Sir Richard Beeching outside Charing Cross Hotel, London, 27 March 1963.
© NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society Picture Library
Beeching (1913-1985) seen here before attending a press conference to announce his transformation of the rail network. Created chairman of the British Railways Board in 1963, Beeching's report found that the railways were 'uneconomic and under-used'. His 'Beeching Plan' which became known as 'Beeching's Axe', completely transformed the railway network, abandoning over 6,000 miles of track and 4,000 stations; 67,700 jobs were lost. The controversial measures had a tremendous effect on the future of the railways, and arguably led to increased road use and resulting pollution. Beeching was created a life peer in 1965.