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Holding the Line: How Britain's Railways Were Saved [Hardcover]

Richard Faulkner , Chris Austin
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Dec 2012
Drawing upon a wide range of documents, including cabinet papers, 'Holding the Line' is an explosive account of how close the railway industry came to being eviscerated and how the dangers of 'closure by stealth' sill exist in the contemporary age.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Publishing Co (7 Dec 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860936473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860936473
  • Product Dimensions: 29.4 x 21.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Richard Faulkner (Lord Faulkner of Worcester) is a deputy speaker in the House of Lords, which he joined as a working peer in 1999. From 2009 through 2010, he was a minister in the government whip's office, where he had spokesman responsibilities for transport. He is treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Railway Group, and vice chair of the Heritage Rail Group. Chris Austin is a board member of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Railway Group, and vice-chair of the Heritage Rail Group.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book we have been wating for. 12 Mar 2013
By Winston
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is the best analysis of probably the greatest post-war policy disaters, and is ideal for entusiasts and political historians seeking a clear text, well referenced, and supported by first hand accounts and interviews.
In the book we learn of the 1950s closures, some justified, some that could have done with more analysis. However the bombshell is the move in 1959 by policymakers to abandon the Railways, the capture of the Ministry of Transport under Marples and John Hay by the "Road Lobby", and a policy of Disinvestment in Rail. The early 1970s are well documented, culminating in the shocking (even criminal)attempt revealed for the first time, of a conference attended by Civil Servants at Sunningdale Park, with the intention of finally ridding Britain of Railways. Readers have the opportunity to make thier own minds up about Sir Peter Parker and Sir Robert Reid, I was shocked at Reid's enthusiasm to shut the Settle-Carlisle. The revalations about Alfred Sherman's entusiasm for busways would be funny if they were not so serious. This book will grace any bookcase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holding the Line 16 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A very good read to those interested in this very contentious subject from fifty years ago and one which I remember all too well
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a really good history 1 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
excellent publication detailing what hapeend and that closures did start before the beeching era well written by 2 people who know what they are wrting about from 1st hand experience
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5.0 out of 5 stars Facinating story 1 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Good coverage of background to Beeching and political machinations of report. Includes chart of closures by party and also failure of Labour and Tories to safeguard routes and allow for growth. Well referenced. Covers subsequent cut threats like Serpell with 41 lines listed Also rail -road conversion idea. Section on rail recovery and re-openings with Speller. Fascinating behind the scenes coverage too. Good range of photos and indexed
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5.0 out of 5 stars Railman. 7 Feb 2014
By cairns
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An excellently produced and well researched book. The joint authors have inside knowledge of the railway industry, and if they didn't know about a particular event, " they knew a man who did ". The history of the railway closures is briefly explained up until nationalisation, and then the book gets into it's stride. The mismanagement, mostly political, is well illustrated with regard to closures, and the puerile economic strategies are all extensively explained, together with endless lost opportunities. The dominant position of the road lobby illustrates that there was never a level playing field for rail, and this was not helped by the fact that Transport Ministers, in whatever guise, only lasted for an average 19.5 months and some of these showed no interest in the job whatsoever. There are a multitude of villains portrayed, but not many heroes, the main one being the late Sir Peter Parker, although he had to tread warily at times, and made occasional wrong choices. A sobering book that illustrates that we should all still be very vigilant with regard to the future of our railways, even now where the situation as regards usage and investment is quite rosy. Full of detail, but very easy to read. The only slight quibble is one reference to Tony Benn. He mainly caused problems for shifty Harold Wilson because of unkept promises and non implementation of democratically arrived at policies. Incidentally the aforementioned former PM is very much proved to be a villain in this book. Will appeal to anyone interested in railways, recent history or politics. Very much a must read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting 3 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a great book ,if anybody ever had any doubts about the dishonesty and partisan behaviour of politicians and some civil servants reading this book will remove all of them. Thanks to the curse of short termism ,endemic in our politicians, many towns have lost their rail links. It should never have happened, many lines could and should have been left alone and would now be very successful commuter lines .As for privatisation ,what a disaster apart from the freight business, high fares and money that should be re invested going into managers and shareholders pockets .East coast is very successful but doesn't fit the private good and public bad dogma.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beeching Revisited. 12 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Whatever one's views of Richard Beeching and the programme of line closures during the 1960s, this book provides a welcome review of the affects on the rural communities of Britain. The chapters deal with the effects of closures of many lamented closures including the Waverley Route, the Somerset and Dorset and the Great Central. Highly recommended and an interesting read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A report too late 17 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This publication is one of a batch recently printed about this topic. Mr Failkners book is more detailed and dispassionate that most of the others, but still goes to the root of the problems that beset the railways at the time, mainly Government interferance in an industry well able to run itself. The lack of compensation for two World Wars was another problem and the heavy influence on the executive by the road lobby, particularly the heavy goods hauliers. A good read, but sadly all too late for our modern problems.
David Easton
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