It was one of the most controversial decisions made in Louth’s long history.
Now 50 years after the Dr Beeching report on Britain’s railways a new book calls for the Louth railway to reopen, reversing one of his most infamous cuts.
The Great Railway Conspiracy by David Henshaw examines the Beeching era, its legacy, and describes how many lines axed by Beeching are now reopening. He says restarting the Louth line would give a direct link south to Boston and north to Grimsby, linking Louth with the national rail network.
David, Editor of A to B and Miniature Railway magazines, said: “It should never have closed in the first place.”
He said Louth was one of the biggest stations to close in the aftermath of the ‘Beeching Axe.’
Reopening the line he says, would open up mid-Lincolnshire to the national rail network, providing a vital commuter and leisure route, while taking pressure off congested roads.
In the book he show how outdated technology and lack of investment pre-dated the Beeching report.
The 1970s oil crisis brought a change of heart, while the 1980s saw the first rail reopenings. Many more followed, and David’s book details how successful these have been, from the Scottish borders to Cornwall.
Well illustrated with period black and white pictures and specially commissioned maps and graphs, The Great Railway Conspiracy shows how, against all the odds – lack of investment, Dr Beeching and the ‘great privatisation fiasco’ – Britain’s railways are thriving as never before.
Transport Digest has said it is ‘passionately written and cogently argued’ while Transport Review called it ‘an invaluable book.’
As reported last week, the axeing of the railway in Louth has also been ranked as the second worst national closure in a new league table of Dr Beeching’s cuts in the 1960s.
David Spaven has compiled Beeching’s worst closures for the April issue of Modern Railways magazine.
He said: “The closure of the East Lincs Line left a large swathe of country – including the important town of Louth – without trains, with the surviving Skegness line providing a very indirect route to south east England.”
Louth railway station closed in 1970. The line remained open to goods traffic from Grimsby to Louth Keddington Road for 10 years.
In 1980 the track was lifted and the signal boxes were demolished. The railway station building is now flats.
Volunteers at the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway are working towards their ultimate goal of giving Louth a railway line once again.
The heritage railway at Ludborough operates on a stretch of line that used to be part of the Great Northern route from Boston to Grimsby.
After the last section of line was closed in 1980, a preservation society was formed to restore it.
They run very popular steam trains between Ludborough and North Thoresby and work is in progress to extend the line south towards Louth.
On that day trains will once again pull into Louth - reversing the orders of Dr Beeching.