph, the author tries to

[ A] trace the tragedy to its defective origin.

[ B] remind people of Britain's glonous past.

[ C] explain the failure of Britain's rail network.

[ D] call for impartiality in assessing the situation.

  • 听力原文: It has been reported that in colleges across the United States, the daytime serial drama known as the soap opera has suddenly become "in". Between the hours of 11 a. m. and 4:30 p. m. , college television lounges are filled with soap opera fans who can't wait to see the next episode in the lives of their favorite characters.

    Actually, soaps are more than a college favorite; they are a youth favorite. When school is out, high school students are in front of their TV sets. One young working woman admitted that she turned down a higher paying job rather than give up her favorite serials. During the 1960s, it was uncommon for young people to watch soap operas. The mood of the sixties was rather different from now. It was a time of seriousness, and talk was about social issues of great importance.

    Now, seriousness has been replaced by fun. Young people wanted to be happy. It may seem strange that they may turn to soap opera, which is known for showing trouble in people's lives, but soap opera is enjoyment. Young people can identify with the soap opera character, who like the college-age viewer, is looking for happy love, and probably not finding it. And soap opera gives young people a chance to feel close to people without having to bear any responsibility for their problems.

    What is soap opera?

    A.Plays based on science fiction stories.

    B.Plays based on non-fiction stories.

    C.The daytime serial dramas on TV.

    D.Popular documentary films on TV.

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  • An interesting theory in economics is demonstrated by the Head Man of a small mountain tribe. It seems that this tribe was very good at making straw mats that had great sales potential in the【C1】______market. The representative of an American company【C2】______to visit the tribe and【C3】______to make a good business deal. He【C4】______to the Head Man and【C5】______that his company would like to【C6】______several thousand pieces. Undoubtedly, he said, the business【C7】______would be profitable to the【C8】______. After some thought the Head Man【C9】______, but announced that the price per【C10】______would be higher on such a【C11】______order than it would be if【C12】______a small order were placed. The representative was【C13】______than a little shocked【C14】______the business sense of the Head Man【C15】______insisted that the price should be【C16】______because of the large volume, and【C17】______not higher. "No, "replied the Head of the tribe【C18】______. "But why not?" asked the American. "Because【C19】______is so tiresome to make the【C20】______article over and over, "answered the Head Man.






  • Music is an important way of expressing people's feelings and emotions. The【C1】______, for instance, from 1960 to 1969 will be【C2】______by many people as a period of social and political unrest in America.【C3】______this time, many people despaired【C4】______the music favored by the American teenagers.【C5】______, we must now admit that the music they loved was【C6】______a sign of the period and a【C7】______of the tensions and changes that were【C8】______American society. In the early sixties,【C9】______about social justice and equality were【C10】______by the song "Blowing in the Wind" which【C11】______the civil rights song "We Shall Overcome". The conflict concerning military【C12】______in Vietnam was sung about in 1965 in the【C13】______song "Eve of Destruction" and in the song "Ballad of the Green Beret". A few years【C14】______, a gradual shift in mood became【C15】______in one of the most popular songs which suggested calmer questions and possible answers even as some pop stars protested loudly【C16】______the draft. Finally, music as a【C17】______of the political and social process in America was highlighted at Woodstock, New York, where half of a million young people came【C18】______in 1969 to spend three days listening to songs that spanned the decade. This event was a symbol of the desire for【C19】______within a time of unrest. Woodstock was a【C20】______of hope in days of rage.