Rail Books - Free UK Postage on Orders Above £25!
Rail Books - Free UK Postage on Orders Above £25!
Cart 0
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

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. 


Postage on all orders is £1.50 although orders of £25 and over are sent post free. These 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. If you require tracking for your order, tracking & courier options are available for a small fee. 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 of our shipments to the EU 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: 29 December 2021