YP Letters: Irony of HS2 filling gaps of Beeching cuts

From: David Howram, Lady Heton Drive, Mirfield.

A reader has pointed out the irony of HS2 requiring homes to be demolished when the Beeching cuts allowed houses to be built on disused railway lines.
A reader has pointed out the irony of HS2 requiring homes to be demolished when the Beeching cuts allowed houses to be built on disused railway lines.

I SYMPATHISE with Rosemary Nattriss and her husband (The Yorkshire Post, October 16) after they received notice from HS2 that their house was to be demolished to make way for the new track.

I appreciate that the new HS2 railway will provide many benefits. However it does seem rather ironic that some 55 years ago a railway network was scrapped by the government of the day after receiving a commissioned report from the then British Rail chairman Dr Richard Beeching.

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An entire national branch line and semi-main line network was made redundant and subsequently lost. The Beeching report claimed the network was not profitable and subsequently the affected infrastructure was sold to the private sector and in many places houses were built on the old railway land.

Dr Richard Beeching with his report, in 1963, that led to the closure of railway lines.

In just one local instance regarding this past government policy, down the road here where I live in Mirfield there was a railway station at Battyeford, where the “Leeds New Line” branched off from the main trans-Pennine route. The line ran for 13 miles through the Spen Valley, up to Gildersome and re-joined the main line at Wortley in Leeds.

The building cost of this “New Line” – including all civil engineering and compensation costs – was less than £1m in 1902 when it was completed. The benefits of the expansion to both the London & North Western Railway Company (then owner of the trans-Pennine route) and the subsequent improvement to public service was obvious.

Unfortunately the line was closed to all traffic in the 1960s as part of the aforementioned Beeching Plan. Slowly, but surely, the infrastructure was sold off for various private housing and industrial development schemes.

Before the Beeching cuts were implemented, there was no such thing as the inconvenience of bus transportations during periods of necessary railway track engineering work. The networks of branch lines throughout the country were used for diversions of the main line express trains with minimal inconvenience for the passengers.

It seems obvious and apparent to me that governments have not acted in the long-term public interest, they seem to adopt a short-term money-saving approach. There we were half a century ago with the government of the day selling off publicly-owned railway infrastructure, where house building has since taken place on a grand scale.

Then here we are, conversely, in the 21st century with the Government of this day compulsorily purchasing private land to build a new railway. I do not think the victims of these HS2 compulsory purchase orders would like to call this progress.

Brexit already hits elderly

From: John Turley, Dronfield Woodhouse.

BREXITEERS like R Hartley (The Yorkshire Post, October 12) and others, including John King (October 8), still choose to cling to the delusion that Britain will be better off financially after we leave the EU when all the evidence is now to the contrary.

Ironically the generation that most solidly voted for Brexit (over 65s which, incidentally, includes me), is one which could end up losing the most, as anyone who has retired recently with significant savings and investments, or a Stock Market-based pension, is already losing out due to lower interest rates, and a more depressed Stock Market, compared to what would have been the case if Britain had chosen to stay in the EU.

Furthermore this state of affairs is more likely than not to continue after Brexit, maybe a price worth paying to some, but not to others.

From: Raymond Barry, Long Lane, Laytham, York.

I OFTEN wonder what kind of deals have been struck between Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Liechtenstein?

As a regular visitor to Switzerland and Italy over last 40 years, I can recall many amusing anecdotes told to me about the ‘cheese police’ inspecting cars going from Italy into Switzerland on Monday mornings.

Further, the ‘meat police’ inspecting any car suspected of carrying meat when entering Switzerland from France at the weekends. Border posts manned by a couple of bored-looking Swiss policemen.

Of course, such imports, if magnified to free trade, would destroy the Swiss agricultural economy overnight, with their two or three cow ‘farms’ producing hyper-expensive cheese – which I love.

From: Graham Hill, Oulton, Rothwell.

ALL this deal or no deal stuff has gone on long enough. Stand up for freedom and say to the EU that we don’t want to be in your bully-boy gang if you have no values or common respect (Bernard Ingham, The Yorkshire Post, October 17).

So let’s proudly gather to show our children and grandchildren that bullies who create gangs, and try to impose their will with threats, will never be allowed to win. No matter what the cost.

County or country?

From: Ian Smith, Bradford.

I’VE always thought Yorkshire to be ‘God’s own county’, but we’re occasionally referred to as being in ‘God’s own country’ – coined, I suspect, by non-Tykes, filmmakers and dramatists.

Will someone please advise, and so help to definitively decide our county’s rightful status in this world and in heaven?

Best of luck to Scudamores

From: Thomas Reed, Harrogate.

WHAT a joy to read the feature (The Yorkshire Post, October 17) and about racing’s Scudamore family, their successes and, more importantly, their values and appreciation of their forebears. I wish them all the luck for the current National Hunt season.