Great Britain: Dr. Beeching's Bitter Pill

The English invented railways, and have never quite recovered from the pride and guilt of their creation. Nowhere else on earth does rundown rolling stock excite such tantrums or such tenderness. Britons venerate the shabby Victorian discomfort of antiquated first-class carriages; they despair if the diesel hauling them pants into a station 40 seconds late. When a moneylosing branch line closes down, the island is roiled with grief. Cried the headline over a lengthy London Times story last year: THE TIDDLYDIKE BRANCH LINE DIES TODAY. Sorrow had hardly faded before British Railways raised fares to pay for other uneconomical...

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