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West Coast Main Line

The West Coast Main Line is one of the most important railway corridors in the United Kingdom, connecting the major cities of London, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. It is one of the busiest mixed-traffic railway routes in Europe, carrying a mixture of intercity rail, regional rail, commuter rail and rail freight traffic; the core route of the WCML runs from London to Glasgow, with branches diverging to Northampton, Birmingham and Liverpool, totalling a route mileage of 700 miles. Services from London to North Wales and Edinburgh run via the WCML. In addition, several sections of the WCML form part of the suburban railway systems in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Glasgow, with many more smaller commuter stations, as well as providing links to more rural towns, it is one of the busiest freight routes in Europe, carrying 40% of all UK rail freight traffic. The line is the principal rail freight corridor linking the European mainland through London and South East England to the West Midlands, North West England and Scotland.

The line has been declared a strategic European route and designated a priority Trans-European Networks route. Much of the line has a maximum speed of 125 mph, meeting the European Union's definition of an upgraded high-speed line, although only Class 390 Pendolinos and Class 221 Super Voyagers with tilting mechanisms operated by Avanti West Coast travel at that speed. Other traffic is limited to 110 mph; the core section between London Euston and Glasgow Central is 399 miles long, with principal InterCity stations at Milton Keynes Central, Stafford, Warrington Bank Quay, Preston, Oxenholme and Carlisle. The central core has branches serving the major towns and cities of Northampton, Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Stockport, Manchester and Liverpool; the route between Rugby and Birmingham and Stafford was the original main line until the Trent Valley Line was built in 1847. South of Rugby there is a loop that serves Northampton, there is a branch north of Crewe to Liverpool, notable since Weaver Junction on this branch is the oldest flyover-type junction in use.

A loop branches off to serve Manchester, another between Colwich Junction in the Trent Valley south of Stafford via Stoke-on-Trent, one north of Stafford via Stoke-on-Trent, one via Crewe and Wilmslow. A further branch at Carstairs links Edinburgh to the WCML, providing a direct connection between the WCML and the East Coast Main Line; the geography of the route was determined by avoiding large estates, hilly areas, such as the Chilterns, the Watford Gap and Northampton uplands followed by the Trent Valley, the mountains of Cumbria with a summit at Shap, Beattock Summit in South Lanarkshire. This legacy means the WCML has limitations as a long-distance main line, with lower maximum speeds than the East Coast Main Line route, the other major main line between London and Scotland; the principal solution has been the adoption of tilting trains with British Rail's APT, latterly the Class 390 Pendolino trains constructed by Alstom and introduced by Virgin Trains in 2003. A'conventional' attempt to raise line speeds as part of the InterCity 250 upgrade in the 1990s would have relaxed maximum cant levels on curves and seen some track realignments.

The WCML was not conceived as a single trunk route, but was a number of separate lines built by different companies between the 1830s and the 1880s. After the completion of the successful Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830, schemes were mooted to build more inter-city lines; the business practice of the early railway era was for companies to promote individual lines between two destinations, rather than to plan grand networks of lines, as it was considered easier to obtain backing from investors. And so this is; the first stretch of what is now the WCML was the Grand Junction Railway connecting Liverpool and Manchester to Birmingham, via Crewe and Wolverhampton, opening in 1837. The following year the London and Birmingham Railway was completed, connecting to the capital via Coventry and the Watford Gap; the Grand Junction and London and Birmingham railways shared a Birmingham terminus at Curzon Street station, so that it was now possible to travel by train between London, Birmingham and Liverpool.

These lines, together with the Trent Valley Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway, amalgamated operations in 1846 to form the London and North Western Railway. Three other sections, the North Union Railway, the Lancaster and Preston Junction Railway and the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, were absorbed by the LNWR. North of Carlisle, the Caledonian Railway remained independent, opened its main line from Carlisle to Beattock on 10 September 1847, connecting to Edinburgh in February 1848, to Glasgow in November 1849. Another important section, the North Staffordshire Railway, which opened its route in 1848 from Macclesfield to Stafford and Colwich via Stoke-on-Trent remained independent. Poor relations between the LNWR and the NSR meant that through trains did not run until 1867; the route to Scotland was marketed by the LNWR as The Premier Line. Because the cross-border

The Solitary Reaper

"The Solitary Reaper" is a lyric by English Romantic poet William Wordsworth, one of his best-known works. The poem was inspired by him and his sister Dorothy's stay at the village of Strathyre in the parish of Balquhidder in Scotland in September 1803."The Solitary Reaper" is one of Wordsworth's most famous post-Lyrical Ballads lyrics. The words of the reaper's song are incomprehensible to the speaker, so his attention is free to focus on the tone, expressive beauty and the blissful mood it creates in him; the poem functions to "praise the beauty of music and its fluid expressive beauty", the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility" that Wordsworth identified at the heart of poetry. The poet orders or requests his listeners to behold a young maiden reaping and singing to herself; the poet says that anyone passing by should either stop or pass as not to disturb her. There is a controversy however over the importance of the reaper along with Nature.

