Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Portrait of the Mad Axeman

A/n: Since this article focuses on British railroads, this seems like a good opportunity to make a little side note about terminology. I have always used American terms in the article text to describe locomotives and other railroad equipment, regardless of what country the object in question comes from, except in the case of formal titles. The reason for this is two fold. First, I am writing from the United States and the American terms are simply what I am used to using. Second, and more importantly to me, I feel that it would make for jarring reading to go back and forth with the terms--"cab" in one place and "footplate" in another, for instance--especially when the switch would happen within the same article.

Take a moment to put on your big boy pants, to grab your favorite talisman, or whatever else gives you strength when the boogeyman shows up. Today we’re going to talk about the man remembered as the single greatest villain in all of railroad history, one far more sinister than any mustachioed robber-baron: We're talking, of course, about Dr. Richard Beeching, the man who advised closure of a staggering portion of the British railroad system and overshadows the transition away from steam.