The Beeching Report
March’s Object of the Month marks 60 years since the infamous “Beeching Report” by Dr Richard Beeching was published. A report that led to the axing of a huge number of train services throughout the country.
Dr Beeching was appointed to the post of Chairman of the British Railways Board in 1961. After years of the railways trying to complete with the rapidly developing road network for business, British Rail was at that time losing over £140million a year. Beeching’s brief as Chairman was to reduce the running costs of the railways and ‘make the railways pay’.
His solution was outlined two years later on 27th March 1963 when he published his infamous report, The Reshaping of British Railways. In it he proposed the closure of 2,363 stations and 6,000 miles of railway line across the country. His aim was to make huge savings in culling unprofitable lines and closing little-used stations.
Despite widespread protest from communities threatened with the loss of their local train service the closures went ahead. By the end of the 1960’s ‘Beeching’s Axe’ had fallen on 2,128 stations, over 3,600 miles of track and more than 67,000 railway jobs.
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