RAILWAY: US could also restore lines

I read the article ‘Old rail lines should be put back on track’, (Northumberland Gazette, July 9).

I whole-heartedly agree.

The article noted that it was the then Minister of Transport Ernest Marples (a fourth cousin to my late father) who pushed hard for road building and automobile use in the UK in the early 1960s.

As the article noted, in many ways Ernest Marples had a ‘conflict of interest’ since he owned a construction company, which benefited from new automobile roads being laid out and built.

Even in sprawling America where I live, passenger rail travel was once popular, but politicians decided to focus on roads. Consequently, many railroads abandoned use of tracks and even ‘pulled-up’ railroad track.

While a few communities here use the land as a walking trail or bike path, it would be better if the USA restored passenger rail lines.

The United States has its government-subsidised AMTRAK passenger rail service.

However, its routes are static, its bureaucracy is cumbersome, and since I am a native of the State of Kansas in the centre of the USA, it is mighty inconvenient to catch a train at 2am in the wee hours of the night/early morning.

Even I am confined to driving a car almost everywhere, since most destinations I want to go either do not have passenger rail service or, if they do, the ticket price makes the fare unaffordable.

I wish that passenger railway lines would be restored and private companies could compete. It would be bound to boost ridership in some areas.

James A Marples,

PO Box 1542,


TX 75606 USA