Last Trains

  • by Charles Loft
  • Narrated by Michael Fenton Stevens
  • 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

During the course of the 1950s, England lost confidence in its rulers and convinced itself to modernise. The bankrupt steam-powered railway, run by a retired general, symbolised everything that was wrong with the country; the future lay in motorways and high speed electric - or even atomic - express trains.
But plans for a gleaming new railway system ended in failure, and on the roads traffic ground to a halt. Along came Dr Beeching, forensically analysing the railways' problems and delivering an expert's diagnosis that a third of the nation's railways must go. This was the point at which the reality of modernisation dawned and rural England fell victim to the road and car - at least that is how Dr Beeching is remembered today.
Last Trains examines why and how the railway system contracted, exposing the political failures that bankrupted the railways and examining officials' attempts to understand a transport revolution beyond their control. It is a story of the increasing alienation of bureaucrats from the public they thought they were serving, but also of a nation that thinks it lives in the countryside trying to come to terms with modernity.

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What the Critics Say

"Thoughtful and well-researched analysis..." (Edinburgh Evening News)
"This book tells the full story behind the Beeching cuts." (Your Family Tree)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Last Trains - An in Depth Analysis of Change

What did you like most about Last Trains?

This is a scholarly and detailed analysis of changes to the railways in Britain. The writer has researched his subject well and presented his case clearly, objectively and at considerable length.


What other book might you compare Last Trains to, and why?

Christian Wolmar's writing about rail is the closest although not a true parallel.


Which scene did you most enjoy?

No applicable


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Hardly although to me it was an engrossing subject but it is a book one could return to.


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- Hardy Wilson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-12-2013
  • Publisher: Spokenworld Audio/Ladbroke Audio Ltd