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Railway Renaissance (Hardback)

Britain's Railways After Beeching

Transport History Trains and Railways

By Gareth David
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 330
ISBN: 9781473862005
Published: 19th September 2017

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When a 35 mile stretch of the former Waverley route from Edinburgh to Carlisle reopened on 6 September 2015, it became the most significant reopening of any UK railway since the infamous Beeching Report ,'The re-shaping of British Railways', was published in March 1963.

In his report, Dr Riochard Beeching recommended sweeping closures of lines across the UK to improve the financial performance of British railways, which led to wholesale closures over the following decade and a reduction in the UK rail network from 18,000 miles in 1963, to some 11,000 miles a decade later.

But since that low point was reached in the early 1970s a revolution has been taking place. Passenger traffic on the railways is now at its highest level since the 1940s and from Alloa to Aberdare, as well as from Mansfield to Maesteg, closed lines have reopened and the tide of Beeching closures has been gradually rolled back. Scores of stations have been reopened and on many of the newly revived lines, passenger traffic is far exceeding the forecasts used to support their reopening.

In this comprehensive survey of new and reopened railways and stations across England, Scotland and Wales, Gareth David asks what it tells us about Dr Beechings report, looking at how lines that were earmarked for closure in that report, but escaped the axe, have fared and reviews the host of further routes, which are either set to be reopened or are the focus of reopening campaigns.

Well-thought-out volume.

Best of British, September 2018 – reviewed by David Brown

This book offers a useful and enthusiastic survey of its subject and is well illustrated.

Railway & Canal Historical Society

As featured as prize part of crossword competition

Rail, 28th February 2018

As featured in

Rail, 14th - 27th February 2018

A controversial issue that puts in check a whole administration, sowing doubts about the partisan defense of the interests of the State.


Read the complete Spanish review here.

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

As featured in

Essence Magazine

We are extreely fortunate, where we live in North Norfolk, to have one of the country's foremost heritage railways, preserved and run by a dedicated team of people - the station remains the centrepiece for the annual 1940s weekend celebrations, and regular steam excursions take place throughout the year. Gareth David's superb book looks at the defiant renaissance of such heritage railways up and down the country, in contrast to Beeching's vision of a streamlined railway network, and the country is better for it in terms of the benefits these lines bring to their local economies. A fascinating look at how Beeching got it spectacularly wrong.

Books Monthly

That the author is extremely-passionate about his subject is very evident, although the end-result (at least for this reviewer), is a volume best-described as being ‘Intense’. That detail notwithstanding (and due to the quantity and quality of the information it contains), this book has the potential to become an authoritative work on its subject It is likely to be of use to individuals and organisations involved in the reopening of railways closed as a result of Doctor Beeching’ Report. In addition, groups and Councils involved in regional development within the United Kingdom may also find it informative and useful. Due to the photographs it contains, modellers of Twenty-first Century British railways may also find that it has use as a source book for rolling stock, infrastructure and land-forms.

NZ Crown Mines

About Gareth David

Gareth David was a business journalist who worked on a number of national newspapers before moving into financial public relations. He is a life-long railway enthusiast who has travelled most of the UK rail network and many of the narrow gauge railways across Europe. He has also travelled the entire Albanian railway network. During his career in public relations, he was a founder director of Grand Central Railway Company, and helped launch its 'Open Access' services from Sunderland to London Kings Cross in 2007. Gareth is a working volunteer on the Mid-Hants Railway.

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