Our Railroad Story in the UK
by Tony Haslam 2/15/13
Hollistonians may be interested in my report on British railway tracks falling into disrepair.
Way back in the 60's, March, 1963, to be exact, the British Railway Company (founded and funded by the British Government) amalgamated all the various railway companies covering the whole of the British Isles into one company. It was found to be losing £163M every year.
The Chairman of British Rail, a Dr Beeching was instructed to cut these losses which resulted in massive cuts right across the country ie, 2,128 stations were closed with a loss of over 67,000 jobs and many thousands of miles of track removed and sold as scrap to recoup losses. As a result these rail roads were left to decay and return to their wild state. Some survived, mainly those where some tracks were never removed and where purchased by railway enthusiasts, repaired and re-opened by volunteers to the public mainly in the summer which I'm pleased to report are returning profits. These savings are being re-invested into repairs of tracks and improving facilities.
However may others are being given a new life as public nature walks, cycle tracks and even omnibus routes. Such a track has been revived here in Chester, my home town and I'm pleased to say very successfully. I use it often to walk into Chester City as it is very direct with being rather straight. A walk which normally took 45 minutes via road now takes just 30 minutes, no stopping at road junctions, no waiting for traffic to pass, perfect. However there are other distractions: wild flowers, bees, wasps, dogs, cats, birds, butterflies, squirrels, mice, hedgehogs and others (humans: walking, cycling, running and the occasional horse to name a few).
On my particular stretch we have wood carvings on the tree trunks that were cut down to allow light in to encourage other growths.
I'm looking forward to walking the Holliston Rail Trail one day soon.
Your UK Correspondent!
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