HOWEVER appalling Yorkshire’s rail network becomes – and it has certainly plumbed the depths in the last year – there is one train line for whose continued operation we are eternally grateful.
It is exactly 30 years since the spectacular route from Settle to Carlisle, over the mighty Ribblehead Viaduct, was saved by the efforts of local campaigners and a few friends in high places – chief among whom was Michael Portillo, the then Transport Minister.
Their case was not just that the line was perhaps the most scenic in England but that it was an asset for the communities it passed.
Hindsight has proved them right. Quite apart from the benefits to tourism, we learn today that some 16,000 lorry journeys through the Dales have been avoided in the last three years alone because limestone can still be taken from the quarries of Upper Wharfedale by freight train.
Its success is a triumph of foresight. How many other lost lines, we wonder, could have been similarly saved.