Rail Books - Free UK Postage on Orders Above £27.50!
Rail Books - Free UK Postage on Orders Above £27.50!
Cart 0
Branch Lines to Chard
Lightmoor Press

Branch Lines to Chard

Regular price £35.00 £0.00 Unit price per

Chard in Somerset has a history of manufacturing, and a claim to be the birthplace of powered flight. In the nineteenth century it hoped to be placed on key transport routes – firstly a canal linking the English and Bristol Channels, and then the main railway routes to the South West. These visions foundered – instead there was a local canal, while the main railway routes bypassed the town. So in Victorian times, with the canal failing, local businesses and landowners took the initiative and promoted branch lines from Chard, to join the South Western main line at Chard Road (later Chard Junction) some three miles south of the town, and northwards to Taunton. The first, Chard Town, was to standard gauge and opened by the L&SWR in 1863; the line to Taunton was built to Brunel’s broad gauge and was opened by the Bristol & Exeter Railway in 1866 and subsequently taken over by the Great Western. As a consequence, there were three stations bearing the name Chard, remarkable for a town of its size. Chard remained a ‘frontier town’ between the Great Western and London & South Western railways, and was among the last of the broad gauge branch lines to be converted to standard gauge, retaining its unique character to the end. In the twentieth century co-operation replaced competition, and during the First World War operation was rationalised, with the Great Western taking over the whole route, albeit with a Southern influence at the southern end. By the 1930s traffic was being eroded by bus, car and lorry, and by the 1950s the line had taken on an air of gentle dereliction. Passenger services ended in 1962; freight traffic from Chard survived until 1966. This book closely examines the nineteenth century efforts to bring communications to Chard and Ilminster, drawing on records of the companies and their promoters, and provides a detailed look at each of the stations along the route. It uses archive material to explain how the branch lines to Chard were operated, and is enlivened by recollections from railway staff. It is extensively illustrated by photographs spanning the whole period of the railway’s existence, together with plans and historic documents. Several of the line’s buildings survive today and this volume includes specially prepared drawings of these attractive structures.

Hardback, 320 pages, black & white and colour photographs, drawings etc

ISBN: 9781911038528

Most orders are dispatched within two-three working days of receipt of cleared payment. If there is going to be a significant delay (more than 10 working days), we will contact you and, where possible, give you an estimated dispatch time.

Please be aware that advance orders will be sent as soon as the relevant book has been published. 

When placing your order, please ensure that you add the correct full shipping address to your order. This includes house number, street name, zip code/post code. If parcels are returned on account of an incorrect shipping address we will contact you to seek the correct address and also ask that you pay a contribution towards posting the parcel to you a second time. Similarly, if a parcel is returned to us because the local mail service is unable to deliver it (or you do not collect it from the designated collection point), we will contact you and ask you for a contribution towards the cost of shipping to you for a second time.

The journey of a book from our shelves to the reader demands careful handling and the appropriate packaging. We recognise the need to ensure that books arrive at their destination in the same condition that they leave us. Our packaging solutions aim to accommodate books of all shapes and sizes. In a society where so much is thrown away, Rail-Books have a policy of reusing packing materials to pack your order wherever possible. Whilst this may generate a small saving in our packaging costs, the impact to the environment is a much greater saving. We also try to ensure that new packaging, such as boxes, book-wraps and envelopes, is made from recycled materials.


All orders for UK addresses are normally sent via Royal Mail 48 Hour (the business equivalent of 2nd class mail) which is not tracked although Royal Mail do confirm delivery of parcels. Orders of £27.50 and over are sent post free while shipping for orders under £27.50 is charged at £1.85 for orders under 500g or £2.25 for other orders. If you require tracking for your order, tracking & courier options are available for a small fee. The appropriate shipping option can be selected as part of the checkout process. If the service that you require is not shown, please get in touch with us and we can quote for your desired service.

Large, bulky or high value orders may be split in to multiple consignments or sent via courier. There is no additional charge for this and you will be advised at the order fulfillment stage if this happens.


Overseas orders are charged based on weight, and postage will be automatically calculated at checkout. For a postage quotation, please add the items you want to your cart and proceed to the checkout. All orders are usually sent via Air Mail - this is not tracked. If you required your order to be tracked or sent by a different service, please contact us, preferably before checkout.

Royal Mail will only accept parcels up to 5kg in weight (2kg for Canada). If you are ordering multiple items that exceed these limits, please contact us first so that we can advise you of the appropriate shipping rate.

Due to the high volume of parcels going missing, we are no longer able to send untracked orders via third party mail handling services such as Parcel Motel. We are able to send untracked parcels to bona fide PO Box addresses, friends and family members and to work addresses.

Some countries charge import taxes  and other taxes such as VAT;  we suggest that in these cases, you asked for your order to be tracked so the local taxation authorities can trace your parcel.

Please note that courier services are unable to deliver to PO Box addresses. If you usually use a PO Box address, you will need to supply an alternative address if you require shipping by courier.

Shipping to the European Union

From 1 July 2021, all EU countries will be imposing VAT on all imports. In the UK, books are zero-rated for VAT proposes so there is no VAT to deduct from the prices quoted on our website. All of our orders are usually sent "DDU" (Delivered Duty Unpaid) using a courier service and the shipping prices quoted are on a DDU basis. However, we are now able to offer limited "DDP" (Delivered Duty Paid) services to certain EU destinations. If you would like to purchase books on a DDP basis, please contact us before making your purchase and we will give you a DDP price.

Therefore all DDU shipments to EU destinations will be held by the relevant customs authority until the customer pays any VAT that is due. We understand that if no payment is received by the relevant customs authority after 30 days, the package will be either returned or destroyed. Rail-Books will not be liable for any loss resulting from the destruction or return of goods where VAT has not been paid.

We recommend that customers in the EU follow the tracking data supplied to them once we dispatch your parcel and once the parcel is showing as arriving in the destination country, make contact with either the postal or customs authorities to pay the appropriate amounts of tax/duty.

Returned Parcels

On rare occasions, parcels will be returned to us. Where this happens we will refund the customer the cost of their order less any expenses incurred by ourselves (e.g. the initial cost of sending the parcel or costs relating to damage incurred in transit). If a customer requests that a parcel be shipped again for a second time, we request the customer to place a repeat order together with shipping costs. Repeat orders to UK customers will not be eligible for free shipping. 

Updated: 2 April 2024