What has happened to Englands forgotten stations?

Thanks for posting.

I too have done the same!

Some of the sites make me very sad seeing the disused railways though.

Hi everybody.
I would agree that it is sad to see stations such as Manchester Central now disused from their original railway station role. However, in many cases these “mainline stations” have been replaced by new or updated alternatives as in the case of Manchester Piccadilly which has excellent facilities for its users.

In the case of branch lines which came under the Beeching axe then sadly many of the stations have been demolished or in many cases as in West Country converted to restaurants, pubs or small business use along the many footpaths and cycleways that the lines have been converted to.

The above stated, I firmly believe that Doctor Beeching with his axe was without doubt the saviour of the British rail system. As someone who can remember the days of steam on the railways my thoughts are always of the dirt and filth that abounded in all British stations, trains which had virtually no one on them and a timetable which was a work of fiction. In the 1960s the car was King and always would be, therefore no one wanted the railway’s as they were seen as a thing of the past.

Doctor Beeching in making his cuts preserved a large part of the railway network which is what we have today. In doing that he laid the foundations of modernisation which has led Britain’s railways to the highest passenger usage in their history. Over one and a half billion passenger railway journeys were made in 2013 on the UK network which is a figure that even the Victorians who built the railways would never even dream of.

Where in the 1960s trains were running virtually empty with only one or two passengers in each carriage, today overcrowding is the problem with all seats full and people standing. In the 1960s it was a case of how many branch lines could be closed, today quite a number of those branch lines look to a future of being reopened as in the case of Portishead to Bristol and Bristol to the city of Bath (via the old Biton branch line) in my area.

In my work I will be travelling to Birmingham tomorrow and Plymouth on Thursday on a modern railway system along with thousands of others, and long may that continue and develop.

Yes, progress has been good for Britain’s railway network.

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Well much the same up here in Scotland too of course. I remember when Glasgow had 4 main stations. Apart from the Central and Queen Street there was Buchanan Street and St Enoch's. I did think it odd when St Enoch trains were moved to Central where they had removed one of the two bridges over the Clyde into it thus making the place even busier. I do have to say that I thought although the St Enoch Station had an impressive Victorian front inside it was rather dismal and didn't impress me. Hower Buchana was a delightful small station on the edge of the city centre and it looked more like a small country terminus and the wooden buildings added to that.

The turreted bridge over the river that took trains into St Enoch (a modern shopping mall there now) is still there and used as there is still a line that diversed off to the east. Years ago I used to search out old lines or walk where they had been and on one occasion picked up some historical items dumped outside a long closed station (although the doors were open and old ticket office books lying about. Glasgow Central is now Scotland's busiest station and the Greater Glasgow area still has a sizeable network -thankfully!
While I agree with some of the reasons for closing stations and lines, such as the old colliery lines or those used for lumber and manufacturing, I feel that some of us have been put on the short shaft when it comes to rail service. Wales, Scotland, parts of the Canadian Maritimes, and even New England where I live, are some of those forgotten areas. The governments cater to the rich commuters, those that will use the short hall commuter service and seem to forget that we have needs too. We will get a token station stop with lots of fanfare and horn blowing parties, but that will be it. Instead, as in my area the MBTA and state will cater to the HUB around Boston and now the new kid on the block, the Worcester and Framingham line with new equipment, a busy frequent schedule, and many new stations. In the meantime, the rest of us suffer with few trains, ripped up lines, and horrific traffic.

