While the Beeching report of 60 years ago is best remembered for the closure of a third of our railway network, it proposed investment and improvement in some areas, particularly freight and long-distance passenger services. Some of these proposals were then seen as radical, but were they as original as generally thought? EVAN GREEN-HUGHES set out to find out.
LAST MONTH we examined how the Beeching report was in reality an acceleration of policies that had been already under way, in some cases for many years, and which had already involved the closure of many miles of railway line in the UK. However, the report was not entirely about retrenchment as it contained proposals for extensive modernisation and investment in the system. Included in these were new marshalling yards, the Freightliner container service, Merry-Go-Round working for coal trains as well as the establishment of a network of fast inter-city passenger routes.