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‘Harviston End’ was written early in the career of Peter Ling (1926-2006), who is best remembered as the co-creator of the ITV soap opera, Crossroads.
Ling possibly wrote the poem as a response to the nationalisation of Britain’s railways in 1948, and the subsequent closure of lines and stations. In the three years alone between nationalisation and the publication of the poem, almost 200 stations were closed. A more concerted programme of closures would occur following the implementation of British Rail’s Modernisation Plan in 1955, eight years before Richard Beeching’s infamous 1963 report, ‘The Reshaping of Britain’s Railways’.
Though Harviston End is a fictional station, its name chimes with that of one that closed in 1948 (Harringworth, Northamptonshire) and two that would close in 1951 (Hallington, Lincolnshire, and Harlington Halt, South Yorkshire).