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Encyclopedia > Beeching axe
Many railway lines were closed as a result of the Beeching Axe
Many railway lines were closed as a result of the Beeching Axe

The Beeching Axe is an informal name for the British Government's attempt in the 1960s to reduce the cost of running the British railway system. The name derives from the main author of the report The Reshaping of British Railways, Dr. Richard Beeching. Although this report also proposed the development of new modes of freight service and the modernisation of trunk passenger routes, it is best remembered for recommending the wholesale closure of what it considered to be little-used and unprofitable railway lines, and the removal of stopping passenger trains and closure of local stations on other lines. from http://www. ... from http://www. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... The United Kingdom consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and previously consisted of Great Britain and the whole of Ireland. ... Richard Beeching Richard Beeching, Baron Beeching (21 April 1913 - 23 March 1985), commonly known as Doctor Beeching, was chairman of British Railways and a physicist and engineer. ... Railroad or railway tracks are used on railways, which, together with railroad switches (points), guide trains without the need for steering. ...


The report was a reaction to the significant losses which had begun in the 1950s as the expansion in road transport began to abstract significant passenger and goods traffic from the railways; losses which continued to bedevil British Railways despite the introduction of the railway modernisation plan of 1955 [1]. Beeching proposed that only drastic action would save the railways from increasing losses in the future. This does not cite any references or sources. ... Year 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar). ...


However, successive governments were more keen on the cost-saving elements of the report rather than those elements requiring investment. Over 4,000 miles of railway and 3,000 stations were closed in the decade following the report, being a reduction of 25% of route miles and 50% in the number of stations. To this day in railway circles and amongst older people, particularly in those parts of the country that suffered most from the cuts, Beeching's name is still synonymous with the mass closure of railways and consequent loss of many local services.

Contents

Background

A timetable from 1963 showing the closure of a branch line and the suggested replacement bus service. This was the start of the Axe; the peak year followed in 1964.
A timetable from 1963 showing the closure of a branch line and the suggested replacement bus service. This was the start of the Axe; the peak year followed in 1964.

In tune with the mood of the early 1960s, the transport minister in Harold Macmillan's Conservative government was Ernest Marples, the director of a major road-construction company (his two-thirds shareholding were divested to his wife whilst he was a minister).[2][3] Marples believed that the future of transport lay with roads, and that railways were a dead-end relic of the Victorian past. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1221x350, 99 KB) Summary Page from summer 1963 British Railways Eastern timetable illustrating Beeching Axe in progress. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1221x350, 99 KB) Summary Page from summer 1963 British Railways Eastern timetable illustrating Beeching Axe in progress. ... A timetable is an organized list or schedule, usually set out in tabular form, providing information about a series of arranged events: in particular, the time at which it is planned these events will take place. ... Year 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... A branch line is a relatively minor railway line which branches off a more important through route. ... 1964 (MCMLXIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1964 calendar). ... Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC (10 February 1894 – 29 December 1986), was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1963. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and the oldest political party in the United Kingdom. ... (Alfred) Ernest Marples, Baron Marples (9 December 1907 – 6 July 1978) was a British politician. ... Queen Victoria (shown here on the morning of her accession to the Throne, 20 June 1837) gave her name to the historic era The Victorian era of the United Kingdom marked the height of the British Industrial Revolution and the apex of the British Empire. ...


An advisory group known as the Stedeford Committee (after its chair, Sir Ivan Stedeford) was set up to report on the state of British transport and provide recommendations. Also on the Committee was Richard Beeching, who at the time was the Technical Director of ICI. He was later, in 1961, appointed Chairman of the newly formed British Railways Board. Both Stedeford and Beeching clashed on a number of issues related to the latter's proposals to drastically prune the rail infrastructure. In spite of questions being asked in Parliament, Sir Ivan's report was never published and the proposals for the future of the railways that came to be known as the "Beeching Plan" were adopted by the Government, resulting in the closure of a third of the rail network and the scrapping of a third of a million freight wagons. Sir Ivan Arthur Rice Stedeford, GBE (28 January 1897–9 February 1975) was a British industrialist and philanthropist. ... British Railways (BR), later rebranded as British Rail, ran the British railway system, from the nationalisation of the Big Four British railway companies in 1948 until its privatisation in stages between 1994 and 1997. ...