Why are we forgotten? The answer is money. The people that are getting the service now have the political pull, meaning greased palms ready to push every quid and dollar to get the service while the poorer areas, where the service is needed the most, are ignored. This was most obvious with the recent expansion of trolley service to Somerville and Medford, MA. These so-called new lines, are being routed into now ritzy Yuppie land. What were once factories and heavy industry is now a mecca of condos and fancy flats. These Starbucks and Dunkin drinkers will get a direct line into downtown Boston while the poorer neighborhoods in Dorchester and Roxbury lost their elevated line in the 1980s, with a promise of a new light rail line to replace it. They never got their trolley (tram), instead they got stinky buses and will forever. These poor residents used to have a single token direct connection to the downtown, but now have to deal with multiple bus connections and a roundabout commute. These people, being much less well off relied on this service for connections to the downtown because they had no other cost-effective and efficient alternative. The areas in Somerville and Medford also have frequent underground (subway) bus, and commuter rail service as well, which makes this service redundant. When the residents in the poorer areas asked why they won't receive their promised rail connections, they were told they have bus and commuter rail, which by they way is located out of the way and on a bus line making the service inconvenient for the same people that would need it. In other words take it or leave it, we're spending our money elsewhere.

I could site other examples, but it shows how much the big money pays for service while the rest of us living in the less affluent, or should I say effluent areas always get what they want.

Having been a railway fan ever since I was a wee boy I did feel a bit peeved at the Dr Beeching era however there were many things that had to be accepted. There were lines that people simply no longer used. For a year when I was 21 I was a booking clerk at a Glasgow suburban eletric station. If on duty and in charge of the station and porters at mid-day, I had to walk down about half a mile to a suburban line alongside the River Clyde. There I would pick up the morning takings. There were no clerical staff just a porter in the station office. The first time I did it I was nonplussed at how little money came ineven on the Monday morning which tended to be a busy time elsewhere. It wasn't surprsing that line and the branches off it went into history.

However on a wider note there were places where a more definitive approach should have been taken. Even though a lot of new housing was spreading in the 1960's there was no positive plan for the future and the fact that some lines were now seeing more people living alongside them. Up here in Scotland we have had four of those old Beeching 60's removals back on the passenger network. A fifth is now being relayed for over 30 miles. Three of those brought back well exceeded the targets by big numbers. So even allowing for lines that most certainly could no longer be justified there were others that were dumped and money spent bringing them back.
Hi John, rj Howie, and everybody.
John, I read with great interest your posting at #8 of this thread regarding how you feel that “money/political interest” is playing a large part in the passenger side development of US railroads. It is being stated that money is playing a large part in the ever-increasing passenger numbers using the United Kingdom railways but with a different emphasis.

The price of tickets on Britain’s railways is undoubtedly high with another fare rise by all the train operating companies coming into effect in the last few days. It is therefore being argued that these charges puts rail travel (especially commuter travel) beyond the financial reach of many lower paid workers. We therefore have the reverse of the argument that was put forward in late 1950s that the middle-class could afford to buy their cars and travel to work quickly with the comfort of the open road while the “workers” had to put up with public transport. With that in mind we now have the argument that only the middle-class can afford regular rail travel while the “workers” have to endure sitting in their cars through Britain’s endless traffic jams in their commutes to work. The world turns full circle (LOL)

The above stated, the truth is that many companies in the UK are paying the rail ticket prices of their employees in their journeys to and from their workplaces. As people can work while travelling on trains employers can look to higher productivity from employees as their day can start immediately on boarding the train and will not finish until they leave the train on returning home in the evening. Therefore employers can look forward to many extra hours of work from their staff over the course of a week other than would have been possible if travelling by road. Obviously, if you are manual worker in a factory or warehouse the employer is not going to pay your rail travel costs as there would be no advantage to him. Therefore the argument that rail travel is for some and not others holds water in that respect.

With regard to the reopening of branch lines which fell under the Beeching axe, then in the English part of the United Kingdom this is a slow process due to the high cost of re-purchasing land, planning appeals and in many cases the original route of the line has been so heavily built on. The foregoing means that laying the track anywhere near the route of the original branch line is practically impossible. However, branch lines are reopening where practicable but I think we English very much envy our Scottish cousin in the speed at which that is being achieved.

