The independent London newspaper

We can’t turn clock back to days of rail freight

07 September, 2018

• ANY death on the roads, how­ever caused, is one too many (Keep these lorries off our streets, August 31). At the moment we don’t know what happened in the accident involving Dr Peter Fisher. We have to remember as road users, whether it be as a driver, cyclist or pedestrian, it is down to us to make sure that what we do is safe.

Your correspondents say that HGV lorries should be replaced by containers on rail tracks, like those that used to run into goods depots at Somers Town, Smith­field and Bishopsgate. The operative words are “used to”.

Although Smithfield is still in use as a meat market, the depot was removed from the rail network years ago. Bishopsgate was destroyed by fire in the late 1960s, and Somers Town was demolished and part of the site used for the British Library and the rest for housing.

Unfortunately, the railways under the chairmanship of Dr Richard Beeching decided that freight was totally uneconomic so they abandoned it to the road haulage industry.

There used to be goods depots at Highbury and Islington and at Caledonian Road and Barnsbury, but they were closed and the sites used for housing.

So, if we stop HGVs coming into London, how will we get supplies in? How will we get building materials around?



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