The Reshaping of British Railways
Part 1 Report and Part 2 Maps
Date of publication: Janaury 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
The Reshaping of British Railways is a piece of railway history every dedicated enthusiast will want in their collection.
Bradshaw’s Guide has given birth to a wave of nostalgia for our Victorian and Edwardian railway systems. The Reshaping of British Railways, another facsimile which will fascinate train buffs, is the document that decimated these systems forever.
With the British Rail company’s failure, by the early 1960s, to stem the network’s huge annual losses, the government turned to Dr Richard Beeching. He was to save money by recommending the cutting of redundant routes and services. His two reports, The Reshaping of British Railways (1963) and The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes (1965), were published by the British Railways Board in 1965, and offer a fascinating snapshot of our nation’s railways.
In the first part of this historic facsimile, Dr Beeching identifies the 2,363 stations and 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of railway line for closure - over 50% of all stations and 30% of route miles. The second part recommends a small number of major remaining routes for significant investment.
Well documented nationwide protests resulted in the saving of some stations and lines, but the majority were closed as planned and Beeching's name is to this day associated with the mass closure of railways and the loss of many local services in the period that followed.
Now, for the first time, this iconic piece of railway history is available in its entirety, complete with the original tables and maps of routes deemed fit for closure.