Beeching believed the railway system should be run like a business and not a public service, and that if parts of the railway system did not pay their way—like some rural branch lines—they should be closed. His reasoning was that once these were closed, the remaining core of the system would be restored to profitability.

A copy of The Reshaping of British Railways report, displayed beside the National Union of Railwaymen's response pamphlet.
A copy of The Reshaping of British Railways report, displayed beside the National Union of Railwaymen's response pamphlet.

When Beeching was Chairman of British Railways he initiated a study of traffic flows on all the railway lines in the country. This study took place during the week ending 23 April 1962 , two weeks after Easter, and concluded that 80% of the traffic was carried on just 20% of the network, with much of the rest of the system operating at a loss. The "The Reshaping of British Railways" report [4] (or Beeching I report) of 27 March 1963 proposed that out of Britain's then 18,000 miles (29 000 km) of railway, some 6,000 miles (9 700 km) of mostly rural branch and cross-country lines should be closed. Furthermore, many other rail lines should lose their passenger services and be kept open for freight only, and many of the lesser-used stations should close on lines that were to be kept open. The report was accepted by the Government. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 345 pixelsFull resolution (2568 × 1107 pixel, file size: 357 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 345 pixelsFull resolution (2568 × 1107 pixel, file size: 357 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The National Union of Railwaymen was a trade union of railway workers in Great Britain. ... British Railways (BR), later rebranded as British Rail, ran the British railway system, from the nationalisation of the Big Four British railway companies in 1948 until its privatisation in stages between 1994 and 1997. ... April 23 is the 113th day of the year (114th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 86th day of the year (87th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


At the time, the highly controversial report was called the "Beeching Bombshell" or the "Beeching Axe" by the press. It sparked an outcry from many communities that would lose their rail services, many of which (especially in the case of rural communities) had no other means of public transport.


The government argued that many rail services could be provided more cheaply by buses, and in a policy known as "bustitution" (a portmanteau of "bus" and "substitution"), promised that abandoned rail services would have their places taken by replacement bus services. A Go North East bus parked in a lay-by in Tyne and Wear, England. ... The term bustitution is a neologism sometimes used to describe the practice of replacing train service, whether street railways (light rail or tram/streetcar systems) or full-size railway systems, with a bus service, either on a temporary or permanent basis. ...


A significant part of the report also proposed that British Rail electrify some major main lines and adopt containerized freight traffic instead of outdated and uneconomic wagon-load traffic. In general, politicians jumped at the money-saving parts of the plan but were less enthusiastic about those parts that required expenditures. Some of those plans were eventually adopted, however, such as the creation of the Freightliner concept and further electrification of the West Coast Main Line from Crewe to Glasgow in 1974. Additionally the staff terms and conditions were improved over a period of time. The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A politician is an individual who is a formally recognized and active member of a government, or a person who influences the way a society is governed through an understanding of political power and group dynamics. ... There are two entries concerning Freightliner For the Freightliner Truck Company, please see Freightliner (truck) For the United Kingdom Rail Company, please see Freightliner_(UK) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The WCML running alongside the M1 motorway at Watford Gap in Northamptonshire A Virgin Pendolino and freight train on the WCML The West Coast Main Line (WCML) is one of the most important intercity railway lines in the United Kingdom, part of the British railway system. ... A blonde haired, very skilled worker with a 70s look. ...


