Monday, 8 April 2013

Railway to Heaven

Readers of this blog will know that I never was a motorist. On the contrary, I (mis)-spent my teenage years raging at the lack of train track and rolling stock to the remoter areas of the Emerald Isle – weird in a country that sells itself as a tourist paradise. Decades later, I learned of the Beeching Report, trotted out on March 27, 1963, which led eventually to the axing of more than one third of rail services in the UK. Fast forward to March 30, 2013. The volunteer-led Swanage Railway has just reopened the Bournemouth to Swanage line, the occasion marked by running a train. By 2015, the company aims to run a regular train service on that line, using the £1.47 million grant that it has been given. There is much more detail in the Guardian article that inspired this piece. Right now, I am growing all misty-eyed for a time and place that never was; a land where unobtrusive railway tracks wound around steep mountains, allowing awestruck passengers to enjoy vistas of sheep grazing amid ancient, ruined castles and flowers growing around picture-pretty cottages. With the progress of Beeching in reverse, maybe that vision will happen yet.

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