i don’t think this story is entirely true, but i like it


31 tonne Timber Wagon at Taynuilt on the Oban branch of the West Highland Line, 30 Aug 1987. Marra Man says:

The wagon seen here at Taynuilt would have been working between loading terminals on the West Highland line and Workington Goods Yard in Cumbria where the timber was transferred to road for the final 2 mile journey to the Paperboard factory at Siddick just north of Workington. After closure of Workington Goods Yard the traffic briefly moved to Workington docks before finishing completely and is now all moved by road with a constant procession of trucks using the A596 across Cumbria.
I think its such a shame this isn't still on the railway the volume alone consumed by the Siddick Mill would easily warrant an alternate day operation. I know the present owners Iggersund wanted a rail connection but crossing the A596 on the level was never going to get off the ground with the Highways agency.

It's a delightful story that would sum up how Britain plans transport: one level crossing in a corner of Cumbria would cause a couple of minutes of delays every other day, better instead to have dozens of additional trucks each day on single-track Highland roads, through Loch Lomond national park on the single carriageway A82, through the centre of Glasgow on the congested M8, and crawling up the M74, before trundling along that same road with a queue of traffic behind them. We couldn't possibly allow quarter of a mile of railway to be put in: it would cause delays for all these timber trucks using the road.

Alas, a cursory googling suggests that it only sums up how England does transport. The Scots very generously bought Iggersund a boat* a few years ago in order to get the trucks off their Highland roads and urban motorways. England, however, still thinks that making cycling and walking unattractive by maximising urban road junction capacities is a way of reducing congestion…

*And it says something about how the road haulage industry works that Iggersund never thought to buy their own boat instead of relying on gifts from Scottish taxpayers.

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