Oh, Dr. Beeching!


In the mid-2010s, I watched Oh, Dr. Beeching!, a British situation comedy from the mid-1990s describing life at a small railway station (Hatley) in the mid-1960s awaiting news about the Beeching Axe chopping away a line built in the mid-1860s.

Dr. Richard Beeching led the British Railways Board and prepared The Reshaping of British Railways which controversially rationalized the network by eliminating many routes and stations. He remains an off-screen character in the series, who is talked about, and rumored, but never seen.

One of the creators, Richard Spendlove, had worked his first career as a Station Manager, and so this show has a level of detail about the workplace that is far richer than anything else I have seen, including Thomas, the Tank Engine. It is a comedy, so the goings on in this small town (little more than a station and some railway cottages where the staff reside) are farcical. And it is a period piece, so you can examine elements of British culture, including high-quality culinary dishes, the Beatles, the Mods, short skirts, and references to Swinging London.

If you are looking for a way to spend 10 hours watching television about transportation, Series 1 and 2 of this show (Series 3 was never produced, leaving the fate of the station unclear) are entertaining. It is commercially available on Region 2 (UK) DVDs from BBC. I don't believe it is commercially available to play on unhacked US DVD players (DVD player hacking is legal, just frowned upon by Hollywood).

It is un-commercially available elsewhere, one supposes.

David Levinson

Network Reliability in Practice

Evolving Transportation Networks

Place and Plexus

The Transportation Experience

Access to Destinations

Assessing the Benefits and Costs of Intelligent Transportation Systems

Financing Transportation Networks

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on July 4, 2012 9:40 AM.

BRT on the Midtown Greenway was the previous entry in this blog.

Northstar cuts fares by as much as 25% to lure more riders is the next entry in this blog.

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