YP Letters: Beeching’s flawed brief to rethink rail

Dr Richard Beeching with his report, in 1963, that led to the closure of railway lines.
Dr Richard Beeching with his report, in 1963, that led to the closure of railway lines.
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From: Arthur Quarmby, Mill Moor Road, Meltham.

I HAVE a little history relating to Dr Richard Beeching which may or may not be of interest.

In the late 1950s, I found myself working with Ernest Marples, then Minister of Transport, in his Eccleston Square apartment with its basement bar (the walls lined with the original newspaper cartoons under the then popular heading “Marples must go!”).

The Minister said to Dr Beeching: “Dick, I want you to imagine you are coming down to a Britain with no railways, and I want you to set out for me what ideal railway layout you would create.

“And then Dick I want you to look at the existing British railway system, and tell me how we can turn the latter into the former.”

I suppose there could be less imaginative briefs, but this one really did not work out too well, did it?

We must remember however that, in the 1950s, the railways were old hat, and the future lay with the exciting new system of motorways which the Minister was also masterminding.

No one at that time could have forecast the explosion in road transport which is now leading to the reconsideration of the railways.

From: Dave Haskell, Cardigan.

WILL the Conservative Party ever learn from history? They are unbelievably echoing similar mistakes that the Tories made back in 1961 when the then transport secretary, Ernest Marples, hired Dr Beeching to decimate the railways.

Thankfully, the Government has recognised what a monumental error it made back then in closing so many lines – not surprisingly, the Government is now seeing the wisdom in opening up new railway lines.

But what a myopic, restricted and idiotic scheme the HS2 project is – wasting billions of pounds when the money should be spent across the whole of the rail network whereby everyone benefits (Chloe Westley, The Yorkshire Post, December 5).

Home grown culture city

From: Alan Thornton, Leeds Project Manager, Helping Britain Blossom.

LIKE many, we are disappointed that it looks like Leeds can’t be the official European Capital of Culture, but we also share the sentiment of “let’s do it anyway”.

Leeds has a growing movement of 50+ community orchards. We hope that by 2023 that everyone in Leeds will be within half an hour’s walk of an orchard. Then we can justifiably call ourselves England’s first “orchard city”.

We can do this anyway without the permission or the support of the European Commission. These community venues will be great stages for hundreds of community events. The only difference will be they won’t have quite such an international audience.

From: Michael Meadowcroft, Waterloo Lane, Leeds.

THE Brexiteers are getting even more distant from reality. The convoluted attempt to blame the European Union for Leeds and other cities being excluded from bidding for the EU sponsored City of Culture 2023 is perverse (The Yorkshire Post, December 3).

The blame lies squarely with those who voted Leave. Did you not realise that being excluded from EU institutions follows Article 50 as night follows day?

The only culpability resting with the EU is the time it took to announce the inevitable, and the cities should be compensated for their interim costs.

All I can say to the Brexiteers is you ain’t see nothing yet! Another month or so, with further divisions in the Conservative ranks and no beneficial settlement in view, will slowly, but surely, unveil itself. Presumably it’s just what you voted for.

Dazzled in the dark

From: Canon Michael Storey, Healey Wood Road, Brighouse.

DRIVING in the dark seems to be getting harder every day. Recently I discussed this with a friend, who is a member of the Huddersfield Motor Traders Association.

We came to the conclusion that there are three causes of this. Firstly, both Calderdale and Kirklees Councils seem to have run out of white paint and so are not maintaining white lines.

Secondly, the white headlights fitted to all new cars make for too much dazzle, especially when the lights are not dipped. Thirdly, the dazzle is made worse on wet evenings – extra dazzle on the road surface and windscreen.

He thought that the EU sets standards for car headlights. Perhaps something could be done about this by the EU before we Brexit?

In slow lane once again

From: Martin J Phillips, Leeds.

I HAVE previously pointed out that while Leeds continues to introduce speed bumps, other major cities are removing them because of the increased pollution they cause.

Now Leeds are planning to introduce yet more 20 mph zones in the Weetwood area, despite the fact that other cities are removing these as national statistics have shown a 25 increase in accidents in 20mph zones.

I predicted this would happen. This is yet another example of how Leeds is lagging behind the rest of the country and its European counterparts.