The Heart of Wales line offers rare hope amid the decline of the railways, argue Keith Maton and Margaret Dickinson. Nigel Stapley says Wales as a whole has suffered as part of the United Kingdom
I agree with many of the positive points made by John Harris about the Heart of Wales railway line (Want to see the future? Take a trip on Wales’ model railway, 19 August). He is spot-on about the efforts of community groups to keep the line open under considerable duress, and to provide a focus for the efforts of voluntary groups. However, he may not appreciate that the line is a rare exception in the railway system of Wales.
Since the 1960s, and before Beeching, the system was decimated by the operation of the market system. Lines were closed to passenger traffic in advance of the closure of mines and steelworks, which were the bedrock of the economy. The result has been almost two generations of depression for the valleys of south Wales and the isolation of north and central Wales from the rail network of Britain as a whole. Beeching and then privatisation have been disastrous for all of the industrial areas of Britain, but none more so than in Wales. Not only did thousands lose their jobs, but they were unable to commute to places of employment. What employer would relocate to towns and villages without a viable rail link?
Read more: theguardian.com