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Letter from supporter in Britain

June 2003


Dear All

As my surname suggests I have sturdy Irish roots, indeed from Clare & Kerry. So the West is in my ancestry right up to the hilt. I am old enough to remember passenger trains from Ennis to Athenry, plus freight. Indeed, the West Clare was still going strong as well. Being UK-based I have seen decimation par excellence; Beeching, British Rail, Railtrack etc. Now we are fighting slowly to reinstate lines all over the UK, mostly by private groups such as yourselves. It never seems to amaze me how insular and boring the management of rail is; if our ancestors had the same mental state then the lines would not have been built in the first place.

However, the argument has to devolve around best practice elsewhere & I think immediately of the Metrolink system in Manchester, a roaring success. It had its detractors at the start but, sustained and clearly-put argument, backed up with well researched data won the day. Now it is going from strength to strength. Your case must have the same elements. You must show that COSTS are minimal. So rolling stock must be lightrail, signalling of the cheapest consistent with safety, and so on. There is no room for sentiment in this type of activity; looking over one's shoulder at the past is a recipe for disaster. There are some good other examples of reopening over here. Maybe you might send a representative to the UK to investigate (if you have not already done so)

I wish you all the best in your endeavours.

Denis M P O'Connell

(address and phone no. supplied to WestOnTrack)



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