Thursday, October 18, 2007

When will we let the train take the strain...?

How about a blog in support of those excellent citizens who are campaigning to reopen Littleworth Halt at Deeping St Nicholas on the criminally neglected Peterborough-Spalding train line?

This was the request I received from Brynley earlier this week as a comment on one of my posts. I had to confess I'd totally missed the story about the campaign to reopen Littleworth Halt.

But thanks to another prod from Brynley, I've discovered the story HERE at the Lincs Free Press.

And I'm glad to give the campaign an airing.

Isn't it ridiculous that half-empty trains never stop at some of our larger villages, leaving would-be passengers to cope with ever busier roads as we create ever more commuter-dorms along the A16 and A15 roads.

A decade or so past, a few of us here in The Deepings campaigned - without success -to get our local rail station re-opened. It's one (non) stop on the same Peterborough-Spalding line as Deeping St Nick.

Unfortunately, the former St James Deeping station is rather remote, being a country mile from The Deepings. It's also on the 'wrong' side of the centre of population which doesn't help the case to get it reopened.

That didn't stop a bunch of rail enthusiasts dreaming up fancy drawings for new rails to be laid for a branch line to bring trains nearer The Deepings (I recall checking my diary at the time to see if it was the first day of April...)

But sadly, our efforts to even get the old St James Deeping halt reopened came to nought. The so-called experts said it would cost millions and would be an expensive white elephant.

Funny isn't it how traditionally, public money for public transport is 'subsidy' yet cash spent on laying tarmac is termed 'investment'...?

But I haven't given up on St James Deeping. It may be a slow-burner, but I believe it's an idea whose time will surely come.

At some point, ever-increasing road congestion will force affordable advances in technology to improve public transport - which will hopefully include increased use of our existing and neglected rail network.

Already in London, the new Docklands Light Railway carries millions of city-commuters from new unmanned stations on computer-controlled trains that don't even need a driver!

You may have to 'watch this space' for a while yet for the London experience to filter to rural Lincs.

But locally how long can we go on building hundreds more houses along the A15 and A16 corridors, creating more cars on the roads, with ever longer, more polluting journeys, and growing parking issues in Peterborough...?

Some day, surely the penny will drop...

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