onsdag 27 augusti 2008

Settle and Carlisle railway revival

02-23 66544 Ais Gill 1
Originally uploaded by delticalco

Thirty years ago this main line was threatened with closure. It kept going, mainly through the efforts of local pressure groups who supported passenger services which provided a basic level of service through the lean years. A minimal repair programme was carried out, mostly to replace rotten wooden sleepers.

Then came the West Coast upgrade, when it became an important diversionary route, and then came the Pendolino, which left little room for freight trains. Now the line has filled up with heavy freight trains (above), mostly carrying imported coal from the West of Scotland to the Yorkshire power stations. New track is being laid and new modern signalling installed in a five year project costing nearly £80 million.

The moral of the story is to look well ahead and keep options open. Had the line been shut, the cost of reinstatement would have been far more and might not have been feasible at all.

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