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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Tourism transport in the UK is a mess – here’s how to fix it

2. Regular electric trains from rural areas

I live close to a railway line connecting the city of Preston to the Dales, used only by logging and aggregate freight trains – except the farcical once-weekly, one-direction-only Sunday morning Blackpool-Hellifield service, which links with the famous Settle-Carlisle line. All unused, well-maintained lines need reopening and electrifying. A frequent service would replace the convenience of the car.

3. A national tram network

Manchester, Sheffield and Croydon have tram systems; Docklands has the DLR. Leeds has been promised trams to make up for the HS2 slap in the face. We need many more quiet, clean, light rail-type services, within and between towns and cities. Blackpool has its famous prom trams. Copy the concept along all coasts where erosion won’t wash them away. Systems need to link up to one another if we are not to live in atomised regions.

4. E-bike roads

The sharing of roads between bikes and cars is dangerous and only really tolerated by the Lycra brigade. Bikes need their own proper, paved roads, shared only with e-bikes, which could become a serious option for getting around. An e-bike can be charged to 80 per cent in 90 minutes. Even an unfit rider can take on slopes with the boost provided. 

5. One-way rural roads and coastal access lanes 

Until SUVs are banned, they will be the bane of the UK’s narrow backroads – many of which were built for horses and carts. There is no room for even two ordinary cars on many rural roads and seaside entry routes. They should work one-way-only in season, while allowing farmers to make their way to their fields early and late in the day.

6. Expand slow ways 

Walking is the best mode of transport for holidays. We need to protect and properly govern all the UK’s amazing green lanes and tracks, so nimby landowners, motocross riders and mountain bikers don’t abuse them. Bridleways need inns/stables, loos and water fountains.

7. Canal services

There is some limited use of our 4,700 miles of navigable canals for leisure, but the network needs to be ramped up for day trips, weekend experiences and longer voyages. We need to reopen under-exploited waterways such as the Sankey Canal in built-up south Lancashire.

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