Freedom in Motion by Cyndi Speer
Train journeys are nice, although the price hikes means it can be very expensive. For now, the best idea is to plan your journey in advance if you can, and buy tickets online at Split My Fare, which can save you up to 90% of train fares (not always, but sometimes). It basically sells you separate tickets which often makes the journey cheaper. So say you are going from London to Scotland and changing at Birmingham, by selling you two tickets (London to Birmingham and then Birmingham to Scotland) you save money. Mad but true.
Another way to save money is to take your own sandwiches and drinks, so you don’t have to buy from the stations’ own country where everything costs 10 times more. Since the railways were made private, now stations, trains and tracks are all owned by different companies, which is why often everything is expensive (and some think less safe). GO-OP! Cooperative is presently seeking investors for its first route for a ‘people-owned railway’ that would be wonderful. The first line will run from Nuneaton (home of Larry Grayson!)
Keeping Animals Safe Near Trains
- Never throw litter on train tracks, as this encourages wildfowl (who often mistake flooded train tracks for rivers). Other creatures making their homes on ‘green corridors’ surrounding train tracks are endangered water voles, deer, slow worms, grass snakes and common lizards). Pipistrelle bats often root in trees, tunnels and bridges near railways. Wildlife bridges can help for migrating animals.
- Blue Cross & Seat 61 have good info on travel with pets. Take care when walking near rail tracks, especially with dogs. Tell National Rail if livestock need extra fencing or planning to introduce animals next to railway land. They will fix and mend fences, if asked.
- Respect barriers at level crossings (get off your bike to avoid slipping, and be mindful of extra height if riding a horse).
Why HS2 Won’t Stop Climate Change
HS2 is a big white elephant that is destroying whole swathes of Buckinghamshire’s land and wildlife, and will kill 22,000 wild animals each year once built, based on France’s TGV. It also won’t stop climate change as it will take 100 years to be carbon neutral, and the proposed stations are at new airport hubs! So how a high-speed train that will be used to ferry commuters to new airport stations – will prevent climate change – is anyone’s guess. Most people work from home now anyway using virtual meetings. It’s madness. Life needs to slow down, not speed up.
It will also destroy 100 ancient woodlands (England’s second oldest pear tree has already been torn down). Far better is to use the £100 billion to update dilapidated rolling stock in the southwest and northeast. Instead, HS2 is putting at risk 30 river corridors and rare species like hairstreak butterflies, long-eared owls, stag beetles, great crested newts and Bechstein’s bats.
It’s not too late for the government to pause the HS2 bill, rethink the UK high speed rail initiative and replace HS2 with something much better. That will be cheaper, better-connected and quicker to implement. Colin Elliff, Civil Engineering Principal, High Speed UK
Helping to Prevent Train Suicides
It’s quite shocking to learn that quite a high percentage of train drivers have witnessed a suicide. We won’t go into details, but the people are very ill and what happens is traumatising for the drivers, who have to keep on driving the train for a mile or two, before the train can physically stop.
Obviously it can’t be helped in some cases, but often it can. See the post on how to help someone with depression. What most experts want are emergency ways for people at risk to get help at the station, if they feel suicidal. One great idea was created by a techy brother, to help his sister who was suffering with depression. Just register your person of choice to call in an emergency, and if you feel at risk, the notOK app will contact them to let them know you are feeling vulnerable, and where you are.