of seeing the locomotive and coaches of the express train to London
from a provincial town. It's a powerful image. All through last year,
almost every morning I would see it at Chester Station and it was
truly a wonder that I never got on it anyway. Now, of course, I catch
it at least once a week.
Sometimes, when it is stupidly overcrowded, I'm not so sure, but it is
still a special event. Perhaps less so in some places. The Flying
Scotsman at noon from King's Cross, first stop Newcastle. Well, not
these days, but it does still leave at noon.
These are the magical rail services. The speed, the convenience, the
opportunity to snooze, read, have a snack or a drink and now the
environmental benefit over flying (long distance) or driving (short
distance) all add up to something very wonderful.
But why do governments of all political colours over so many years
spend so little on rail infrastructure. Even now, as oil prices rise
and demand increases, more is still being spent on roading by a great
many times. The time is now to turn round the evils of Beeching and
Thatcher and their woeful and arrogant short-sightedness and invest
heavily in railways. Improvements and new lines in Britain are
urgently needed for passenger and freight traffic. You know it makes