Friday, January 5, 2007 at 12:32 pm

The Beeching Axe

Jump to Comments

The Beeching Axe refers to the 1963 Beeching Report, which recommended the closure of a number of rail services in the UK. In the wake of the report, branch lines were abandoned; for the most part, rail service retreated to trunk lines. (To a certain extent, the Beeching Axe resembles later retrenchments by Amtrak and VIA Rail.) To say the least, it was quite controversial, even in its road-centred time: the need for the closures was questioned; lots of communities lost rail service in favour of buses that never really materialized; and the core network suffered once freight traffic fed to it by now-abandoned branch lines was lost.

There’s quite a bit about the Beeching Axe online. Start with the Wikipedia entry, which like most railway-related entries is quite thorough. This page questions the rationale for the cuts. Joyce’s World of Transport Eclectica has a page of maps before and after the “axe” fell. The report is also available online: part one is the report itself; part two contains the maps.

Via Things Magazine. Previously on The Map Room: British Railways, Past and Present.

Comments are closed.