I can appreciate why young people today find it difficult to understand why the above branch lines were closed in the first place. To understand that you have to have lived through the “transport revolution” that took place in the early nineteen sixties. In that era people on average salaries/wages found that they were able to buy their first car and that was the future and always would be in their eyes at that time. The British railway network rapidly lost passenger numbers and freight as the road transport revolution took hold. The foregoing meant that the railways needed to draw ever-increasing amounts in the form of national taxation which the general public also increasingly were unwilling to pay. Our new car owners were paying tax on the fuel for their cars as well as the basic road fund licence payable each year, not to mention what was known then as purchase tax payable on each new vehicle a person purchased. Therefore our new car owning taxpayer was unwilling to pay for a railway system he no longer used.

The above attitude was realized when Doctor Beechings plans for the reduction in the size of the railway network was placed before Parliament in 1963. Very few MPs opposed it, the press supported the plan and even the trade unions (very powerful at that time) never mounted any real campaign to try and stop the closures. Many thousands of rail workers lost their jobs but in a country where there were more job vacancies than their where people to fill them, very little hardship was brought about in the course of those wholesale redundancies.

Fifty two years later the British rail network is once again desperately needed in the eyes of the public. Network rail and the train operating companies are recruiting, the trains are full once again and the demands for branch lines to be opened/reopened grow by the day. Where once the skills of the railway workers were no longer wanted, that has been replaced by a need for new rail employees and a skills shortage. As stated, the wheel now once again turns full circle.

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Some good points there and yep not surprised you are envious of your Scots cousins! We have been fortunate in that where lines have reopened the track is on schedule and trackbed was still railway owned. The latest project the Waverley Route or at least the part going as far as just beyond Galashiels has been the longest with around 35 miles. On a wider UK basis there is a lot of money going into the new high speed rail project and although it looks great in clips I have to ponder on this one. How much faster do we want to go eoven over a couple of hundred miles? Instead all that money would see a whole raft of bringing lines back.
I do agree with what you've said, again Bill. You're great at bringing things into focus. In many ways, we're in the same predicament with ticket prices as well. What used to be a mere 25 cent ride on the trolley or subway (our underground), is now in the minimum $2.25 per trip! This too adds to the cost of the commute and doesn't count the daily parking charges which are now up to $5.00 per day. The commuter tickets are zoned and also are quite expensive now as well, with some outlying areas costing about $150 per month for the round-trip commuter pass. Students, disabled, and seniors get a discount, but they have to go through hoops and hand stands to receive them. Dr. Beeching I'm sure was following or setting the lead for the times, but hindsight is always a good thing, right. :) I surely understand removing unused lines, as Bobby mentioned. Those are a waste, but why remove working lines as well? This is all too common over hear up north outside of my state, which is one of the more forward-looking ones when it comes to transport.

So I have to say that our state was smart. They preserved many of the ROWs for future use, whether they've become rail trails or not means they can be reverted to commuter use later on. The problem then becomes the abutters who complain about the train service being restored. Don't get me going on this aspect of things. There are some lines that have lain dormant for decades are being looked at are being restored. The South Shore, again, where the Yuppies have moved in, is getting service down to Fall River and Bedford. Over the years, everything was I-95, Route 24, and the infamous Route 3, which were and still are traffic nightmares, and are made worse in the summer months with Cape Cod and the south shore beach traffic. Over the years, the tracks were closed or single-tracked for freight use only, and there was no thought of service. So now the state is restoring service to Fall River and the NIMBYs in Taunton and Easton are squawking about the trains coming through. They forget that the service will be helpful and once it's opened, I'm sure they'll use it but not as often as those that really need it. But, alas this is one of those wealthier regions where the population is more interested in their Lexus and Mercedes SUVs than taking a train.