Rail closures by year

The remains of Rugby Central Station on the former Great Central Railway, one of many stations and lines that were closed under the Beeching Axe
The remains of Rugby Central Station on the former Great Central Railway, one of many stations and lines that were closed under the Beeching Axe

At its peak in 1950, the mileage of the British Railway's system was around 21,000 miles (33 800 km) and 6000 stations. By 1975, the system had shrunk to 12,000 miles (19 300 km) of track and 2000 stations, roughly the same size it was in 2003. Download high resolution version (1000x750, 304 KB)The remains of Rugby Central Station - The former Great Central Railway station serving Rugby, which closed in 1969. ... Download high resolution version (1000x750, 304 KB)The remains of Rugby Central Station - The former Great Central Railway station serving Rugby, which closed in 1969. ... The remains of Rugby Central Rugby Central was Rugbys station on the Great Central Railway which opened in 1899 and closed in 1969. ... The Great Central Railway (GCR) was a railway company in England which came into being when the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway changed its name in 1897 on the completion of its London Extension. ... Year 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 2003 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Contrary to popular belief, Beeching did not start the rail closures, as a number of rail closures had occurred during the 1950s and certainly earlier [5]. In reality he was continuing a trend, as the Branchline Committee of BR had already closed a number of unremunerative lines between 1950 and 1963. Indeed, approximately 3000 miles (4800 km) of line had already been closed. After the publication of the first report, the closure process was accelerated. This does not cite any references or sources. ... BR or Br may be: BR Beautiful Revolution, a Korean cosmetic company BR Distribuidora, the fuel retail division of Petrobras BR Korea, ice cream company Baskin-Robbins in South Korea BR postal area, a group of eight postal districts in southeast London Bromine (Br), atomic number 35 BR is the... Year 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

  • Branchline Committee closures
    • 1950....150 miles (240 km) closed
    • 1951....275 miles (440 km) closed
    • 1952....300 miles (480 km) closed
    • 1953....275 miles (440 km) closed
    • 1954 to 1957....500 miles (800 km) closed
    • 1958....150 miles (240 km) closed
    • 1959....350 miles (560 km) closed
    • 1960....175 miles (280 km) closed
    • 1961....150 miles (240 km) closed
    • 1962....780 miles (1 260 km) closed
  • Beeching closures
    • 1963....324 miles (521 km) closed
    • 1964....1058 miles (1702 km) closed
    • 1965....600 miles (965 km) closed
    • 1966....750 miles (1 207 km) closed
    • 1967....300 miles (480 km) closed
    • 1968....400 miles (640 km) closed
    • 1969....250 miles (400 km) closed
    • 1970....275 miles (440 km) closed
    • 1971....23 miles (37 km) closed
    • 1972....50 miles (80 km) closed
    • 1973....35 miles (56 km) closed
    • 1974....0 miles (0 km) closed

Not all of the recommendations for railway line closures were implemented; a number of lines were kept open for a variety of reasons, including political manoeuvring. For example, the railway lines through the Scottish Highlands, although they were seen as not very cost-efficient by Beeching's definition, were kept open, in part because of pressure from the powerful Highland lobby. It has also been suggested that other lines may have been kept open because they passed through marginal constituencies. In addition, some lines that were listed for closure were kept open because the local roads were quite incapable of absorbing the resulting extra traffic. The Scottish Highlands are the mountainous regions of Scotland north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault. ...


Others were kept open simply because they provided vital links between towns. The Marshlink line connecting Hastings and Ashford in South-east England escaped closure as it made up the southern half of what was effectively a triangle of railways between Kent and Sussex. Its closure would have meant a hugely increased journey length - all the way up to Tonbridge - for anyone wanting to travel by rail between the towns. It is still open today although the majority of it is not electrified. The Marshlink Line is the name given to services on the railway line linking Ashford with Hastings. ... For other uses, see Hastings (disambiguation). ... , The town of Ashford lies on the River Great Stour, M20 motorway, South Eastern Main Line and Channel Tunnel Rail Link railways, in the borough of Ashford, located just south of the North Downs, in Kent, England. ... The Kent coat of arms For other uses, see Kent (disambiguation). ... Sussex is a historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. ... Tonbridge is a market town in the English county of Kent, with a population of 31,600 in 2001. ...


On the other hand, some routes that Beeching proposed to keep as major trunk routes, for example the Woodhead route, were eventually closed in favour of keeping alternative politically-sensitive routes open. Woodhead (SK091999) is a small and scattered settlement at the head of the Longdendale valley in Derbyshire, England. ...


Overall, 2128 stations were closed on lines that were kept open.


