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Charles Loft, "Government, the Railways and the Modernization of Britain: Beeching's Last Trains (British Politics and Society)"
Publisher: Frank Cass | 2006 | ISBN 0714653381 | PDF | 214 pages | 1.37 MB
When Dr. Richard Beeching, the Chairman of British Railways, presented his report on the future of the rail system in March 1963, he ensured that his name would forever be associated with cutbacks and consolidation. The Beeching Report recommended the closure of a third of the country's railways: a plan that went ahead despite heavy opposition and transformed the way the British live, and the kind of country they live in. In this book, Charles Loft places current issues in transport policy in historical and cultural context: he examines why the nationalized railways were in such dire financial straits by 1963; how the government's conclusions on future transport-work would have cut Britain's railways down by even more than Beeching; and what eventually stopped successive governments implementing such cuts. In bringing the story of government railway policy up to date, the book asks what Beeching's legacy is now, and whether the lessons of the 'fifties and 'sixties have been heeded since privatization. This book examines the politics behind the programme and argues that Beeching's apparent ruthlessness was an attempt to impose logic on railway finances as well as a response to the failures of fifteen years of public ownership. A case study of the complexities of transport policy and the political pitfalls of implementing massive changes, this study holds relevance today. It will be invaluable to anyone interested in how transport policy is made, or how it has arrived at its current state, and sheds fascinating new light on the working of government, the economy and the mood of the times under Churchill, Eden, Macmillan and Wilson.
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