Re: Inefficiency @AC
"Interesting that these days there is a need to re-open railway lines in the UK that were closed as a result of the Beeching report."
So you'd have kept loss making lines open for fifty years on the off chance that demand might return? And what about the many closed routes where demand hasn't returned? Presumably you'd keep those open for another fifty years, just in case? No wonder you posted AC.
The underlying problems of the railways were monolithic government planning that treated capital investment as both free and a universal panacea, yet failed to take account of demographic change (eg more urban less rural balance of population) failed to take account of changing technology and rising living standards (more cars).