Holding the Line
HOLDING THE LINE
HOW BRITAIN’S RAILWAYS WERE SAVED
Richard Faulkner and Chris Austin
Written by two authors with inside information and connections to the governments involved, Holding the Line reveals, for the very first time, an explosive account of how repeated attempts were made by governments of all political complexions to destroy the railway network during the second half of the twentieth century. Whether by drastic programmes of closure or death by financial starvation, the threat was ever present, and had these plans gone ahead, only a handful of lines would have survived and the network destroyed forever.
In the run up to the 50th Anniversary of Beeching’s Report of 1963 now is the time to re-evaluate the past and learn the lessons. Trimming at the margins still remains a compelling argument for today’s policy makers unaware of history, and the risk remains that disastrous mistakes of the past could easily be repeated. With the recent focus of the McNulty Report on cost cutting in the railway industry, the timing of this book could not be more relevant, as the past is vital to understanding today’s railway as the industry struggles to meet the increasing demands made of it.
Written by two leading figures in the railway industry at the time, Lord Faulkner, public affairs adviser to the BR Board and Chris Austin, a top level manager with BR and later the Strategic Rail Authority and ATOC, who draw on official documents, including cabinet papers, to reveal how close the railway industry came to being eviscerated and how the misuse of statistics mean that the dangers of closure remain ever present today. Also included are interviews and contributions from many of the most significant players over the last 50 years of railway history.
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