The Beeching Axe
The Reshaping of British Railways (1963)
Dr. Beeching - Date unknown Anonymous photographer.

The Beeching Axe, also known as the Beeching cuts, refers to the reduction of Britain's railway network outlined in two reports, "The Reshaping of British Railways (1963)", and "The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes (1965)", written by Dr. Richard Beeching.

The objective was to stem large losses being incurred during a period of increasing competition from road transport and to reduce the rail subsidies necessary to keep the network running.

Protests resulted in the saving of some stations and lines, but the majority were closed as planned and Beeching's name remains associated with the mass closure of railways and the loss of many local services in the period that followed.

In the ten years between 1963 and 1973 - 4,065 miles were closed.

A few of these routes have since reopened while some short sections have been preserved as Heritage Railways.

Other routes have been incorporated into the National Cycle Network, turned into roads, lost to construction, reverted to farm land, or remain derelict.

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