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. You can learn more by clicking on the link https://birlinn.co.uk/product/scotlands-lost-branch-lines/
Seen here on 1st March 1967, a month before the last freight train departed, the railway estate at Penicuik had changed little since 1951 passenger closure, with paper mill traffic and coal wagons dominant. Norman Turnbull