5 APRIL 1963, Page 4

Beeching and After

REACTION to the Beeching Report has bcen 's friends' it But what has emerged most clearly is that e. surprising. Apart froM 'Labour the national press was almost enthusiastic. rho Doctor himself has emerged nearly a national ldhero. The relationship between the public f himself has become love-hate; when he first took the job the accent was more on the re- sponsibility for the railways, and for the bus services necessary to replace them, rests sOnarelY on Mr. MarpleS's shoulders. If the Becching Report has done nothing else, it has placed the railways in the perspective of a national sYstern of public transport, in which the roads are Con- sidered in the same breath as the railways - The most galling reaction of all has been fr''n1 the National Union of Railwaymen. A Protest strike seems almost certain; the major ren"in- - ing questions to be settled are 'When?' and 'I -or how long?' 'The last one-day strike against the workshop closures did achieve something. COri-

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sultations with British Railways became rra frequent and more detailed. It is difficult to see ; what a similar strike would achieve this , "I. Unless it were successful in frightening NI Marples into slowing down the pace at closures are made. It ought not to be.

NEXT WEEK THE SPECTATOR will be published one day earlier, i.e., on Thursday, April 11.