Britain’s Railways

I suspect that historians will judge the trashing of Britains railway network to have been a disaster of historic proportions. Of course too many routes were run in a traditional fashion unchanged from Edwardian Britain, but radical changes in operating procedures would have greatly reduced the losses generated. The Beeching Report’s findings were enthusiastically endorsed and implemented by the Labour governments of 1964 and 1966 administrations which were heavily dependent for funds from unions associated with road industry associations. Some reduction of Britain’s railway mileage was probably inevitable, but the speed and nihilistic way in which the report’s recommendations were pursued by the Wilson administration was outrageous. I doubt it is now cost-effective to build high-speed lines in Britain. The existing 225 km/h line limit is surely fast enough, and we should focus on providing resources to improve the existing service.

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