There are two mistaken beliefs regarding the Beeching report that persist to this day. First, that the Beeching report was mainly concerned with (and proposed the closure of) little-used rural branch-lines. This is not correct. As the maps and text show, as well as a some minor railway lines, many of Beeching's closures were to be of lines in populated industrial areas (including the electric commuter lines from Liverpool to Southport and Bury to Manchester - which in the end were both reprieved, though others were not), cross country routes linking large towns and cities, and included some major inter-city railway lines , where it was deemed that these lines were duplicates of other main-lines. The most notable of these was the former Great Central Railway, which linked London to the Midlands and north of England. The often overlooked truth of the Beeching report that its main effect was to deprive substantial towns such as Mansfield (since reopened), Corby, and Leigh (Lancashire) (these three towns alone in 2007 having a total population of around a quarter of a million) of their railways rather than solely concentrating on little used rural "no-hoper" routes. A further example is the service from Bury to Bacup in Lancashire which at closure (in 1966) had a service every of at least every thirty minutes(and was a well used service) - this was not a line running empty trains, but a busy commuter line. Careful inspection of the passenger usage map in Beeching's report ( http://www.joyce.whitchurch.btinternet.co.uk/maps/density.jpg ) shows that a number of high usage lines were proposed for closure and were in fact closed. Beeching's published report itself gives few detailed examples of lines to be closed (rather it gives a few "examples," mainly of lines which indeed were carring very few passengers); it certainly gives NO details for those well-used lines which he proposed for closure. The Great Central Railway (GCR) was a railway company in England which came into being when the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway changed its name in 1897 on the completion of its London Extension. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem No official anthem - the United Kingdom anthem God Save the Queen is commonly used England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto)1 Unified  -  by Athelstan 927 AD  Area  -  Total...


The second mistaken belief is that increased car ownership leads not only to less use passnger use but 'terminal decline' in rail travel; in 2007 car ownership in the UK is at its highest, yet passenger rail usage is also at at a fifty year high.


Since 1974, there have been few passenger railway closures in the UK. Indeed there have been some re-openings, usually on lines that had lost their passenger service due to Beeching, but had been left open for freight services, therefore reinstatement of passenger services came at a relatively low cost. However, in the 1970s and 1980s there was a large scale closure of such latterly freight-only lines, the demolition of structures and disposal of permanent way, which has made many such re-openings less likely in future, thus effectively making the Beeching legacy permanent.

This is what the BR network would have looked like if Beeching's (II) plans had been implemented (all lines except those bolded would have been closed
This is what the BR network would have looked like if Beeching's (II) plans had been implemented (all lines except those bolded would have been closed

Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ...

Beeching II

In 1964, Dr. Beeching issued a second, less well-known, report "The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes" [6], widely known as "Beeching II", which went even further than the first report. The report singled out lines that were believed to be worthy of continued large-scale investment. 1964 (MCMLXIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1964 calendar). ...


Essentially, it proposed that all railway lines other than major inter-city routes and important commuter lines around big cities had little future and should eventually close. If the report had been implemented, the railway system would have been cut to just 7000 miles (11 260 km), leaving Britain with little more than a skeletal railway system, with large parts of the country entirely devoid of railways.


The report was rejected by the then Labour government and Dr. Beeching resigned in 1965. Although politicians were ultimately responsible for the rail closures, Dr. Beeching's name has become synonymous with them ever since. The Labour Party is a centre-left or social democratic political party in Britain (see British politics), and one of the United Kingdoms three main political parties. ... Year 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. ...


Changing attitudes and policies

It was in 1964, that a Labour government was elected under Prime Minister Harold Wilson. During the election campaign, Labour promised to halt the rail closures if elected. Once elected, however, they quickly backtracked on this promise, and the closures continued, at a faster rate than under the previous administration and until the end of the decade. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is, in practice, the political leader of the United Kingdom. ... James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, PC (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was one of the most prominent British politicians of the 20th century. ...


