Among the replies to Dr Hirst's letter was one from a certain Mr Alan Langley and, in the grand old Middlewich Rail Link Campaign tradition, we couldn't resist replying. - Ed
HS2 WILL BRING IN THE REVENUE (DR HIRST'S ORIGINAL LETTER)
From Alan Langley:
|Virgin Train taking advantage of the ballast. PHOTO: GLEN LEIGH|
This photograph is copyright and cannot be used without the photographer's permission
I'm a little confused by the part of Mr Langley's letter which refers to the Middlewich Branch Line.
He 'suspects' that Dr Hirst is 'unaware' that the Branch line 'had to be constantly re-ballasted just to maintain it for freight use'.
I can tell you that Dr Hirst, like any intelligent person, is aware that the Middlewich line, like every other railway line, has to be re-ballasted from time to time.
Mr Langley's use of the word 'constantly' is very misleading, conjuring up as it does visions of gallant teams of platelayers furiously battling to keep the line open and re-ballasting away like Trojans in a race against time.
The more prosaic truth is that, like every other railway line, the Middlewich Branch is re-ballasted as and when necessary.
And it is not being maintained just for freight use, either. It's an integral part of the West Coast Main Line and is maintained to a very high standard for the use of diverted passenger trains.
Mr Langley's reference to the Flying Scotsman is also puzzling.
For his information, regular steam traction ceased on the network in 1968, so what relevance this iconic loco has to the discussion of HS2 is anybody's guess.
And, far be it from me to accuse anyone of a basic 'schoolboy error', but surely any schoolboy (even today) knows that the speed record for steam traction is held by Mallard'and not the Scotsman?
I can assure Mr Langley and the other 'anti-HS2' correspondents in your pages that Dr Hirst is a very intelligent man, and very thorough in his research.
I am not going to enter into this particular bear-pit, but I too have read all the arguments for and against HS2.
Wild horses, however, wouldn't drag my opinion from me at this stage.
Dave Roberts, Chairman, Middlewich Rail Link Campaign.
With many thanks to the