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ISBN: 9781839830532
Published: 06 Jun 2024
Format: Paperback
Extent: 320
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Imprint: Origin
Categories:
History / Local history
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About the Book

The infamous ‘Beeching Axe’ swept away virtually every Scottish branch line in the 1960s. Conventional wisdom viewed these losses as regrettable yet inevitable in an era of growing affluence and rising car ownership.

This ground-breaking study of Dr Beeching’s approach to closures has unearthed – from rarely or never previously referenced archive sources – strong evidence of a ‘stitch-up’, ignoring the scope for sensible economies and improvements which would have allowed a significant number of axed routes to survive and prosper. Acclaimed railway historian David Spaven traces the birth, life and eventual death of Scotland’s branch lines through the unique stories of how a dozen routes lost their trains in the 1960s: the lines to Ballachulish, Ballater, Callander, Crail, Crieff /Comrie, Fraserburgh, Kelso, Kilmacolm, Leven, Peebles, Peterhead and St Andrews.

He concludes by exploring a potential renaissance of branch lines, propelled by concerns over road congestion, vehicle pollution and the climate emergency.


The Author

David Spaven

David Spaven has spent his working life in and around the rail industry. His first book, the award-winning Mapping the Railways, was published by Times Books/HarperCollins in 2011. Highland Survivor: The Story of the Far North Line, published by Kessock Books in 2016, was also an award-winner. He is the author of the best-selling Railway Atlas of Scotland (Birlinn, 2015).

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