As I mentioned, Somerville, Medford, and even Cambridge were once home to many, many industries. These are areas I would never want to live in even today knowing what's in the ground below me. My grandmother and great grandmother lived there and both died from pancreatic cancer! Who knows what's in the water and air they were breathing. Today, we have the younger generation moving in to these wonderful new condos not knowing they were once textile mills and leather goods factories. Knowing what I know about these poisons makes me wonder what these people are exposed to. A particular interesting corridor exists in Cambridge which runs between the south side and the north side of Boston. (Cambridge is across the river from Boston in case you're wondering). The rail line was once a multiple tracked switching line and connector which ran through mills and factories. It in its self is like a Philskene route. :) The famous MIT has its campus along the line and now there are many, many overpriced loft apartments and condos built there. In the old days companies such as Lever Brothers used to burn off vats of chemicals and others would burn rubber and plastic waste.

Getting back to your lines up in the north, Bobby. This is great news. Now if they'd finish up the rest of the Waverly I'd be really happy. I read an article about this line many, years ago and was quite saddened to hear that it had been abandoned. I say the same about the old Woodhead route as well a bit south. Another one that should be restored.

The UK is blessed with the increased rail service and reopening of lines. I too agree, Bobby that the government should put the money back into restoring the local services as that would pay off more in the long run than a single fast high speed rail line. The infrastructure already exists to make your system better, why spend the taxpayer's money on yet another line.

Glad to know you feel like me on the matter of restoring routes rather than the HS2 stuff. I don't really think this island needs such at all. Yes we up here in the northern part of the kingdom have had some good bringing back lines! I also agree with you on the rest of the Waverley Route across country to Carlisle. When the line was closed along with all the other Border routes in the 60's an attempt was made by a potential railway heritage group to take the main line for that status and got an outright no! Dear, oh dear, and I never forgave that BR lot for that one. Anyway a campaign to have the route brought back went on for decades and a lady now in the autumn of her years was one of the strongest advocates and a true fighter for the railway. One year with a Boys' Brigade camp in Melrose (late 70's) as captain two of us walked the trackbed back to Galashiels and all the ballast still there and we got a big surprise at the former station as it was still intact with all the rooms and the old BR blue signs for waiting rooms, stationmaster, etc. That was 1977 and apart from no track you would have thought it still in operation - it is long gone now of course.

When the work started last year on the actual Edinburgh- just beyond Galashiels some people further down past the renewal were complaining that it should have been projected further than the 35 miles and right across the region to Carlisle. The elderly lady leader of the 35 mile build said they should be fighting just as they did! Beyond the present project the trackbed is still there but I am sure someone said that a short tunnel further down had a small collapse? But at least the bed is still available. It s my intention to get the train to Edinburgh when the line is functional in the not too distant future and enjoy the pleasant scenery of the Borders and once again with the sound of a train in the background.

If I was a betting man I could safely bet that HS2 will be overspent with all the new added trackbeds, etc. And anyway how fast do we want to go on a dashed island anyway? There are several places in England that would love to see a train back again especially as where the lines ran are still there.
Keep on fighting for the Waverly. She's absolutely right. Sadly, I don't think she'll live long enough to see it though as a through route. It's always that way, isn't it?

Over here the former Mountain Division of the old Maine Central was abandoned, lock stock and barrel by the least favorite rail company around - Pan Am Railways, aka formerly Guilford Transportation Industries. The line ran across from Portland Maine on the coast to St. Johnsbury Vermont. It was a money making line even in the later days for the Maine Central, albeit, there were some mount grades and some high bridges, but overall it was a busy route. When Guilford took over the Boston and Maine and the Maine Central, they ran the line initially or until they purchased the old Delaware and Hudson to create a complete east to west route. Their focus was east to west and nothing to the north accept for a small connection at North Maine Jct. with the Bangor and Aroostook. In 1985 they embargoed the line and only served a couple of industries in and around Portland. The remaining section was allowed to rot. Instead of selling off the line in full, they kept a tiny portion in the middle to prevent anyone from restoring service. Today the states of New Hampshire, Maine, as well as, Vermont own large portions of the line, however, there are a couple of one half mile sections in the middle which PAR won't sell. There is hope to restore service again, even passenger service along this corridor, but sadly it's all stalled and stuck while everything becomes grown over and washed away. There are a few sections, including the Crawford Notch area that are used but everything else is weeds and will remain so for some time it seems.

