Dr. Beeching
Vital statistics
Position Former Chairman of British Railways
Age 71 (at time of death on March 23, 1985)
Arrived on Sodor Unknown
Status Deceased
Physical attributes
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight Unknown
Dr. Richard Beeching was the chairman of British Railways between 1961 and 1965. He is known for his Beeching Report, which greatly changed the makeup of British Railways.


Dr. Beeching visited the Island of Sodor in 1961 to investigate the railway for his report. Despite the railway's operating independence, he proposed shutting down all of the railway's branch lines, convinced that they were no more profitable than the branchlines on the Mainland, which infuriated The Fat Controller. Sir Charles informed Beeching that the Railway Series had helped bring visitors to the railway, which had made the railway profitable. Beeching considered Hatt's words, and took this into account when preparing his report. As such, only the Norramby Branch Line was closed under the act, as the branch hadn't seen much traffic since the harbour was destroyed by German bombers during World War II.

Ultimately, the Beeching Report produced very miniscule results, since the savings were negligable, the "bustitution" policy was considered a failure because the replacement bus services were slower and less convenient than the branchline passenger trains they had replaced, and most lasted only two years before they were shut down due to poor ridership, leaving large parts of the UK without public transit. The assumption at the time was that car owners would drive to the nearest railhead (which was usually the junction where the closed branch line would otherwise have taken them) and continue their journey onwards by train. In practice, having left home in their cars, people used them for the whole journey.

Similarly for freight: without branch lines, the railways' ability to transport goods "door to door" was dramatically reduced. As in the passenger model, it was assumed that lorries would pick up goods and transport them to the nearest railhead, where they would be taken across the country by train, unloaded onto another lorry and taken to their destination. The development of the motorway network, the advent of containerisation, improvements in lorries and the economic costs of having two break-bulk points combined to make long-distance road transport a more viable alternative.

Over time, many of the Beeching cuts were reversed, and lines reopened as part of the national network. Others reopened as heritage railways, many were obliterated by construction, reverted back to farmland, became part of the National Cycling Network, or remain derelict.

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