Hall of Fame

Baron Richard Beeching


Baron Richard Beeching, (1913 to 1985)

Engineer and administrator, born in Maidstone, Kent.  He studied at Imperial College, London, and in 1961, he became chairman of the British Transport Commission which was set up to investigate why some railway lines were running at a financial loss.  He was then appointed chairman of the British Railways Board (1963-5), and deputy chairman of ICI (1966-8).  He was created a life peer in 1965.

He is best known for the scheme devised and approved under his chairmanship (the Beeching Report) for the substantial contraction of the rail network of the UK in 1963. 

Beeching's bombshell, announced March 25 1963, recommended that loss-making lines (mainly in rural areas) be closed.  As a result, hundreds of lines and more than two thousand stations were shut down. The British Rail network was reduced from 18,771 miles in 1960 to just 13,261 miles in 1969.

Baron Beeching lived in "Brockhurst" on the Lewes Road from the 1960s.  He died at Queen Victoria Hospital in 1985.

"Beeching Way" in East Grinstead was named after him as it is the site of one of the railway lines made obsolete by the Beeching Report.