The HS2 sounds a lot like a big dog and pony show for the wealthy. It's like "We're doing stuff for rail in a big way" as this is the stuff that garners the attention of the media and makes the politicians all happy with the votes come the election time. The problem is who is really going to use this service? It's not the people in between in the smaller towns.

Again the northern region is forgotten in favor of London commuters in and out of there. What about the bigger cities in the north such as the outlying suburbs of Carlisle, or perhaps between Leeds and other smaller towns which also suffer bad traffic? Greater Manchester and Birmingham also are forgotten even with their token service going in. They could use a lot more than they have now. The rebuilt electric line between Bury and Manchester is great, but how about more regular train service up there. This would definitely attract industry and other business and bring these areas back to life.

One of the sadest videos I saw recently, and I can't find the blinkin link to post here, showed the cuts happening up in Wales. These were busy towns and cities which lost their rails. These weren't those little quaint Colliery lines, but city lines that just got chopped. They may have not have been top dollar earning lines, but still they provided service to the locals. This brings up another point. Instead of running a full system where every line has to be a top earner, how about spinning these off to the regions? This is done in some areas here where short lines have taken over some former less than profitable lines from bigger rail companies. For the short lines, these lines provide more than enough business, and they end up expanding and running other lines in their area. Sadly, it seems that BR was an all or nothing deal back in the 1960s.

I might be from across the pond, but I watch those UK Traffic Cop and UK Motorway Police shows. The traffic on some of those so-called freeways is just plain horrid. In fact they look very much like our Route 128 corridor where I used to work with the accidents, high speed and traffic. Our posted speed is 55 mph for this stretch, but no one does that. Instead we have foreigners who read the speed in KPH instead and do 30 mph instead of 55 mph! Add to this the speeders and there are accidents every day. I'm glad I'm not commuting anymore. :) Your island, by the way, is a bit bigger than New England plus a section of New York State to the south and west with terrain that's very similar to that of Devon and Cornwall on our rocky coastline in our north Atlantic region in Cape Anne and up into Maine.

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As a slight change of tack, this site http://eiretrains.com/stationindex/ has a load of disused (and active) Irish stations, north and south. Some still sit alongside the working railway while some lie mostly derelict and forgotten, many miles for the rails they once served.
England's forgotten stations - virtual resurrection

What better tool than Trainz for bringing them back to life once more.

I've spent many happy and absorbing hours (nay days/weeks) researching the rebuilding of these old stations and lines using the links posted in earlier posts within this thread. The other major player is this site https://www.old-maps.co.uk where you can get detailed maps, including track plans, over many decades dating back to the 19th century.

I doubt that any of my efforts will ever be completely finished, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of the time spent on these projects. I've learned so much about the history of these stations, the local areas and the products and industries which they served.
I can still recall as a boy the old Queen's Quay Station in Belfast. Was around the size of Glasgow Queen Street but it had an atmosphere of better days with only one route going from it!. Certainly was changed days from when the whole south east of the province was it's staring point. A feeling of great emptiness as the majority of the platforms were lying empty and unused. Some time later on going with a Belfast girl I spent a holdiaday with them a mile north of Newcastle and when we went a walk down the lane rather than the road we were actually doing the former rail line. On reaching Newcastle I was taken aback to see the old station was still there although obviously closed. Plaforms had been filled in but could still walkon the pavings and the signs all haning like "Stationmaster" - "Booking Office", etc. Being a rail fan it was fascinating although sad that so many lines had been cut by silly politicians without a clue. Today the building still stands with it's tower but is a supermarket.