In 1965, Barbara Castle was appointed transport minister, and she began to look at the country's transport problems as a whole. Mrs. Castle decided that at least 11,000 route miles (17 700 km) of "basic railway" would be needed for the foreseeable future and that the railway system should be stabilised at around this size. Barbara Castle, Baroness Castle of Blackburn (October 6, 1910 – May 3, 2002), British left-wing politician, was born Barbara Anne Betts in Bradford, Yorkshire, and adopted her familys politics, joining the Labour Party. ...


However, towards the end of the 1960s it became increasingly clear that rail closures were not producing the promised savings or bringing the rail system out of deficit, and were unlikely ever to do so. Mrs. Castle also stipulated that some rail services that could not pay their way but had a valuable social role should be subsidised. However, by the time the legislation allowing this was introduced into the 1968 Transport Act, Section 39 of this Act made provision for a subsidy to be paid by the Treasury for a three year period. There were a number of services and railway lines that would have qualified and benefited from these subsidies, but a number had already been closed or removed, thus lessening the impact of the legislation. Nevertheless, a number of branch lines were saved by this legislation. The Transport Act 1968 (1968 c. ...


Overview

The closures failed in their main purpose of trying to restore the railways to profitability, with the promised savings failing to materialise. By closing almost a third of the rail network, Beeching managed to achieve a saving of just £7 million, whilst overall losses were running in excess of £100 million. These losses were mainly because the branch lines acted as feeders to the main lines, this feeder traffic was lost when the branches closed — in turn meaning less traffic for, and a worsening of the finances of the main lines, and the increasing vulnerability of the main line. The assumption at the time was that car owners would drive to the nearest railhead (which was usually the junction where the closed branch line would otherwise have taken them) and continue their journey onwards by train, but in practice having once left home in their cars, they used them for the whole journey. Another reason for Beeching plan's not achieving any great savings is that(perhaps ironically) the busiest commuter routes have always lost the greatest amount of money. Some of the worst performing rural lines in 1962 had costs so low that axing their services saved just a few hundred pounds, whilst millions were being lost on busy London commuter lines, which even Beeching realised would be a plotical and practical "disaster" to close. Karl Benzs Velo model (1894) - entered into the first automobile race An automobile or motor car (usually shortened to just car) is a wheeled passenger vehicle that carries its own motor. ...


The use of light railway concepts, already in use on some branch lines at the time of the report, was ignored by Beeching. Such concepts have since been successfully utilised by British Rail and its successors on lesser-used lines that survived the axe (such as the line from Ipswich to Lowestoft which survives as a "basic railway"). A Light rail system Historically, a railway built in Britain under the 1896 Light Railways Act This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


The "bustitution" policy which replaced rail services with buses also failed. In many cases the replacement bus services were far slower and less convenient than the train services they were meant to replace, resulting in them being extremely unpopular with the public. As a consequence of this, most of the replacement bus services only lasted a few years before they were removed due to a lack of patronage, thus effectively leaving large parts of the country without any means of public transport. In practice, this policy proved unsuccessful, as the travelling public never saw a bus service as a suitable replacement for a rail service. The term bustitution is a neologism sometimes used to describe the practice of replacing train service, whether street railways (light rail or tram/streetcar systems) or full-size railway systems, with a bus service, either on a temporary or permanent basis. ...


The closures were brought to a halt in the early 1970s when it became apparent that they were not useful, that the benefit of the small amount of money saved by closing railways was outweighed by the congestion and pollution caused by increasing reliance on cars which followed, and also by the general public's hatred of the cuts. The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, also called The Seventies. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... It has been suggested that Pollutant be merged into this article or section. ...


One of the last major railway closures (and possibly one of the most controversial) resulting from the Beeching Axe was of the 98-mile-long (158 km) Waverley Route main line between Carlisle, Hawick, and Edinburgh, in 1969; plans have since been made in 2006 with the approval of the Scottish Parliament to re-open a significant section of this line. With a few exceptions, after the early 1970s proposals to close other lines were met with vociferous public opposition and were quietly shelved; this opposition stemmed from the public's experience of the many line closures during the main years of the cuts in the mid and late 1960s. Today, Britain's railways, like nearly every other railway system in the world, still require a subsidy and run at a deficit. The Waverley Line is an abandoned railway line in Scotland that ran south from Edinburgh, through Midlothian and the Scottish Borders to Carlisle. ... This article is about the English city. ... , Edinburgh (() pronounced ; Scottish Gaelic: ) is the capital of Scotland and its second largest city. ... For the Stargate SG-1 episode, see 1969 (Stargate SG-1). ... For the national legislative body up to 1707, see Parliament of Scotland. ...


