Thursday, January 08, 2009

Main line misery

As you know, I don't buy into the anthropogenic global warming fantasy and I particularly disagree with the idea that we need to virtually disable our economy to deal with it. One of the most idiotic moves in my opinion is the idea that we should use electrically powered trains on our railways.

First of all, there is the obvious matter of the fact that the electricity used to power these trains has to come from somewhere, but my other criticism of it - which I have made previously - is that, although it might just about be acceptable in urban areas, once outside of the cities electrified railways are incredibly hard to maintain - particularly overhead power cables which are susceptible to all sorts of damage and, consequently, failure. And this has been demonstrated this week.

The travel chaos was particularly harsh for Virgin passengers on the West Coast Main Line, who have been hit by a series of incidents over the last few days. The line was closed after a light plane crashed near the tracks near Stafford on Friday in an accident which claimed three lives.

Then overhead cable problems at Watford in Hertfordshire led to delays and cancellations on Sunday and Monday this week.

Just as the Watford incident was fixed, West Coast passengers had to put up with more delays yesterday following two overhead wire problems - one north of Rugby in the West Midlands, the other at Bletchley in Buckinghamshire.

Get used to it - because this will be increasingly common. Because of the nature of the repairs, it doesn't only affect electric powered trains either - self-powered trains are also affected by the ongoing repairs needed to the overhead power lines causing delays and cancellations.

This is just the latest debacle in what has become a pantomime farce of an industry - even before Beeching wiped a third of our network off the map with a stroke of his pen. There have been vast sums of public money spent on the railways since then and the service is no better now - and in many ways far worse - than it was in 1955.

I tend to think of the railways as something of a euphemism for Britain itself. Something that was once functional, successful, inspirational and aesthetically pleasing has been turned into a decrepit, broken and ugly shadow of its former self - and all in the name of "progress". The irony being that there has been no progress made whatsoever.

1 comment:

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