Lord Beeching’s, Aberystwyth
Lord Beeching’s, Alexandra Road
This pub – whose walls are adorned with railway memorabilia – is named after the author of a controversial report which led to the closure of many rail lines and stations in the 1960s.
The pub was known as the Railway Inn within four years of Aberystwyth’s first passenger train arriving at the nearby station. It retained the name until the 1990s, when it was renamed after Dr Richard Beeching (1913-1985). He was a director of Imperial Chemical Industries before chairing the British Railways Board. His chief task was to stem the heavy losses which continued at government-owned BR in spite of major post-war modernisation. In 1963 his report The Reshaping of British Railways caused an outry, since it recommended closure of many lines and stations.
Community campaigns sprang up to save local railways. Some routes were reprieved but more than 12,000km of lines were closed along with stations, goods yards and locomotive depots.
Among the casualties was the line from Aberystwyth to Lampeter and Carmarthen, which closed in 1964. Calls for its reopening have continued ever since. In 1966 Elystan Morgan, MP for Cardigan, told Parliament that the line should be reopened because the alternative of a through bus was “wholly inadequate”, and the loss of freight trains would put at least 10,000 additional lorry loads a year onto local roads. He also doubted that the authorities had considered the county’s “holiday population” or the rapid growth of the university colleges in Aberystwyth and Lampeter.
Dr Beeching received a life peerage in 1965. His railway legacy was not entirely negative and included the far-sighted creation of a Freightliner network for containerised goods.
Inside the pub you’ll find photos of local railway scenes from bygone days, an old plan of Aberystwyth station, a Great Western Railway map and other memorabilia. Also on show is a mural, made in 1986, depicting a Vale of Rheidol Railway locomotive.
Postcode: SY23 1LE