One of the major criticisms made of the Beeching report was that it failed to take into account future trends such as population growth and the greater demand for travel. The population of many of the towns which had their railways closed in the 1960s has now grown significantly since, leaving these towns more in need of rail transport. Unfortunately much of the land of railways closed during the Axe has since been sold off and built over, making the railways prohibitively expensive to re-open. This is as much a criticism of the policy since the Beeching closures of the wholesale disposal of former railway land rather than the protection of trackbeds using a system similar to the US Rail Bank scheme for possible future use. Human population increase from 10,000 BC – 2000 AD. Population growth is change in population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals in a population per unit time. ... A Rail Bank is a system whereby the right-of-way, land and route of a closed railway is preserved so that service can be restored if circumstances change at a later time. ...


In the early 1980s, under the government of Margaret Thatcher, the possibility of more Beeching-style cuts was raised again briefly. In 1983 Sir David Serpell, a civil servant who had worked with Dr Beeching, compiled what became known as the Serpell Report[7] which called for more rail closures. The report was met with fierce resistance from many quarters, and was quickly abandoned. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC (born October 13, 1925), former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in office from 1979 to 1990. ... Year 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar). ... The Serpell Report was produced by a committee chaired by Sir David Serpell, a senior civil servant. ...


Reopenings

Ironically, since the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, traffic levels have grown significantly and in some areas this has become close to gridlock. Hence in recent years there have been record levels of passengers on the railways, despite the fact that travelling by train is becoming more and more expensive. This in turn means that it is now more feasible to provide railway links to more rural areas. A modest number of the railway closures have therefore been reversed. Notable amongst these is the Robin Hood Line in Nottinghamshire, between Nottingham and Worksop via Mansfield, which reopened in the early 1990s. Previously Mansfield had been the largest town in Britain to have no rail link. The Robin Hood Line is a railway line running from Nottingham to Worksop, Nottinghamshire. ... Nottinghamshire (abbreviated Notts) is an English county in the East Midlands, which borders South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire. ... Nottingham is a city, unitary authority, and county town of Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands of England. ... Worksop is a town in the Bassetlaw district of Nottinghamshire, England on the River Ryton at the northern edge of Sherwood Forest. ... For other uses, see Mansfield (disambiguation). ... For the band, see 1990s (band). ...


In the West Midlands a new Birmingham Snow Hill station was opened in 1987 to replace the earlier Snow Hill station, which had been closed and demolished in the early 1970s. The tunnel underneath Birmingham city centre that served the station was also reopened, along with the line towards Kidderminster and Worcester. This introduced a new service between Birmingham and London, terminating at Marylebone. The former line from Snow Hill to Wolverhampton has been reopened as the Midland Metro tram system. The line from Coventry to Nuneaton was reopened to passengers in 1988. Despite the successful and potential re-opening of many rail routes as light-rail and metro lines, the concept is still under-threat due to the varying popularity of these schemes with successive governments (see Darling Axe). The County of West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a population of around 2,600,000 people. ... The station entrance Birmingham Snow Hill station is a railway station located in the centre of Birmingham, England. ... Year 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link displays 1987 Gregorian calendar). ... Birmingham (pron. ... Canal lock, with St Mary and All Saints Church in the distance Kidderminster is a town in the Wyre Forest district of Worcestershire, England. ... The city of Worcester (pronounced Wuh-ster) is the county town of Worcestershire in England; the river Severn runs through the middle, with the citys large Worcester Cathedral overlooking the river. ... Marylebone station or London Marylebone station is a National Rail and London Underground station in central London. ... Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. ... Midland Metro tram 05 approaching West Bromwich tram stop The Midland Metro is a light-rail tram system in the West Midlands of England. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Coventry to Nuneaton Line is a short branch line linking Coventry and Nuneaton in the West Midlands of England. ... Year 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday (link displays 1988 Gregorian calendar). ...


