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 analysis of Beeching’s flawed approach to closures has unearthed strong evidence of a ‘stitch-up’ – the Beeching Report ignored the scope for sensible economies which would have allowed a significant number of axed routes to survive and prosper.
David Spaven traces the birth, life and eventual death of Scotland’s branch lines, and outlines the controversial closure process through the unique stories of how a dozen routes lost their trains in the 1960s: the lines to Ballachulish, Ballater, Callander, Crail, Crieff, 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 and the climate emergency.
Features rarely seen photographic material including 96 photographs and maps.
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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