Sunday, April 01, 2007

World Heritage Status For A World First, In Our Town

It seems that the Great Western railway line between Paddington and Bristol has been on a possible shortlist for about ten years, it certainly doesn't have the pace of a Pop Idol semi-finals. Well the decision is, it seems, getting closer as to whether the GWR will be put forward by the UK as the country can only submit one location each year to be considered for World Heritage Status .

Preservation groups express concern that the owners and operators of the line, Network Rail may not lend their support to the scheme. They have yet to comment.

Swindon Centric Says ; Since Network Rail haven't said anything yet, we can't predict their response, but we will say this. English Heritage, National Trust and UNESCO have to recognise that the GWR is pretty unique, it is a continually working railway that's needed by thousands of travellers every day. So when choices have to be made in future to upgrade the line, which is bound to come, they have balance the need to protect heritage with the broad and simple fact that its a working railway and cannot be treated in the same vein as other World Heritage sites.

It is a unique submission for a site and as such demands unique preservation criteria and unique abilities for all parties concerned to compromise, otherwise the line will become a railway backwater, for the sake of heritage.

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