Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
beauty in the built environment
Two (deliberately non railway) shots snapped as we drove through Barrow Gurney the other day. This is the view from alongside the road and it got me thinking why every bit of roadside isn't like this. Okay, it needs a bit of effort to maintain, but does it cost any more than the alternatives? If anything (using propagation) this would cost far less than a brick or even block wall.
My point? The S&D always seemed to fit so snugly into its environment. It actually enhanced the scene. Think of Midford. Imagine Midford with a motorway through it! The S&D made Midford an even more magical place than it was before the rails came (and after they left!)
My wider point is that we could, if we choose, make all our built environment attractive. I'm sure that once we no longer have oil we will have the time to make the places we live in artistic and attractive and on a human scale. Slums, high rises, shopping malls, ring roads and railway stations with bus shelters will all become things of the past. We will have made genuine progress.
This informs my view of the New S&D. That the stations should be in the classic style, staffed, with full facilities. That signalboxes and lineside buildings will be appropriate to the wider scene, and not knocked together with no aestetic considerations but just done on the cheap.
Rail has one other huge advantage over roads. On roads there is a constant stream of traffic and noise, but even the busiest railways have long stretches of calm between trains. Between the trains the careful blending of track, buildings and scenery is actually life enhancing.