I also walked part of a line again as a boy whehn the family visited old neighbours who had went to live in a village outside Armagh. Looking around I reached a slope and ther was a defunct rail line, rusty and dead. When I visit Belfast now and go into Great Victoria Street Station it makes me think back to boyhood days when instead of the railway in a corner as today it covered much of the area where the buses sit now. I have also walked some long dead routes here in Scotland in Ayrshire and part of the one that ran from Balloch to Stirling and bits of other former line like in the Campsie Glen and Aberfoyle, etc. Enjoy the exercise but always with a tinge of sadness.
I can still recall as a boy the old Queen's Quay Station in Belfast. Was around the size of Glasgow Queen Street but it had an atmosphere of better days with only one route going from it!. Certainly was changed days from when the whole south east of the province was it's staring point. A feeling of great emptiness as the majority of the platforms were lying empty and unused. Some time later on going with a Belfast girl I spent a holdiaday with them a mile north of Newcastle and when we went a walk down the lane rather than the road we were actually doing the former rail line. On reaching Newcastle I was taken aback to see the old station was still there although obviously closed. Plaforms had been filled in but could still walkon the pavings and the signs all haning like "Stationmaster" - "Booking Office", etc. Being a rail fan it was fascinating although sad that so many lines had been cut by silly politicians without a clue. Today the building still stands with it's tower but is a supermarket.

I also walked part of a line again as a boy whehn the family visited old neighbours who had went to live in a village outside Armagh. Looking around I reached a slope and ther was a defunct rail line, rusty and dead. When I visit Belfast now and go into Great Victoria Street Station it makes me think back to boyhood days when instead of the railway in a corner as today it covered much of the area where the buses sit now. I have also walked some long dead routes here in Scotland in Ayrshire and part of the one that ran from Balloch to Stirling and bits of other former line like in the Campsie Glen and Aberfoyle, etc. Enjoy the exercise but always with a tinge of sadness.

This is a bit like my area as well, Bobby. Lawrence, Massachusetts once had a grand station with a main line and branch. The station was a miniature version of the famous North Station in Boston and saw several passenger trains per day between Portland Maine, Boston, Manchester, Concord, and even Montreal. In the end it became a commuter station but only the platforms were used. In the very end it sat there crumbling away with the branch line to Manchester closed and now a walking trail in some parts. As a kid I'd watch the freights on the old M&L and on the mainline from the passenger platforms. The mainline still exists and bypasses the crumbling station platforms, but as I said the M&L succumbed to rust. The southern portion of the M&L is too unsafe to make into a trail so it sits there rusty and weeded over. No one wants to walk in the ghetto and get robbed.

Out on our coastline, is the former Eastern Railroad which became the Eastern Division of the Boston and Maine in 1886. This line ran from Boston to Portsmouth then up to Portland Maine and was actually faster, flatter, and straighter than the more inland Boston and Maine mainline. In the 1950s the Portland to Portsmouth section was closed in favor of Interstate 95, or what was to become I-95 later on. The Portsmouth portion became a branch line to Salisbury, now rusted over and single-tracked, while the portion to Newburyport remained as a commuter line also single-tracked. In the late 1960s early 1970s, the drawbridge got stuck open and was closed to traffic. This connected the route between Salisbury and Newburyport, and shortly after that passenger service ended to Newburyport. The once great yards in Newburyport were ripped up, and the big station had a fire and that was the end of the great Victorian-era structure; it was torn down in the 1970s. In recent years commuters returned to Newburyport, but the station is way out and away from walking distance to the downtown. Instead it's now located in an industrial park (industrial estate for you folks) with connecting bus to the city. The line up to the bridge is now a walking trail with condominiums built so close to the ROW that it would be impossible to run any trains over the bridge should it be rebuilt. So much for this line. Whenever I travel out to Newburyport, which is only 8 miles from me, I cringe because I remember this line as an active freight line from Portsmouth. More recently, the Portsmouth to Salisbury section was closed completely, albeit, railbanked for future expansion. Hopefully there will be a away to run up and over a new bridge in the future, but this is only wishful thinking because no one wants to spend the estimated $14 million to rebuild the bridge, and the land was sold off to developers. Instead they're spending three times that for useless service on the South shore to areas that don't even want the service.

