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Lament for a Branch Line: The Preston to Southport Railway
Silver Link Books

Lament for a Branch Line: The Preston to Southport Railway

Regular price £30.00 £0.00 Unit price per

Please allow 5-10 business days for dispatch of this book

The story of the Southport to Preston branch line, opened by the West Lancashire Railway in 1882, is also the story of so many lines from the mid-19th-century `railway mania'. It was constructed with high expectations of profitable traffic and good returns for investors, but was soon in the hands of receivers. It ran through rich agricultural land but with a sparse and scattered population, so its prospects were always going to be limited. Absorbed by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway in 1897, and supplemented by the Altcar & Hillhouse branch - officially the grandly named Liverpool, Southport & Preston Junction Railway - from 1887, the line enjoyed an unremarkable life of just over 80 years before, like so many others, it failed to pass economic muster and fell victim to the infamous Beeching `axe' in 1964.

But the line's gestation, construction and history, described here in fascinating depth by local historian David Hindle, were anything but dull. What prosperity the line enjoyed was inextricably linked to the development of Southport as a holiday resort, predating Blackpool by many years because of its early rail access. Southport also found itself served by the pioneering 1904 L&YR electrification of the line from Liverpool to Crossens. David's book cleverly weaves together social and railway history to tell the story of not only a quintessentially English branch line, but also the communities that depended on it.

It all came to an end on 6 September 1964, and the book chronicles the last-day events, and describes what has happened to the line since, as it has gradually been absorbed back into the landscape. Supported by more than 500 photographs detailing the line's infrastructure and train services from the early days to that last night, the book provides a microcosm of Britain's steam age. While nothing will bring back the Southport to Preston railway, there is no reason why its memory should not be celebrated in this fitting lament.

Hardback, 144 pages, black & white and colour photographs

ISBN: 9781857945959

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Updated: 29 December 2021