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This review is from: Holding the Line: How Britain's Railways Were Saved (Hardcover)
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.