Hi John, RJhowie,pfx and everybody.
Sorry to have bumped this thread after more than a week without any new postings on it but there were several points made that I was looking forward to responding to, but work has kept me away.

With regard to the pressure to reopen branch lines that have been closed for a number of years for passenger usage, as already stated by several posters to the thread that would certainly help “commuter mobility”. The foregoing also reduces traffic congestion in the areas where lines reopen. So, whenever the finances can be found to reopen as many branch lines as possible that has to be beneficial financially for the district, regional and national economy.

However, one area where previously closed stations have been reopening in quite substantial numbers here in the UK are stations along mainline routes which served small towns and villages. In the years since the Beeching axe fell on many of these stations the towns and villages affected have grown substantially to become “dormitory towns” whose residents commute to work in the major cities within travelling distance of their home.

In North Somerset along the great Western mainline close to where I live, parson Street station, Highbridge station and Weston Milton have all reopened in the recent years along with Yate on the Gloucester mainline. Calls are now being made for Flax Bourton to reopen on the GWML with a new road constructed into it. A huge car park is also to be constructed which will enable several thousand commuters daily to park their cars outside of the city of Bristol and catch the train for the last 8 miles into the town centre.

I believe it is plans and actions such as the above that have brought and is still bringing railway use more and more into people’s everyday lives. Many who only ten or fifteen years ago would not have dreamt of using the railways and considered them irrelevant to their personal life now find them efficient and convenient as a means of daily transport. Also, reopening stations where the line is already in existence is always cost-effective with only a small amount of finance required to make good the plan under normal circumstances.

On a different note (and I hope forum members will not think I am going off topic) on the streets of Bristol commencing this week we will see the first driverless cars appearing in a test capacity. Driverless trucks are also being trialled on test circuits in several areas of the UK with a view to the first full-scale road trials being carried out later in the year. In British newspapers over this weekend it is being advised that driverless vehicles will be on the market perhaps within the next five years.

With the above in mind, what impact will this have on the railways regarding both freight and passengers when this “new transport revolution” comes about? As one example, think of a truck which could continue its journey across Europe or the United States unrestricted by drivers hours regulations with the only need to stop in any 24 hour period would be for fuel.

What impact would that have on railroad freight, thoughts anyone

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That's good news regarding the in between stations on the main lines. For us these stations on designated commuter lines have always been used for the most part. On my particular line, the Haverhill line, the only stations that no longer take passengers is Shawsheen (part of Andover), and North Andover. Shawsheen closed about 30 years ago or more, and people journey to either Lawrence or Andover. Those in North Andover go to the Lawrence because that town is right on the border, and the new Lawrence station is built about 2 miles from the old North Andover station. With our system state transit system, the cities and towns contribute part of the cost for commuter service. Those that opt out, don't have a station built or opened. In most cases, the original stations have long been demolished and have been replaced by new high level passenger platforms complete with handicap access ramps and shelters. In other places, the stations are now private businesses or restaurants, and one even became a home at one time, and a newer commuter station is built nearby.

The private driverless vehicles are going to be the bastion of the very well-to-do for quite some time. These people I doubt would even consider taking a train and mingling with the rest of us. :) They are a great idea for smaller in-city commutes but for long distance, I don't know. The vehicles would, I think, need some kind of guide system or database uploaded for use. I know that Google was working on a vehicle doing that. The other thing is being a private vehicle, how many people can it carry? This is still a private vehicle on the roads clogging traffic.

With trucks this might have a little impact. Granted, they can travel longer distances without the worries of Hours of Service Act violations and other safety requirements, but trucks in general can't carry as much as a train. Keep in mind, our trains can be close to a mile or more in length, and in most cases are double-stacked. this is many, many truckloads off the roads since most trucks in the US can only have two or three, maximum, trailers attached, and the weight is greatly restricted and has been for some time.