Disconnected! Broken Links in Britain's Rail Policy
By Chris Austin and Richard Faulkner.
Item code: DBLBRB.
The Beeching closures and those of the 1970s and 1980s left a lot of gaps in Britain's railway network and a legacy of inadequate capacity. Which lines should Beeching and his successor have kept, and what lessons can we learn from the closures today? Award winning authors Chris Austin and Richard Faulkner reveal the real stories behind some of the most controversial closures and draw some important conclusions for today's transport planners and politicians. They also pay tribute to some of the whistleblowers of earlier years, without whose intervention, the railway would be much smaller than it is today.
As well as the closure of key routes that would add value to the network today, the authors look at the loss of many city centre stations that have stretched capacity at the remaining stations and inhibited the growth of services. Meticulously researched, this book also draws on the professional experience of the authors and includes much material never published before.
Following the success of Holding the Line, which quickly sold out, Disconnected! tells the story of the flawed policy behind the later closures, the successes of reopened lines and the need to safeguard routes for the future. It makes a strong case for an increase of around 10% in the size of the network to meet today's transport needs. Illustrated with a good selection of images never before published, this is a book for policy analysts, planners, social historians and economists, as well as anyone who is passionate about Britain's railways.
About the authors
Richard Faulkner, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, is an active member of the House of Lords. He lists transport as one of his primary interests and is actively involved in a number of railway-oriented bodies and is currently president of the Heritage Railway Association.
Chris Austin OBE worked in the railway industry for over 40 years and was BR's Director of Policy in the run-up to privatisation. He was awarded the OBE in 2006 and is currently a Board Member of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail and Chairman of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust. He is Head of Railfuture's Infrastructure & Networks Group and is also responsible for liaison with its President and Vice Presidents.
Comments by co-author
In Railwatch issue 146 (December 2015) Chris Austin wrote the following:
Over the years, Railfuture has put a lot of work into reopening railway lines and stations, and when my co-author Richard Faulkner and I started to write our book on reopenings, we knew we could rely on Railfuture members to come up with some great ideas. Back in 2013, I invited members to submit ideas, setting out the case for the lines they proposed, and we would consider them for inclusion in the book. A number of the lines suggested have been featured, including Skipton-Colne, the Kinross line (the direct route between Edinburgh and Perth), St Andrews, the Minsters Line (York-Beverley) and the Somerset and Dorset, although we have not recommended that every one should be reopened.
The winner, though, was Adrian Caltieri from Northallerton with a well-argued case for restoring the Leeds Northern route between Harrogate and Northallerton. This would take the pressure off the busy York-Newcastle line and provide a more resilient alternative to support the seven-day railway, as well as serving the cathedral city of Ripon and providing better access to the conference centre and spa resort of Harrogate. He also threw in a link with Leeds-Bradford airport for good measure.
Thirty five lines are covered in detail, and each has its own sad story of missed opportunities. We also cover the loss of some great city centre stations and the great network of overnight sleeping car trains that used to cover the country. The 28-year saga of active campaigning on East West Rail shows just how difficult it has been to make progress. Yet the list of lines needed to meet today's requirements would add a modest 8% to the length of the national network – we believe an entirely achievable figure. While Railfuture colleagues contributed ideas, the research has informed my views as head of the infrastructure and networks group for Railfuture. A win-win situation, which well reflects the results of line reopenings to date.
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