Saturday, 29 October 2011

Ballater Railway Station - 12

Well, the Royal Train has arrived at the platform and awaits Her Majesty.

How sad the line is no longer open. It was part of the Beeching Cuts.

The Beeching Axe or the Beeching Cuts are informal names for the British Government's attempt in the 1960s to reduce the cost of running British Railways, the nationalised railway system in the United Kingdom. The name is that of the main author of The Reshaping of British Railways, Dr Richard Beeching. Although this report also proposed new modes of freight service and the modernisation of trunk passenger routes, it is remembered for recommending wholesale closure of what it considered little-used and unprofitable railway lines, the removal of stopping passenger trains and closure of local stations on other lines that remained open.

The report was a reaction to significant losses that had begun in the 1950s as the expansion in road transport began to attract passengers and goods from the railways; losses which continued to bedevil British Railways despite the introduction of the railway Modernisation Plan of 1955. Beeching proposed that only drastic action would save the railways from increasing losses in the future.

Successive governments were more keen on the cost-saving elements of the report rather than those requiring investment. More than 4,000 miles (6,400 km) of railway and 3,000 stations closed in the decade following the report, a reduction of 25 per cent of route miles and 50 per cent of stations. To this day, Beeching's name is unfavourably synonymous with mass closure of railways and loss of many local services. This is particularly so in parts of the country that suffered most from cuts.

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