I’ve lost track (no pun intended) of the state of play with HS2 but I think the ‘first section’ is under construction. Has always seemed to me to be a complete waste of public funds, likely to bring little or no benefit to the average passenger and destroying some sensitive environmental areas in the process. Anyway is not the age high-powered meetings fast fading? when it can be done from the office desk, apparently.
Probably some routes where trains once ran could achieve good passenger numbers, more feasibly in rural rather than urban areas, but the capital expenditure required would be great. That said, the rail-line between Barton and Cleethorpes remains working with a two-hourly service about six times a day, this despite being under threat more than once during its existence. It does benefit from a number of dedicated supporters who, as members of two promoting societies, liaise with the rail company holding the franchise for the line to promote its profile. The single carriage going back and forth has a bit of a ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ air to it (it is diesel) but is used by a surprising number of people – and bus timetables from Hull and Scunthorpe link to train times – and Cleethorpes station is right on the sea-front (a fact not so in Bridlington, Filey or Scarborough). (see Berridge, A.A.S. The Railway Comes to Barton-on-Humber: 1844-1914 (Fathom Writers Press, 2016, 100 pages). The photo. above shows Barton station buildings before their demolition in 1973 (scanned from p. 41 of the above book).
In the 1960s Dr Jay Appleton of Hull University (Geography Dept.) wrote lots of papers promoting the adoption by government or local authorities of recently (then) disused rail lines as public rights of way, both long-distance and local. It was an example of a good idea to reap some benefit from an otherwise tragic policy. The campaign, of course, only had limited positive outcomes.
Although cyclists and pedestrians don’t always see eye-to-eye, such a recycling (no pun intended) of the track-beds would have been very popular in our present ‘new age of cycling’.
(to be continued).