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A new era on the railways; Views of the North.

IT is intriguing to note that Northumberland County Council is proposing to reopen the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne railway line. It would appear that the railways are coming into their own again.

There seems to be a renaissance of rail technology, a realisation that railways, one of the pinnacles of Victorian hi-tech, are the best landbased mover of bulk, be it of people or material, in both peace-time and war, yet devised and fit in with today's desire for environmentally friendly transport.

I well remember the Beeching programme of cuts, when large swaths of the railway system were excised. They were not financially viable so they were decimated, their place being taken by polluting road transport.

Today people are turning once again to the railway but there are widespread complaints about overcrowded trains and a marked shortage of rolling stock. Apparently more people are using the rails than at any time since the 1920s.

Can we look forward to the time once again, when it is "The Age of the Train" and "Let the Train take the Strain"? Can we foresee an era when today's highly polluting morning and evening rush hour is a thing of the past? Will we once more see "clean" electric trains and trolleybuses in Newcastle and light railways in our major cities? I hope so.

The railways, invented here in Britain have done to connect nation states internally and internationally than any other means of transport creating cities, towns, and industries and jobs in their wake.

Britons have built them all over the world, Asia, North and South America, Europe, Australasia and Africa.

Welcome back, Timothy Hackworth, Richard Trevithick, George and Robert Stephenson, your expertise is needed once more.

A great north-eastern invention is proving its worth once again.

JACK FLETCHER, Chopwell.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 1, 2014
Words:297
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