Beeching saw South Wales as a declining industrial region. As a result, it lost the majority of its network. Since 1983 it has experienced a major rail revival, with 32 new stations, and three lines reopened within 20 miles (32 km) of each other: AbercynonAberdare, BarryBridgend, and Bridgend–Maesteg. The Ebbw Valley Line is also scheduled to be re-opened. Approximate extent of South Wales South Wales (Welsh: ) is an area of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales to the north and west. ... Abercynon is a small village in the Cynon Valley, Wales. ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... Barry (Welsh: ) is a town in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. ... Bridgend (Welsh: Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr) is a town in the traditional county of Glamorgan and the main town in the county borough of Bridgend in south Wales. ... Maesteg is a Welsh town located at the northernmost end of the Llynfi Valley in the north of the Welsh county borough of Bridgend (Pen-y-Bont ar Ogwr) in the traditional county of Glamorgan (Morgannwg). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


In Scotland, a 35-mile (56 km) stretch of the former Waverley Route between Edinburgh and Galashiels is expected to be reopened in 2011 now that funding has been approved. The closure of the line in 1969 left the Scottish Borders area without any rail links. The Edinburgh-Bathgate line, reopening in 1985, was the first success of a new policy introduced by the Thatcher government of experimental reopenings that would become permanent only if well-used. It was and did. Plans are now in hand to reopen the section between Bathgate and Drumgelloch. More recently, a four-mile (6.4 km) section of the Argyle Line was reopened in December 2005, serving Chatelherault, Merryton and Larkhall for the first time since 1968. Also, after several years of 'false' promises dating to the 1980s, the railway from Stirling to Alloa and Kincardine is currently being rejuvenated, and will open in 2007, providing a passenger (and freight) route once again. Motto (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity Cha togar mfhearg gun dioladh (Scottish Gaelic) Wha daur meddle wi me?(Scots)1 Anthem (Multiple unofficial anthems) Scotlands location in Europe Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official languages English (de facto)1; Gaelic[1]2 and Scots3 (recognised minority... The Waverley Line is an abandoned railway line in Scotland that ran south from Edinburgh, through Midlothian and the Scottish Borders to Carlisle. ... , Edinburgh (() pronounced ; Scottish Gaelic: ) is the capital of Scotland and its second largest city. ... Bank Street Gardens, Galashiels ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... 2011 (MMXI) will be a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For the Stargate SG-1 episode, see 1969 (Stargate SG-1). ... Scottish Borders (often referred to locally as The Borders or The Borderland) is one of 35 local government unitary council areas of Scotland. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Year 1985 (MCMLXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays 1985 Gregorian calendar). ... The Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link is a proposed railway development in Central Scotland. ... The Argyle Line is a suburban railway located in West Central Scotland. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Chatelherault Country Park is a Park in Hamilton, Scotland. ... Larkhall is a town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland and is around 18 miles southeast of Glasgow. ...


In addition a small but significant number of closed stations have reopened, and passenger services been restored on lines where they had been removed. Many of these were in the urban metropolitan counties where Passenger Transport Executives have a role in promoting local passenger rail use. Several lines have also reopened as heritage railways; see List of British heritage and private railways. The six metropolitan counties shown within England The metropolitan counties are a type of county-level subnational entity in current use in England. ... In the United Kingdom, Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs) are local government bodies which are responsible for public transport within large urban areas. ... A scene on a heritage railway. ... This list of British heritage and private railways is intended as a list of railways (railroads) in Britain. ...


