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Fifty years to the day since the 'Beeching Cuts'

Today marks fifty years since the Beeching Cuts which led to the closure of hundreds of rural railways lines and stations across the country.

The Government of the day was desperate to reduce heavy losses being made by the railway - as people decided to travel more by road. Dr Richard Beeching, who was from Kent, recommended closing more than 2,000 stations and 6,000 miles of track - around a third of the network.

The impact on jobs was massive - 67,000 lost. While it meant fare rises of ten percent for passengers.

ITV Meridian has been doing a series of reports about the cuts and the dramatic changes they made to our rail network, here in the South and South East. Click here to see our reports.

The Beeching cuts & the traditional dining car

Fifty years ago tonight the infamous Dr Richard Beeching was putting the finishing touches to his report that would see the closure of thousands of stations and rail lines. The twenty-seventh of March 2013 marks five decades since the publication of the report that led to the end of steam.

However steam made a return in the South today, during the morning rush hour. The Cathedrals Express ran from Newbury to Canterbury with passengers at some stations seeing a steam train stop there for the first time since the 'sixties.

The Beeching cuts, and the event of fewer people using trains, meant it was the beginning of the end of traditional dining cars. But, as you can see in our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse's report, the dining carriages are also now back on track.

The interviewees are: Karen Aylett, a Pullman Host; and Dan Panes from First Great Western.