Off the cuff on the rails

Steven TurnerThe train is now in Newcastle station and I see on the carriage opposite that I am on the Route of the Flying Scotsman. Around 100 years ago (i would need to check the exact date) the London and North Eastern Railway introduced a train that covered the 362 miles from London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley in 5 1/2 hours non-stop. Obviously no engineering works or leaves on the line in those days, then!

Harking back to the Flying Scotsman invokes the image of romantic steam trains. (By the way: this is a Mallard 225 service. The Mallard was a record breaking steam train on the same route as the Flying Scotsman. The 225 is the alleged cruising speed of the current electric train – 225 kph. This of course is a bit of hype since most Brits would normally work in miles per hour. But 175 is not so impressive) many people wonder why we don't have a modern FS since plenty of people want to make this journey. I suppose the tracks are already too crowded.

That brings me nicely round to the Waverley line which used to run from Carlisle via Hawick to Edinburgh. There are plans to re-instate it as far as Tweedbank. But if Prime Minister Gordon Brown is keen to enhance rail travel and reduce bottlenecks, he could do worse than support the construction of a line through to Carlisle. It may even be possible to reduce some of the heavy goods traffic through the border towns at the same time. The Scottish Borders is already a travel destination for cyclists. This would undoubtedly improve if rail services were reinstated.

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About prophetable

My wife Elizabeth and I were commissioned as Officers (ministers) in The Salvation Army in 1997, and have served in appointments in England and Scotland. Since July 2016 I have been working in The Salvation Army's Scotland Office as combined parliamentary and ecumenical representative.
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