Beeching in reverse?

01 December 2015

Dr Beeching’s report and the subsequent railway closures has always struck a chord. Seems to be a kind of national turning point – even though, in reality, it was actually part of a very long-running process of closures.

So, when a new railway starts up or is re-opened it seems to trigger real emotion and interest. The new Borders Railway is struggling to cope with passengers, having to, ironically, put on buses at busy times.

The opening of the new Chiltern Railways service to Oxford Parkway has not managed to cause such a stir but did move the columnist Peter Hitchens to rare optimism! He said:

‘I’ll regret this, I know I will. I always do when I try optimism. But I do feel something approaching joy that my home town, Oxford, has just acquired a new railway station and a new route to London.

For decades I’ve watched the thoughtless building of new roads, and the ripping up of perfectly good railway lines, a grave policy mistake that has messed up our landscape and wrecked a great British industry. Could this serial blunder at last be over? I doubt it. But for a few weeks, I’ll hope so.’

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