Beeching’s vandalism challenged

15 June 2009

Keith Norman, general secretary of ASLEF, today offered the union’s full backing to calls by ATOC to reverse many of the rail line closures of the infamous 1960s Beeching Rail line cuts. ‘Beeching’s report amounted to social vandalism,’ says Keith. ‘That report went to Tory transport minister Ernest Marples, a politician who combined avarice and ignorance. We should not forget that Marples was the director of a road construction company, and that he considered railways to be relics of the past.’


Now the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has called for many lines axed by Beeching and Marples to be reopened in order to link expanding towns to the rail network.


‘ATOC says there is a strong business case for opening 14 lines and 40 new stations in England. ASLEF believes there is an even stronger social and environmental argument. The combination of the two makes a very compelling argument that I hope the government will respond to in a positive way. We will certainly continue to press the case for reversing the cuts,’ Keith added.

ATOC has called for the reopening of more than 30 lines, the top 14 of which are:

  • Hythe - Hampshire
  • Brixham - Devon
  • Bordon - Hampshire
  • Fleetwood - Lancashire
  • Rawtenstall - Lancashire
  • Aldridge - West Midlands
  • Brownhills - West Midlands
  • Cranleigh - Surrey
  • Ringwood - Hampshire
  • Washington (Leemside) - Tyne and Wear
  • Leicester to Burton - Derbyshire
  • Skelmersdale - Lancashire
  • Ashington and Blyth - Northumberland
  • Wisbech - Cambridgeshire


In 1948 the rail network extended to 19,598 route miles and 6,685 stations. Thanks to Beeching, Marples and other vandals today those figures stand at 9,828 and 2,517 respectively.

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