Rail Runabout - A look at NIR from 1975 to 2005
Colourpoint Books Colourpoint House, Jubilee Business Park, 21 Jubilee Road, Newtownards, Co. Down, BT23
4YH, NORTHERN IRELAND
* Author - Sam Somerville
In his introduction to this book, the author belittles those "whose attachment to rail lacked any understanding of the realities of rail economics". Leaving aside the
rationale behind including such a side swipe in a book that is unrelated to the topic, one wonders how the artificially propped up road economics would stand up to
scrutiny if looked at objectively (e.g., ignoring the serious damage done by articulated lorries that is not reflected in the road or fuel tax charged to these road users,
nor the 'failure' to enforce restrictions such as driver's working hours, load limits, speed, etc, all of which are rigidly enforced on railways, giving rise to the economic
imbalance referred to). He then confuses the issue at the end of the introduction by referring to the important role that railways have to play as environmental issues
gain precedence. The entire introduction is verbose and largely unnecessary.
In the text, the author raises the thorny issue of railway trespass. Supposed health and safety nonsense has led to the situation he describes thus "track walking
permits are no longer obtainable and Translink, and the courts will, quite properly, deal severely with any example of trespass on railway lines". Suffice to say, I
disagree. The fact that such close up photographs could be taken without injury disproves the point.
All things considered, from an IH viewpoint, the focus of this publication is more on trains/rolling stock than built heritage.
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