England's highest main-line railway station hangs on to life by a thread: deserted and unmanned (无人的 )since it was officially closed in 1970. Dent, 36 high in the hills of Yorkshire, wakes up On six summer weekends each year, when a special charter train unloads walkers, sightseers and people who37want to catch a train from the highest station, on to its platform. But even this limited existence may soon be brought to an end.
Dent station is situated on the Settle to Carlisle railway line, said to be the most38in the country. But no amount of scenic beauty can save the line from British Rail's cash problems. This year, for the 39 of economy, the express trains which used to pass through Dent station have been put on to another route.
It is now an open secret that British Rail sees no future for this railway line. Most of its trains disappeared some time ago. Its bridge, built on a grand 40 a century ago, is falling down. It is not alone. Half-a-dozen railway routes in the north of England are facing a similar threat. The problem is a worn-out system and an almost 41 lack of cash to repair it. Bridges and tunnels are showing their age, the wooden supports for the tracks are rotting and engines and coaches are getting old. On42lines between large cities, the problem is not too bad. These lines still make a profit and cash can be found to43 them. But on the country branch line, the story is different. As track wears out, it is not replaced. Instead speed limits are introduced, making journeys longer than necessary and discouraging customers.
If a bridge is dangerous, there is often only one thing for British Rail to do: go out and find money from another44. This is exactly what it did a few months ago when a bridge at Bridlington station was threatening to fail down. Repairs were45 at 200,000--just for one bridge--and British Rail was delighted, and rather surprised, when two local councils offered half that amount between them.
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