inspired by Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC) of 19 March 2021, vestige.
They say, restore the railways,
I say, that would be hard,
My house was built in ’67,
Upon an old coal yard.
I walk down to the river,
Once bridged to span the gap,
No way to cross the river now,
Bridge melted down for scrap.
Next village had a station,
A bustled throng implied,
But platforms now stand silent,
There, someone now resides.
I’m sorry, this didn’t feel like a limerick day today.
The birthplace of the railway, they grew somewhat organically in the UK. As rail travel declined, however, the process of nationalisation effectively saved many of these railways from bankruptcy.
But even this takeover could not stop the rot, and the Sixties saw swingeing cuts, with many routes axed. Track, infrastructure was torn up, old stations sold off.
Today, well-meaning people, wanting to address the issue of getting people out of their cars, back onto public transport, somewhat naively suggest restoring the railways to their former glory. At the same time, they forget that this was real estate, and was mostly sold off in order to pay the bills. Especially in the south-east, where land commands a premium.
There must be thousands of people, like me, whose houses stand on former-railway property. With a housing shortage too, do they really want to be throwing people onto the streets?