It was published in Poems, in Two Volumes in 1807. In this poem, the poet tells us about a girl, a Highland lass, in a field alone: "single in the field"; as she is harvesting her crops, she is singing a sad tune. The speaker asks us to stop and listen to her tune or "gently pass", he tells us that no nightingale has sung a welcoming song to wanderers in the deserts more beautiful than the girl's strain. He goes on to say, her singing is the only sound breaking the silence in the Hebrides, a groups of islands off the coast of Scotland. The poet has not a clue of if it has a theme. Having no answer, he guesses it's about a war long ago, something mundane, or some suffering which she's has gone through and may go through again, he resigns himself to the fact that he may never find out the theme of her never-ending song. Its beauty changed the poet's heart and he captured it and heard it after it was heard no more. What one gets from the last lines, "And as I mounted up the hill / The music in my heart I bore / Long after it was heard no more", is that the impression created on the poet is so powerful that it will live on in his mind

Robin Hahnel

Robin Eric Hahnel is an American economist and professor of economics at Portland State University. He was a professor at American University for many years and traveled extensively advising on economic matters all over the world, he is best known for his work on participatory economics with Z Magazine editor Michael Albert. Hahnel is political activist. Politically he considers himself a product of the New Left and is sympathetic to libertarian socialism, he has been active in many social movements and organizations for forty years, notably as a participant in student movements opposed to the American invasion of South Vietnam, more with the Southern Maryland Greens, a local chapter of the Maryland Green Party, the Green Party of the United States. Hahnel's work in economic theory and analysis is informed by the work of Marx, Piero Sraffa, Michał Kalecki, Joan Robinson, among others, he has served as a visiting professor or economist in Cuba and England. Hahnel was an undergraduate at Harvard when he met Albert, studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Over the course of three decades the duo would produce seven books together. Among the early writings was "Marxism and Socialist Theory" an evaluation of Marxist and Marxist–Leninist theory that emphasized what they believed were serious flaws. Albert and Hahnel argued that while those aspects of Marxist theory rejecting the institutions of private property and markets were well-founded, other aspects of Marxist and Marxist–Leninist doctrine, including its economistic bias, dialectical methodology, historical materialism, class concepts, labour theory of value, crises theory and rejection of visionary thinking, authoritarian values and tendencies, were either or wholly flawed. Subsequently, they produced "Socialism and Tomorrow", an analysis of socialism in the Soviet Union and Cuba, as well as a sketch of an alternative theoretical framework for socialism, their technical study of mainstream welfare economics, "A Quiet Revolution in Welfare Economics", was published by Princeton, but did not receive wide distribution.

The underground interest in the book prompted its being made available on-line. They argued; the core approach that competitive markets produce social efficiency was yielding diminishing returns and "has thwarted, rather than facilitated, advances in analyses of the labour process, public goods, preference development and institutional structures." The traditional socialist solution of public enterprise combined with centrally planned allocation was found lacking. In conclusion they argued that in clarifying the reasons why traditional models were deficient they had cleared a path that suggested probable directions for an alternative paradigm; the significant social and ecological inefficiencies of private enterprise market economies, public enterprise centrally planned economies, related variants, necessitated both the re-organization of production and consumption institutions and the search for compatible "allocative mechanisms that allow informed individual rationality to be consistent with social rationality."

Their next step, the formulation of a detailed "full" vision of an economy based upon participatory democratic planning was their attempt to provide an answer to this challenge. In 1991, as the Soviet bloc crumbled and capitalism emerged triumphant Albert and Hahnel published "The Political Economy of Participatory Economics", a model of an economy based upon allocation by participatory democracy within an integrated framework of nested production and consumption councils, proposed as an alternative to contemporary capitalism, centralized state socialism and market socialism. In ensuing years Hahnel and Albert fleshed out the gaps in their vision, discussed possible complementary political and cultural institutions, replied to many of their critics. Throughout much of this time Hahnel had been teaching advanced courses in ecological economics at American University, his ecological economic vision seeks to incorporate the ecological and social costs entailed in production and distribution in the price signals for each good.

Because of the recognized difficulties of quantifying ecological and social costs, Hahnel emphasized the necessity of utilizing qualitative data in addition to quantitative data to ensure accurate price signals. Qualitative data can best be elucidated through the mechanisms of an inclusive and participatory democratic informational framework. In terms of the current day ecological problems Hahnel acknowledges that green and pollution taxes are to be more effective than alternative schemes such as the marketization of natural resources using permit systems or regulatory "command and control" methods. An optimally efficient green tax requires taxing polluters an amount equal to external costs. Corporations can be expected to try to pass the extra costs on to consumers by raising prices, however Hahnel notes that "part of the reason pollution taxes improve efficiency in a market economy is that they discourage consumption of goods whose production requires pollution by making those products more expensive for consumers."

He recommends linking tax increases related to "bads" such as pollution to tax decreases on "goods" related to productive work, as exemplified by social security taxes. From an international strategic perspective however, he has thrown his support behind a cap and trade system, he argues that progress has been made toward a cap and trade system and should not b