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Letter: Kevin Waddington March 9, 2018

Launch of new trains at King's Lynn Railway Station
Launch of new trains at King's Lynn Railway Station

I would imagine that Steve Mackinder,(Lynn News, February 27) who thinks that a cycle route to Hunstanton would not be money well spent and that only existing roads should be used has never travelled there on a summer Sunday.

There needs to be safe, pollution free paths to encourage people to adopt more healthy ways of getting about, as the cost to individuals and society is immense at the moment.

I get email updates from the British Lung Foundation, and I suspect most people would be surprised at the extent of illness in our society caused by pollution, most of it from motor vehicles. This ranges from an great increase in asthma in children to all sorts of respiratory and heart conditions in the elderly.

Some cities, such as Madrid, which formerly suffered much worse congestion and pollution than Lynn, have solved the problem by improving public transport and making motor free routes for cyclists and pedestrians.

The laying of a cycle route would not necessarily conflict with the ambition of some to reintroduce a railway route, although perhaps the traditional railway would not be cheapest. The Bure Valley Railway had the support of its local council for its nine miles between Aylsham and Wroxham, where a former standard gauge track has been replaced by a narrow gauge one and a cycle path (which is exceptionally well used) separated by a fence.

Most of the scheduled services are steam (and thus mainly driven by volunteers) with diesels for shunting and for quick start-ups when there is a breakdown on the line. Signals and signal operators have been disposed of, as the points are automatically reset as a train passes over them.

It is not a heritage line and some of the locos, only built in 1996, have already been rebuilt to give greater power and efficiency. I have driven there myself and can confirm it is a great tourist attraction and a good return on the council’s investment in it.

Understandably, Steve Mackinder regrets that there is not enough money to properly give care support to elderly people but fails to mention the ultimate cause which is the Tories’ support for austerity policies. You can’t cut the top rate of income tax, reduce corporation tax from 30 per cent to below 20 per cent, ignore the tax havens – 90 per cent of which are under British control – give the East Coast main line, which put £600 million into the exchequer when it was publicly owned prior to being given to Virgin, and such similar policies and still have money enough to care for the elderly and properly fund the NHS and other services.


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