Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
The following is offered as a discussion paper - it's come from Nick Howes of Shillingstone. I've not amended it in any way and I'd appreciate everyone's views on every aspect of it!
For there to be any hope of a new railway age, the following points need to be grasped and action taken by the people of Britain:
Rail is a dirty word with public and council transport / planning bodies
Interfering from government bodies and ministers means– short term, political gain
Short term franchises - no incentive for long term planning or growth – old stock simply being replaced, numbers remain the same, overcrowding still rife. Instead of investing in new stock, fares go up to deliberately try and keep passenger numbers at bay with the seats available.
Wasted millions in rebranding rolling stock, uniforms etc
Total lack of bridge maintenance, limited ineffective vegetation management and weed killing, again hands tied by meddlers
Franchise bodies with a conflict of interests, often bus/coach companies stopping stations or services reopening because it goes against the other mode of transport or takes minutes off pathing, where a double or single track station stop would affect an express.
Cycle bodies, supposed guardians of trackbed being allowed to meddle with the trackbed or bridges for access and then the public up in arms when a railway path is proposed for rail reopening.
N.I.M.B.Y.S….. face it people, just don’t but a house near any disused or operating railway, diesel, electric or steam powered in the first place.
Conflict of interest - one half of network rail trying to undo the 40 year maintenance backlog and provide for growth, whilst another half of network rail has the remit of selling off every last currently unused or disused parcel of land for development, prohibiting physical growth of the network, stations or other buildings by the blocking of sidings going back in, single lines redoubled, double tracks re-quadrupled.
Engineering works - slewing of single tracks down the alignment of former double beds, signalling runs etc making expansion prohibitively difficult.
Switch and crossing and remodelling works often to the detriment of sidings, loops etc which don’t get replaced, are then ripped up and said land sold off, overgrown, fenced off etc, further decreasing capacity for passenger and freight, loco, coach or wagon stabling.
Consultants wasting millions telling the people on the ground how to do something, the result being that a good slice of a projects budget goes down the pan before any ground work is done, basically paying someone a lot of money to tell you a job will be too costly for the gain returned and that there isn’t the money; (simple don’t pay these consultants do the job and take on the risk in house! What risk? Any track reinstatement can only benefit everyone time and again!)
Mass early retirement and resignation of loyal railway staff over last 40 years being replaced by anti rail university boys with no interest in the job of running a railway service for the passengers of Britain.
The continued selling off of disused railway trackbed on the basis that it will never ever be used again and is just another brown field site to make a few bucks out of for infill, housing or industrial development. Backhanders to developers.
The insistence, that despite 65 years under investment and meddling, the notion that the railways should be made to pay for themselves as a commercial business and the insistence that the government subsidy should be reduced. This is the worst folly of all, how can the railway expand at all if the subsidy is planned to be gradually reduced? It can only sit still and go downhill even more.
The entire UK new road building programme must be stopped now and the entire multi billion fund ploughed back into restoring the entire railway network of 65 years ago and more, by compulsory purchase and massive investment, controlled purely by determined railwaymen with vision and drive to clean up the nation and get this country back on the move.
The age of the car and 44 ton lorry is over
Every village and town must be connected to the railway.