All Change!: Visiting the Byways of Britain's Railway Network (AA Illustrated Reference)

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Press: Aa Publishing (July 15, 2009)
Publication Date:2009-7
ISBN:9780749557850
Author Name:Atterbury, MR Paul
Pages:256
Language:English

Content

The most intriguing and least known of Britain’s railways are the minor lines, including rural routes and branch lines—some still active if little-used, others long since lost—industrial and docks lines, and narrow gauge and miniature lines. 
These can be found in all corners of the country and represent, both historically and in modern terms, a delightful miscellany of the unusual and the quirky.
Never seen before images of Britain’s unsung railways are accompanied by lively, informative text, exploring an institution once vital to the commercial and social life of Britain but now largely forgotten, abandoned by the changes in modern-day travel and transport habits.

Tags

Arts & Photography,Vehicle Pictorials,Trains,Engineering & Transportation,Transportation,History,Railroads



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  •     Paul Atterbury has written plenty of books about railway nostalgia, but he came to my attention with the first of what turned into a series of four books published by David and Charles. Each of those books had the same basic style but covered a different aspect of railway nostalgia. This book follows the same basic formula except that it covers all the aspects previously featured, but using different material. For example, we get features on branch lines to Gunnislake, Marlow and many other places, which might have been included inBranch Line Britain: A Nostalgic Journey Celebrating a Golden Agebut weren't. The feature on the line from Inverness to Wick could have been included inAlong Country Lines: Exploring the Rural Railways of Yesterdaybut wasn't, while the Lybsster and Coniston branches weren`t included inAlong Lost Linesor Branch line Britain, but could have featured in either. The picture of the ruins of the original Gosport station could have been used inTickets Please!: A Nostalgic Journey Through Railway Station Life. This variation on a successful formula may put some people off, but not me.The Gunnislake branch also featured inMemories of Steam. Tom Quinn, but neither book offers any explanation for the line's survival in its present form. I did some research and it appears that the railway offers a more direct route to Plymouth because it bridges a river and there isn't an equivalent road bridge, or at least there wasn't when the decision was taken to keep the line open. History is littered with apparently strange decisions upon which lines to retain and which to close, some but not all of which make sense. Not that this book is concerned with such detail, as the author prefers to allow the pictures to do most of the talking. His comments are always interesting, but anybody looking for serious analysis of the issues should look elsewhere. I sometimes do just that, but the serious books (which generally contain few pictures) don't replace books like this.The author's earlier series contained special features and this book does likewise. Here, those features include narrow-gauge, miniature, model and toy railways. Again, what you find here is really just a few teasers, though it is interesting to see examples of early models and toys. There's also a scrapbook feature, which rounds up pictures that don't fit anywhere else.If you're familiar with any of Paul's four-book series for David and Charles, you'll know what to expect this book to be like. If this is the first of Paul's railway nostalgia books that you read, it might tempt you to investigate that earlier series. I don't know how many more similar books Paul has material for, but I'll happily continue to buy them as long as he doesn't repeat himself.
 

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