New TV Series
We all enjoyed Wainwright Walks, didn't we? Well, Julia Bradbury is back with a series exploring disused train tracks of Britain's lost rail empire.
Started tonight on BBC4. If (like me) you've missed the first episode - not to worry, it's on again tonight at 11:55.
And for all of you rail enthusiasts there is Ian Hislop Goes Off The Rails (on now and repeated later tonight) and Great Rail Journeys with Victoria Wood at 10 p.m.
All aboard! (whooo, whooo )
I think I will watch the 11:55 version.
A couple of paths I have walked follow old railway lines. The Gritstone Trail and the Speyside way both pass through preserved stations. (One on the Gritstone trail is now the beer garden of a pub but the platform is still there).
edited to say - why are the pictures not apearing where I put them?
Just watched the first episode, an enjoyable journey through the Derbyshire countryside.
Saw the Ian Hislop program earlier and was amazed at the amount of railway lines that were closed down after the Beeching report, does anyone else yearn for a by-gone age when you could travel anywhere and everywhere by train? the motor-car certainly has a lot to answer for.
[Lovely Pics, Richard ]
Next Thursday at 20:30 the second program in the series is from the Mawddach estuary in North Wales, should be a nice journey down to the coast at Barmouth.
Later that night there is a Hitchcock mystery with a railway theme entitled "The Lady Vanishes," and also a ghost story called "The Signalman," I think I've seen that before - well worth watching again though.
Wanderlust, yes I do sort of get that yearning, and when travelling by train often notice where old lines used to split off. It is also interesting to see where lines went and now traffic gluts fill the area, too. It is easy to see things with rose tinted specs, though, and a lot of the infrastructure at the time was just too expensive and poorly used to be sustained; the sadness was the ways in which rules were bent to deliberately go out of the way to ensure lines were closed - for example taking censuses during local holidays and the such.
I have all Thursday's stuff on the PVR and have watched the Hindsight interview with Dr Beeching as well as the first of the Railway walks. The Hindsight was actually very interesting, and Dr Beeching really stood his ground; the interesting element is that while all of the Beeching report didn't happen, that also went for the proposed replacement bus services.... and that is what really left people in the lurch out in the countryside areas.
The Railway walks episode was good, but it is inevitable that it will be tinged with slight sadness, especially when such a once important line is closed. One element I thought they could try and bring out more is the fact that not only were lines closed - the line itself was pulled up and the land sold off, ruining a right of way for the future.
As a child of the steam age, and with parents who never drove a car in their lives, and having travelled everywhere by train in my childhood. ( Including annual holidays to relatives in Somerset on what is now the preserved West Somerset railway) I regret the passing of the "Age of the train!" (Thanks Jimmy Saville!)
It must be realised though that in public ownership, the railways operated at an annual loss and were heavily subsidised by the UK tax payer. It was against this backdrop that the then Tory administration commissioned Beeching to axe this loss making "burden" on those who could afford their own cars. Remember that in my South Wales mining upbringing, owning a car was a very rare thing!
With the greatest will in the world, the nationalised railways were never going to survive, and especially now that the whole system is in private hands, private companies do not make a habit of running loss making ventures!
The beauty of walking/cycling those old lines that are still extant is that they run though some lovely scenery and are relatively easy walking too. That s where the land hasn't been sold into private hands and where the bridges over rivers still exist!
cysgod-du (Grand Slam 2008) wrote (see)
It must be realised though that in public ownership, the railways operated at an annual loss and were heavily subsidised by the UK tax payer.
As opposed to how it is now................
now that the whole system is in private hands, private companies do not make a habit of running loss making ventures!
......no, they make sure we taxpayers continue to foot the bill, so we subsidise the railways by an eyewatering £4.5 billion per year - a fortune compared with the subsidy granted to British Railways before Beeching took his axe to it.
Ah yes, but the Tories don't mind bailing out shareholders who tend to vote for them, but for nationalised industries, gawd perish the thought!
The rot started with witch thatcher and was carried through by those idiots who followed her, no nationalised industry left now, and they could never re-nationalise the railways now, the compensation to those shareholders would be astronomical!
Open or closed, I'd probably still watch it with a gorgeous lassie like Julia striding along them.
Subsidies? I think you'll find that all the rail nations whose systems we so admire, Swiss, French, German, Japanese et al , heavily subsidise them, taking the attitude that they are a necessary component of their society. But they are never a cheap way of travel. Cheap travel for the masses is a very recent phenomenon and one that is rapidly vanishing. Travel has always been the prerogative of the wealthy and it looks as though we're reverting to that situation.
Sadly our parliamentary system of blithering left wing idiots on one hand opposed by red in tooth and claw Thatcherites on the other means we can never get a stable long term transport plan in place. Going back to nationalised industry would simply mean another enormous bureaucracy established to run it. Does anyone seriously think if we re-established, say, a nationalised steel industry it could compete world wide? I've yet to see any human activity made more efficient by putting in a layer of civil servants. I have a deal of experience of dealing with certain de-nationalised industry and dealing with the relics of that system, and there are still quite a few in place, can be very difficult.
While nationalised, they never got into trouble for doing nothing; change is anathema to them; it can get you into trouble. The fact is, the nationalised railways were grossly inefficient, with no incentive to improve and due for destruction. We're just lucky there's so much left that could still be massively improved with subsidies that improved the system rather than Branson's pocket.
On a lighter note, the closure of the Edinburgh - Balerno line meant the opening up of the railway wa's, that famous toughening ground for the fingers of Haston, Moriarty, Marshall and a generation of Currie lads. Sadly it's overgrown with weeds now and being over three metres high requires scaffolding if climbed on.
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