The Essential Guide to Welsh Heritage and Scenic Railways
Information of this nature is an unlikely subject to feature in a book principally about railways. However, this is a book with a difference. In researching Welsh railways, the author, in addition to information about the prime subject matter, has chosen to include what he hopes are interesting facts about places and events close to where trains pass. In so doing, it is hoped that the book will enjoy a wider appeal than just for railway enthusiasts but should interest and inform the general holiday-maker and the traveller to Wales, a principality steeped in history. The book is the fifth Oakwood Press publication by the author on European railways and fourth in the Essential Guide series. This guide lists a total of 62 locations throughout Wales (including five on the borders in England) where heritage and tourist railways and related activities can be found. A total of 163 photographs support the text. Those five just in England are justified by their close proximity and their relevance to the Welsh railway scene. Of the total locations, the author has identified 57 specific routes of which 28 are operated as heritage/tourist railways, including projects and societies, and 29 as regular rail service routes operated in Wales. Finally, there are five museums including two which are dedicated to the Great Western Railway, one being just over the border in England at Coleford in Gloucestershire and the other, also in England, at Swindon in Wiltshire.
An important question in writing a book such as this is what to include and what to exclude. Heritage and tourist-focused railways are easy to identify. However, where do regular service routes qualify as being of ‘tourist’ or ‘scenic’ interest especially as many areas in Wales were previously heavily industrialized? Fortunately many of these areas have recovered by returning, what was previously derelict land, back to nature. Given the outstanding natural beauty of Wales, therefore, very few routes fail to qualify in some way as is best evidenced perhaps by the photographs depicted in this book. It is hoped that the reader and visitor to Wales agrees. Enjoy the journey!
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