The infamous ‘Beeching Axe’ swept away virtually every Scottish branch line in the 1960s. Conventional wisdom viewed these losses as regrettable yet inevitable in an era of growing affluence and rising car ownership. But David Spaven has unearthed strong evidence of an establishment ‘stitch-up’. He traces the birth, life and eventual death of Scotland’s branch lines, and illuminates the controversial closure process through two case-study routes: Gleneagles to Crieff/Comrie, and Dunblane to Callander. He explores a potential renaissance of branch lines, propelled by concerns over road congestion, vehicle pollution and the climate emergency.