Skip navigation
The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Reshaping Britain’s Railways for the 21st Century: A Speech by Lord Andrew Adonis

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) is delighted to invite you to a speech by Lord Andrew Adonis on reversing the Beeching rail closures for large towns which lost their rail services fifty or more years ago. This will take place on Friday 7th June09.15-11.00am at IPPR, 14 Buckingham Street, London, WC2N 6DF. Please arrive at 09.15am for a 09.30am start.

In this speech, Andrew Adonis will argue that a key feature of future transport policy should be to ensure that all large towns are reconnected to the railway system, reversing the Beeching closures which left dozens of major populations centres without rail services. 

Major towns from Washington in the North-East to Gosport on the south coast were severed from the railway system by post-war rail closures. These towns have suffered increasing isolation as rail has returned as a principal means of transport. Reversing these closures would benefit socially and economically vital activities such as young people getting to and from college and work, older people keeping occupied and in touch with friends relatives, tourism, and workers being able to travel easily to and from large cities without getting stuck in growing congestion. It is also a green policy for a green Britain. 

Lord Adonis, a former Transport Secretary and architect of HS2, will propose a policy of systematically connecting these large towns to the railway system over the next 25 years. He will set out the key elements of a ‘Reverse Beeching’ plan, including practicalities, timescales, and finances. 

His title ‘Reshaping Britain’s Railways for the 21st Century’ echoes Beeching’s infamous 1963 report ‘Reshaping Britain’s Railways.’ 

Over one million people across Britain live in the 27 biggest towns without a railway station, including Gosport, Dudley, Newcastle under Lyme, Washington, Waterlooville, Halesowen, Leigh, West Bridgford, Skelmersdale, Blyth, Dunstable, Woodley, Coalville, Abingdon, Swadlincote, Wisbech, Rushden, Darlastan, Ashington, Witney, Haverhill, Aldridge, Ferndown, Kingswinford and Daventry. 

‘Reversing Beeching’ would be transformational for the communities concerned and make a major contribution to building ‘One Nation’ and a green Britain in the next generation.


Lord Andrew Adonis is a Labour peer, former Transport Secretary and former Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission.

Please register for this event using the link below.