One effect of the Beeching closures which was not always immediately obvious was the single tracking of some formerly double track sections of line. In some cases - e.g. Princes Risborough (at one time the junction of four separate lines and an important railway town, after the closure of the GCR it was reduced to a single platform station) to Bicester singling was done but the line was re-doubled by Chiltern Railways in the early part of the 21st century. Another line which was singled was the line from Inverness to Dingwall which is now the major barrier to increasing the number of trains on the Far North Line from Inverness to Thurso and Wick. The West of England Main Line formerly an express route from London to the South-West, was singled and effectively reduced to a cross-country line, since at national level it was viewed as duplicating the Great Western Main Line. Princes Risborough is a town in Buckinghamshire, England, about 9 miles south of Aylesbury and 9 miles north west of High Wycombe. ... The Great Central Railway (GCR) was a railway company in England which came into being when the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway changed its name in 1897 on the completion of its London Extension. ... Bicester (Pronunciation: /ˡbɪstə/) is a town in the Cherwell district of north-eastern Oxfordshire in England, and at the 2001 UK census had a population of 28,672 (parish), 31,113 (urban area). ... Inverness (Scottish Gaelic: ) is the only city in the Highland council area and the Highlands of Scotland (and is considered the unofficial capital). ... See Dingwall (name) for the Scottish family name. ... This article refers to the town in Scotland. ... Location within the British Isles Noted point: Designer musician Douglas More hails from Wick! Wick (Inbhir Uige in Gaelic) is an estuary town in Caithness, in the Highland area of Scotland, on the main highway (the A99-A9 road) linking John O Groats with southern Britain. ... The West of England Main Line is the British railway line from London Waterloo to Exeter. ... Maidenhead Railway Bridge The Great Western Main Line is a main line railway in England that runs westwards from London Paddington station to Temple Meads station in Bristol. ...


Notwithstanding the positive environmental implications of a reopening, many of the areas along these routes have expanded and grown over the last 40 years. Where some lines were not profitable in 1963 (on a backdrop of falling passenger numbers and a rise in car use on uncongested roads) they could well be profitable now, or at least could have a desirable and impact on reducing road congestion, pollution and congestion on the railway lines that have remained open, and thus be worth operating with a government subsidy. However in many instances it would be prohibitively expensive for lines closed by the Beeching Axe to be reopened; although it was not stipulated in the report, since Beeching there has been a policy of disposing of surplus-to-requirements railway land. Therefore many bridges, cuttings and embankments have been removed and the land sold off for development; closed station buildings on remaining lines have often been either demolished or sold.


References

  1. ^ http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/docSummary.php?docID=23
  2. ^ http://www.bilderberg.org/railways.htm
  3. ^ http://www.rodneyb.demon.co.uk/marples_trading_companies.htm
  4. ^ http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/docSummary.php?docID=13
  5. ^ Passengers No More: by G.Daniels & L.A.Dench Ian Allan(1975) ISBN 0-7110-0438-2
  6. ^ http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/docSummary.php?docID=14
  7. ^ http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/docSummary.php?docID=29

See also

The list of closed railway stations in Britain includes the following. ... This is a list of towns and cities in Great Britain with no railway station. ...

Further reading

  • Forgotten Railways: by H.P. White (1986) ISBN 0-946537-13-5.
  • The Great Railway Conspiracy: by David Henshaw (1994) ISBN 0-948135-48-4.
  • British Railways after Beeching: by G. Freeman Allen, Ian Allan.(1966) (No ISBN)
  • BR 1948 - 1973: by T.R.Gourvish Cambridge.(1974)

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Beeching Axe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2380 words)
The Beeching Axe was an informal name for the British Government's attempt in the 1960s to control the spiralling cost of running the British railway system by closing what it considered to be little-used and unprofitable railway lines.
Beeching believed the railway system should be run like a business and not a public service, and that if parts of the railway system did not pay their way—like some rural branch lines— they should be eliminated.
Beeching made a study of traffic on all the railway lines in the country and concluded that 80% of the traffic was carried on just 20% of the network, with much of the rest of the system carrying little traffic and operating at a loss.
Richard Beeching - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1261 words)
Beeching was born in Maidstone, Kent, the second of four brothers.
A set of proposals for the future of the railways that came to be known as the "Beeching Plan" was adopted by the Government, resulting in the closure of a third of the rail network and the scrapping of a third of a million freight wagons, much as Stedeford had foreseen and fought against.
Beeching resigned in 1965 after recommendations in one of his reports were rejected by the government.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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