Former Glory

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?


  1. Sounds similar to what happened in LA many years ago. They had a gteat inter-urban train system that (from what I know) was very popular and efficient. When the auto industry came to town they pushed personal transportation via “buy a car” slogans. Eventually, ridership dropped off, track right away property was sold. Now…people are clamoring to bring it back. Never learn do we?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Must admit I’m not sure what caused the decline here. Certainly the car was gaining ground but I’m not sure that the two timescales match up. It’s ironic really because while we don’t have much railway, we do have roads, although their state is variable. But if we are talking about getting people back onto public transport, the start point as to be buses.


  2. The Leeds – York line (Harrogate route) runs under my village in the long Arthington tunnel, and the nearest station for me is four miles away. Planning permission has been given for a detour of the line to a new station just west of the airport. For me it’s good news because then I’ll have only two miles drive to catch the train! Assuming I’m still around – who knows how long it will take to come to fruition!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I dunno the impact of you, but I for one would love to see a return to rail transport, provided of course they can keep it more than competitive with the %$&^$%&%^ airlines. Um, ah, man does not live by limerick alone. Coool write, dewd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think electric rail can be the cleanest form of transport, depending on where the electricity comes from. But I fear we chose road over rail a long time ago. As for air, is wearing a masdk has people up in arms about theit liberty, it seems impossible that people fly less. But that is what needs to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s decent public transit in the Bay Area with the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) trains, but ridership is way down due to the pandemic and BART has lost millions of dollars over the past year.


    • Here, the only really good public transport is in London, where it has reached this critical mass. Elsewhere there was a lot of privatisation which generally had the effect that only those services considered profitable remained. That is an approximation, but pretty accurate.

      I’m not quite sure what happened during covid. Certainly, they kept the services running, but of course, hardly any passengers, so they must have lost money hand over fist. Now, these are private companies so somebody must have been paying them to keep things going.

      Liked by 1 person

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