Following the success of the reintroduction of beavers to Scotland, experts are planning to repeat the experiment with the rare and previously thought extinct Southern Train.
Beavers, once natural to Great Britain, have successfully re-established themselves in Scotland. Those behind the project have now been tasked with repeating the success with the Southern Train. The Train became an increasingly rare sight in its former habitat of the so-called ‘commuter belt’ to the south of London. Wildlife experts believed that it was being pushed to the brink of extinction by the more aggressive Replacement Bus.
Expert Brian Twitcher, 49, from Pease Pottage, said, “The Bus was introduced relatively recently but has increasingly taken over and driven the Train from its traditional habitat. Once renowned for its green and white plumage, it has become a rare sight indeed at its usual haunts, which we call ‘stations’.”
Twitcher blames the Trains’ problems on its inability to adapt to change. “It is particularly susceptible to attacks from its natural predators, the Aslef and the Grayling, making it prone to fleeting appearances at its stations, or indeed a complete absence.”
Keen observers of the Train gather every morning and evening in a vain attempt to spot the Train. Justin Stock-Broker regularly visits his hide at Hassocks. “I haven’t seen a Train for several days now. I’m here at 6.32 each morning, along with several hundred other enthusiasts, but, while there may be a few Buses, rarely do we see the Train. We wait maybe till 9.07 or thereabouts but are usually disappointed.”
Still, there may be hope. Gertrude Hornby, from Hayward Heath Community College’s Wildlife Transport Faculty says, “We aim to reintroduce the Train to the urban and rural environments of Sussex, Surrey and Kent so that once again they will become a welcome and common sight. At first we will bring in two Trains and if they catch on, we hope the numbers will increase. Unfortunately, we will have to import the Trains from more established territories in Europe as the British subspecies has all but disappeared as a result of encroachment on its habitat by humans, which it naturally abhors. Numbers will increase with funding from interest groups through what we call ‘season tickets’ and in a few years time there may be five or six sightings a day.”
Peter Pendalino of Action for Rail in Southern England said, “Two? Fucking two? Six grand a year for… Jesus wept!”