Beeching rail protests

Rail campaigners are marking the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report today by staging protests against cost-cutting. The report, published in 1963, led to a savage axing of train routes and stations.

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Fifty years on since the Beeching Report on railways

Today, marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Beeching Report that called for the axing of 5,000 miles of train routes and more than 2,000 of the country's railway stations.

Between 1964 and 1970, 5,224 route miles and 1,434 stations were closed.

The Reshaping of British Railways report was chaired by Dr Richard Beeching. Credit: Twitter/National Rail

Rail campaigners will today protest against cost-cutting on the railways over concerns that recent cuts outlined in a Whitehall-commissioned report by Sir Roy McNulty, often seen as a "Beeching mark two", will impact on rail safety.

Read: What is the Beeching Report?

CBT: Heroes and villains of the last 50 years of railways

Today, protests will be staged across the country against cost-cutting on the railways.

The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) picked out three villains and three heroes of the last 50 years of the railways.

The villains were:

Dr Richard Beeching; author of the report which led to the axing of many railway stations and train routes.

Tom Fraser, minister for transport for 1964-65 for ensuring the cuts went ahead.

Sir Alfred Sherman, co-founder of Centre for Policy Studies, "for actively promoting converting railways to roads".

Sir Alfred Sherman in 1987 Credit: PA/PA Archive

The Heroes were:

Barbara Castle, transport minister from 1965 to 1968, for giving large urban areas control of their rail systems.

Barbara Castle in 1969 Credit: PA/PA Archive

Peter Parker, British Rail chairman 1977 to 1983, for restoring the reputation and pride of the railways.

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone and current Mayor Boris Johnson "for showing how investment and locally-responsive management can transform rail services".

Boris Johnson talks to Ken Livingstone (left) last year Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Unions to protest at 35 train stations nationwide

Rail campaigners will protest against cost-cutting on the railways today to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report.

Unions are concerned that recent cuts outlined in a Whitehall-commissioned report by Sir Roy McNulty, often seen as a "Beeching mark two", will impact on rail safety.

Today the Unions will take part in a TUC Action for Rail campaign event by holding protests at 35 stations nationwide.

The TUC fears cost cutting could, over the next six years, lead to:

  • More than 20,000 railway jobs put at risk
  • The closure of 675 ticket offices
  • A 50% increase in the number of unstaffed stations

What is the Beeching Report?

On March 27th 1963 the British Railways Board, chaired by Dr Richard Beeching, produced a report that called for the axing of 5,000 miles of train routes and more than 2,000 of the country's railway stations.

At that time railways were losing money and the report, 'Reshaping of British Railways', was ordered to save costs.

Dr Richard Beeching Credit: PA/PA Archive

Between 1964 and 1970, 5,224 route miles and 1,434 stations were closed.

Although ultimately it was the politicians who decided on the cuts, many rail unions see Dr Beeching as the archetypal axeman.

To others he was the man hired to do a cost-saving job.

To read more on the Beeching Report, visit ITV News Meridian.

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Rail campaigners protest against cost-cutting

Rail campaigners will today mark the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report by staging protests against cost-cutting at stations nationwide.

The report, published in 1963, led to a savage axing of train routes and stations.

Read: The rail journey into 2013 just got more expensive

Narborough railway station was closed in 1968 following the Beeching Report but reopened in 1970 following public objections Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Opinion remains divided on what long-term effects Richard Beeching's recommendations had, with rail travel more popular than ever, and more trains now running than in the year before the report.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said said rail firms are "intent" on repeating the work of Dr Beeching, "by embarking upon a new era of swingeing railway cuts".

Read: Overhaul of entire rail franchising system