Black Country Steam, Western Region Operations, 1948–1967
The railway lines of the heavily industrialised Black Country were of considerable commercial importance to the fortunes of the Great Western Railway and its successor, the Western Region of British Railways. Nevertheless, they received little attention from both photographers of the railway scene and contemporary railway publishers alike. Perhaps understandably, photographers, particularly in the post-war austerity years, chose to eschew the grimy industrial landscape of North West Worcestershire and South East Staffordshire and save their expensive film stock for more idyllic scenery elsewhere.
The book seeks to redress that previous lack of attention, by presenting a significant selection of hitherto unpublished photographs, principally by locally based enthusiasts, accompanied by informative captions. Throughout the period from nationalisation to the ultimate demise of steam it follows the respective former GW routes through the region in a logical manner, depicting the wide variety of the locomotive power employed to haul the diverse traffic generated by the local industry, and the sidings and yards that served it. Coverage is also given to local locomotive running sheds and maintenance facilities.
Most of the featured lines have now closed, as is also true of much of the heavy industry. A resident from the immediate post-war years would find the area unrecognisable, but it is to be hoped that the book will rekindle memories of a landscape now lost forever.
Hardback with dust jacket, 144 pages, 200 black & white illustrations
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Updated: 29 December 2021