WITH yet more delays on our railways, the Beeching cuts have come back to haunt us.

Many people agreed with the Beeching cuts at the time – the trains were under-used and some said over-staffed. There was little thought that the jammed-up roads would one day make trains once again such an essential form of transport, especially in the south and the commuter routes to London. Before the Beeching cuts, Southampton had several lines coming down from the midlands and London which could be used as overflow lines if the main lines were out of action.

The non mainline routes were vital to Britain's war efforts. In both WW1 and WW2 these lines brought the arms to Southampton that our forces needed to fight overseas. The railways are a unique form of transport, the problems arrive when a line is blocked or in repair there is no way round. So we have the problems which faced commuters recently, over running repair work and the commuters are stuck they either take other means of transport adding to the traffic congestion or much longer journeys on round about routes or just go home and lose a day's work.

Railways are much easier to close than open. The government is spending billions on Crossrail which should ease some of the line congestion but it is the historical commuter lines surrounding London which are the biggest headaches for rail companies and commuters alike. The lines run through highly built-up areas with little room for improvement which leaves them prone to days where commuters are told not to travel.

This is not something any government would want to hear but they must look at ways to get some spare capacity on heavily used lines that a broken-down train can shut down for hours and cause chaos to the system.

I haven't the answer to the railways problems but we need a plan of vision that thinks for the future, of course it was lack of vision in the Beeching era that has led to many of the endless problems that our railways face now.

Paddy Maxwell