Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Monday, August 28, 2006
Heritage Railway leads with a rather downbeat editorial this month, concluding 'Many marvels have been accomplished by the heritage movement. Maybe it is time to take a breather, rest on our laurels and reinforce what has been achieved by a period of consolidation and contemplation.' This is reaction to the reopening of the Weardale Railway.
Sorry, but the time will NEVER come when we can rest on our laurels. There are still huge swathes of the country that are devoid of real railways, that is forward-looking private lines that are looking to the future - a car-less future - as a challenge to start meeting NOW. At no point does the editorial mention Peak Oil or climate change, as if heritage railways exist purely to transport tourists from one tourist spot to another! True, for most of us, that is our function today, but does anyone with a brain in the heritage movement think that that is the be-all and end-all of what we're doing? I certainly hope not!
Surely we restore railways because first and foremost we regard them as a superior form of transport, efficient, environment-friendly, human sized and atmospheric? The world is now changing so that our agenda will soon become that of everybody, or at least everybody that wants some semblance of civilization to continue into the solar future.
Not only should we not rest on our laurels, but we should be constantly pushing our agenda to give as many people as possible the right to a functioning railway when the oil runs out. We should be doubling our efforts and restoring hundreds of miles of track each year. We'll regret it if we don't!