Beeching’s Blunder II

Caught the train as usual
but travelled back in time
The years slipped by like miles
along the Horsham line
The steeped and cut embankment
rebuilt and clear again
As clattering past the Shoreham points
sped my old steam train

The by-pass it had vanished
as the trackbed took its place
And I passed through Bramber station
with a sense of pride and grace
The tree-lined cutting past the castle
Steyning station’s smoke-clad bridge
Then up the line to Henfield
along the Adur valley ridge

My train slowed into ‘Beechings’
Henfield’s ironic testament
to the axing of a way of life
by a sixties government
The Cat and Canary station pub
Afforded interlude
Not pausing there for half a pint
Would have been a little rude

Then back through the Adur flood plains
my trip through time took me
Unfettered views across the valley
to the hills and out to sea
Thought, in sixty years this landscape
will not be recognised
And people passing through today
would be dumbfounded and surprised

It was a journey of nostalgia
the years now lost in time
the passing of the age of steam
along the Horsham line
And as twenty-fifteen brought me back
Across some sixty years
The memory of that long-lost time
Brought with it several tears

©Jemverse

 

Following a report written by Dr Richard Beeching for the UK Government in 1965, around 5000 miles of track and 2,363 stations of branchline railway in the UK were axed. A way of life ended and the lifeline to hundreds of villages was cut off forever. All in the name of progress. Now, over 50 years later, many of the axed line routes have since reopened as footpaths and bridleways. One of these covers the length of what was once the Horsham and Guildford branch-line in Sussex. Its route remains but many of its stations have since been lost to commerce and time, the landscape ever changing. ‘Beechings’ in Henfield (for example) was once a thriving station and goods yard but is now a housing estate.

Wordbridge

I built a bridge with words today
to span five thousand miles
The ‘pond’ may seem enormous
But is much smaller with a smile

Just a few small crafted words
From my home in the UK
When published on the internet
Reach across to USA

I find that quite amazing
the power that words command
to build a bridge for all to cross
by whim or mere demand

©Jemverse

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