Tue Oct 21 2014

BBC Radio 4, 11:00 tomorrow, Reversing Dr Beeching programme looks worth a listen

Categories: RAILBlog

This looks like a BBC broadcast worth catching, either live or by iPlayer. I know Scotland has been busy developing railways this last couple of decades but it surprised me to see no fewer than 62 stations reopened.

It broadcasts tomorrow at 11:00 on Radio 4 but will be available on the iPlayer afterwards. The synopsis given is:

BBC Radio 4 24th June 2011 at 11:00 (Reversing Dr Beeching)

Without much fanfare, Scotland has been systematically reversing Dr Beeching's cuts to rural rail services. In the last 30 years, 62 railway stations in Scotland have reopened- more than anywhere else in the British Isles. In December 2009 the Airdrie to Bathgate Line which had been closed to regular passenger trafficsince 1956 started to run again. The reopened service brought rail to an area which had lived without it for half a century. Rail reopenings have enjoyed a cross party consensus in Scotland - but can the programme survive public spending cutbacks?

Certainly something I shall be tuning into! Let me know what you think.


Date (Newest First) - Date (Oldest First) - Rating (High to Low) - Rating (Low to High)
Comment by:Simon Stoddart
Comment left:10:34:58
Mar 23, 2013

Station reopenings were happening all the time in BR days - within the constraints it had to operate under, there was always something going on and if the likes of Chris Green had had the money he would've gone further and reopened Lewes to Uckfield and Luton to Dunstable. Nowadays - line reopenings are confined to Wales and Scotland and in England, station reopenings are rare in comparison to BR's efforts.

Comment by:Max Blinkhorn
Comment left:22:32:21
Mar 17, 2012

It's not good to compare England and Scotland in terms of anything. Scotland is much less densely populated, Edinburgh and Glasgow have overlapping conurbations well served by the new Edinburgh-Bathgate-Airdrie-Glasgow and other lines. Scotland's housing spread is much less restricted than England as we have the room.

Comment by:George Bathurst (website)
Comment left:12:04:58
Jun 08, 2012

I think many of the Beeching cuts can be reversed. Especially in the south of England the demographics have changed so dramatically that many of these lines would now be very profitable. The problem is that Network Rail's planning model only looks at existing rail usage not potential usage. For example, they have previously identified capacity problems between Windsor and Slough. They have not, however, identified any capacity problem between Slough and Bracknell because there is no railway. Ditto, Maidenhead to High Wycombe: there is no capacity problem because there is no current service. The Windsor Link Railway is looking at restoring these links and doing it privately so that costs can be better managed.

Comment by:fandroid
Comment left:14:33:26
Jan 20, 2012

It's always convenient to blame Dr Beeching for every line closure that we now wish (with immaculate hindsight) had never happened. Airdrie to Bathgate's closure to passengers in 1956 predated the good doctor's appointment as BR chairman by five years! There were lots of closures in the 1950s. The Beeching report was an attempt to rationalise this ad-hoc process (as well as to save a huge amount of money)

Comment by:Ben Oldfield
Comment left:10:26:14
Apr 16, 2012

Beaching did not reduce the costs as he predicted. Cost of running the closed lines were inflated and passengers without convenient stations went by car.

Comment by:Neil
Comment left:20:25:54
Apr 04, 2012

@fandroid Nothing to do with hindsight. It was known at the time. Check out cabinet docs on National Archive. Beeching had no foresight and failed to see knock-on effects. Quite a handicap given the position of power he had.


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