Episode 20

‘Reversing Beeching’: Anything achieved?

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Episode Overview

Richard talks about his visit to Wales & Borders with Nick Millington MBE, Route Director at Network Rail and finds out about lagoons, climate models and vegetation control. In particular Richard is amazed at the complex multi-agency approach to securing ecology licences and concludes, perhaps controversially, that it’s time to let Network Rail self certify. After all, they can do it with safety critical matters so why not when it comes to clearing dying or dead Ash trees?

Nigel and Richard then discuss Richard Beeching’s famous report of the 1960s and in particular, the Government’s proposals, announced four years ago, to reopen lines and stations closed by Beeching through the Restoring Your Railway fund. We ask whether it has achieved anything (and the conclusion is very little) but then Nigel really sets Richard’s “Victor Meldrew” going by talking about the Borders Railway to Carlisle and the possible reopening of the Peak District line through Bakewell and Monsal Dale.

Along the way Nigel & Richard discuss how to decide whether something is strategic (they have a different view), what Confirmation Bias means (and why it’s an issue) and how on earth anything is going to happen when the cost for a new station at Devizes alone was looking like it could hit £65m!