- New paperback edition of a hardback best-seller
- Shows how close Britain’s railways came to total annihilation and warns that the threat to parts of the network has never gone away
At its zenith, there were 21,000 route miles of railway in Britain. Today the country’s railways deliver more passenger miles than they did at their greatest extent despite a drastic reduction in the size of the network. Those cuts were the result of a campaign by a number of individuals who believed, erroneously as the passing of time has shown, that railways were a thing of the past and an impediment to progress.
Although the process of railway closures started early, it gained momentum in the 1950s and in the harrowing years following the publication of the Beeching report. However, as the original research by the authors of this book reveals, it could have been much worse and there were plans to reduce the size of the network even more drastically, to the point where only a few lines would have survived.
An understanding of what happened in the past is vital to understanding how today’s railways struggle to meet the demands imposed on them. Trimming at the margins remains an attractive option for some policy makers who do not comprehend what happened in the past and the risk remains that previous errors may be revisited. Now available in paperback for the first time, this book shows how close Britain’s railways came to being eviscerated and how the dangers of closure by stealth still exist, even today.