Branch Lines of Devon: Exeter and South, Central & East Devon
The branch lines of Devon were particularly numerous and this volume covers those in Exeter and in the south, central and eastern parts of the county. They were also tremendously varied, ranging from the Exmouth branch - the nearest the West Country comes to a suburban-type commuter line, and the Paignton line, which for many years of its life could be considered a main line - to the Culm Valley Light Railway, a curiosity which required locomotives with a short wheelbase and light axle loading and restrictions on rolling stock. Some branches in the county only dealt with mineral traffic, while others remained open for freight long after they had been withdrawn from passenger use. Many Devon branch lines were originally built to the broad gauge and were later narrowed, some lasting until the very end in May 1892, while the Second World War saw improvements to some branch lines so that they could be used as diversions if the main lines were blocked.
Colin G. Maggs, foremost railway historian, has uncovered many interesting anecdotes during the course of his researches, and includes these too in his thorough and entertaining account of Devon's railway history: a 1 1/2 ton pudding which was drawn by eight horses; a station with a gravestone bearing an epitaph for its station cat; a line which used stone, instead of iron, rails; and an orchard on land within the railway boundary, 2 miles long and one tree in width.
Three of the branches in the area have been preserved: part of the Seaton line is now a narrow gauge electric tramway; the railway to Buckfastleigh is a typical GWR branch; and the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway is capable of taking main-line engines.
In this absorbing and well-researched book, Colin G. Maggs has provided a marvellously wide-ranging view of over 150 years of rail travel in the county. Profusely illustrated with over 150 fascinating photographs - many of which have never previously been published - and also including interesting ephemera and maps, Branch Lines of Devon: Exeter and South, Central and East Devon will appeal not only to railway enthusiasts, but to local historians and model makers throughout the county.
Hardback with dust jacket, 146 pages, black & white photographs
Condition: Good/Very Good with some sunfading to spine of DJ
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Updated: 29 December 2021