Radio listener with Jim Gilchrist

How often have you contemplated a sadly overgrown former railway track, or waited fruitlessly for a bus to some rural destination which once boasted its own station, and cursed the predations of Richard Beeching and his axe, back in the 1960s?

Yet it is not often fully appreciated that, over the last three decades, Scotland has seen 62 railway stations re-open – more than anywhere else in Britain.

In reversing Dr beeching, Douglas Fraser examines how Scotland is re-expanding its railways, with moves such as 2009's re-opening of the Airdrie to Bathgate line, while the much debated Waverley line to the Borders steams ahead, if erratically. While such railway revivals have tended to be supported by cross-party political consensus, Fraser asks whether the current public spending cutbacks might shunt these ventures back into the sidings.

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Tennis fanatics don't let such trifles as an economic downturn get in their way, and Monday sees BBC Radio 5 Live home in on the centre court drama as WIMBLEDON 2011 kicks off on Monday with last year's Men's Champion Rafael Nadal defending his title. Commentary on this and subsequent championship games comes from Mark Pougatch and Clare Balding, while Jonathan Overend, Pat cash, Jeff Tarango and Annabel Croft cover the first-round matches (for coverage details and much more see

Struggles of a rather more significant nature are evoked by David Pownall's play A TERRIBLE BEAUTY, which dramatises the poet William Butler Yeats's infatuation with the famous beauty and Irish nationalist Maud Gonne, the estranged wife of John MacBride, who was executed by the British after the 1916 Easter Rising.

The play sees the poet visiting Gonne in France, where she was exiled following the rising, and making one of his several proposals to her. Yeats knew MacBride for a wife-abuser – "a drunken, vainglorious lout", as he described him in his great poem 'Easter 1916', which nevertheless honours MacBride for his part in the rebellion: "He too has been changed in his turn,/transformed utterly:/A terrible beauty is born."

Reversing Dr Beeching

Friday, Radio 4, 11am

Wimbledon 2011

Monday, Radio 5 Live, noon

Afternoon Play – A Terrible Beauty

Tuesday, Radio 4, 2:15pm

• This article was first published in The Scotsman on June 18, 2011

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