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Oh! Mr Beeching, Where Are We Now?

It is easy to see where the original running lines were located, after the points at either end of the platforms were removed the mainlines were slewed to make a smoother approach to the platforms.

 

Beaconsfield was a nice little station and would make a good model for anyone seeking a viable exhibition layout. The line had not got an intensive service but the variety of motive power seen was considerable. Freight trains were hauled by a varied collection of locos from LMR, ER, GWR and standard types. Local services were hauled by GCR/ER types with a collection of LMR and standard thrown in and a “smattering” of Western occasionally. Expresses were hauled by any GWR locos you could think of out of Paddington and intermixed with ER and standard locos out of Marylebone, the B1 class comes particularly to mind, but it wasn’t the only class to be seen.

 

The late ‘50s were Nirvana for King class fans. The class was completely overhauled at Swindon, re-draughted with double chimneys added, ready for the electrification of the WCML route, to enable Birmingham expresses to run unhindered by the work and reduce the loadings on that mainline. Those who are in favour of HS2 should note the success of that alternate route and the ability to run trains through to Wolverhampton and the North. In this era also the Metro-Camel blue trains ran this route: so the many blue trains I have seen on models running spurious and odd routes in spurious and odd places does not apply. They ran regularly here back and forth daily. Beaconsfield also possessed a small freight yard and I remember sitting happily on top of the embankment watching the daily pickup freight arrive at the up platform at mid-morning and its 22xx 0-6-0 shunt the yard and then clear off to Gerrards Cross and points east.

Sorry, despite a fairly intensive search of the net and my own library, I have been unable to find a good picture or plan of the yard. The best I can manage is this old OS map; the dotted line represents the four tracks through the station which merge to two either side of the station area.

 

The Waverly route is again coming under scrutiny. It has not long been opened along a portion over its length (Edinburgh to Tweedbank) with parts of as a single line suburban route, much to my and others chagrin. The line was reopened despite many saying that it would obviously eventually have to be extended to its original length with the final connection to the Settle and Carlisle route. The powers that be however decided  that opening it with parts as single track was the cheapest option. However when this decision implemented it was soon obvious that “one train in section” prevented the utilisation of the line to its greatest extent. The construction firm which undertook the work also advised that because of the nature of the terrain over which the line passed, the old infrastructure which still existed on the singled sections, would render the work which was then being carried out a waste of time, and it would have to be scrapped and redone if it was to be a modern duel tracked line.

 

The line was opened with great fanfare  in 2015 and has proved very successful despite the limitations. So successful that in 2018 there is a move already to redevelop the whole line to the junction with the Settle & Carlisle. We have again another organ of government which is only thinking short term and more money will be poured away because of it. Where in heavens name has the Victorian spirit gone in the UK, they had the right idea, build for the future.

 

If only we treated railways as a “National Asset” (as Europe does) in this country rather than, in theory, privately owned companies which are required to make a profit, but are in fact run by politicians whose ideas blow with the passing wind and political advantage, either to themselves or their parties. Those making decisions for our future obviously have no idea of the rail systems past history or why they are as they are.

 

I believe there are now persons who are of the opinion that we should return to the days of the “Big Five” having now tried a number of “control” systems devised by politicians. Does this mean that the railways will be floated on the stock exchange as many of our utilities have been in the past? If this is so, who will want to take on HS2 and all its senseless ideas, problems and costs? It must be plain to all, that those who are pushing to build the line will not want a hand in trying to make it pay or be a viable entity.

 

The whole rail system now reeks of stop-gap thinking, major up-grades either postponed or cancelled and rolling stock and engines ordered which are unsuitable for the job they now find themselves called on to do.

 

This will come home to roost over the decades to come !!!

God help the travelling public and industry in the UK. 

God bless the men started it, and would not listen.

Messrs Marples and Beeching

MPT

 

express trains as  turns toward the adjacent platforms must restrict the express speeds. Below is a picture of Beaconsfield after the alterations have taken place.