Branch Lines of Somerset
Branch Lines of Somerset provides the reader with a marvellous wide-ranging view of 140 years of rail travel. The branch lines of the county have shown a diverse range of railway activity: horse-drawn passenger coaches; the second steam railcar built in England and operated as early as 1848: an internal combustion engined railcar and a similarly powered shunting engine in the 1920s, long before they were common on the main lines. The permanent way, too, has shown an interesting variation from the standard: flat-bottomed rail was used before it appeared on British Railways; concrete sleepers were used as early as 1919, while in the 1930s steel sleepers were used experimentally. Station buildings varied from small wooden huts about the size of a sentry-box, to substantial brick or stone buildings, some with impressive train sheds. Traffic, too, varied: some branches were principally for passenger use, while others carried considerable freight traffic, some being seasonal, such as strawberries and rabbits. The lively and informative text outlines the county's main railway routes and describes in detail the branch lines serving each. Although most of the branch lines were closed in the Beeching era, their character can still be savoured at the preserved East Somerset Railway, Cranmore, and the West Somerset Railway between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead. Highly illustrated with over 150 fascinating photographs and ephemera, this volume will appeal not only to railway enthusiasts, but also to local historians.
Hardback with dust jacket, 154 pages, black & white photographs
Condition: Good/Very Good
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Updated: 29 December 2021