The Western Since 1948
The Great Western Railway excited a more passionate loyalty from both its staff and its public than any of Britain's pre-nationalisation 'Big Four'. And none was more independent in its thought and practice - which, to its loyal following, naturally meant that in many areas of railway design and operating everyone was out of step but the Great Western. For the first decade or so of nationalisation the Western strove to retain that independence and resist the standardisation pressures from British Railways headquarters. To many 'Great Western Region' seemed a more apt title than straight Western Region. Swindon works went on building 'Castle' 4-6-0s and typical GW pannier tanks, then conceived improvements for both 'Castles' and 'Kings' which added new zest to their prewar performance. All those West Country branches still rang to the chatter of typical GW auto-trains. Back, even, came the beloved chocolate-and-cream livery for the coaches of named trains. And in dieselisation the Western was different, winning a hard fight to employ diesel-hydraulics instead of the diesel-electrics BR headquarters insisted upon for the rest of the system. But under Beeching the Western was forced to abandon most of its idiosyncrasies. Because it had done so many things differently, the upheaval was traumatic. But eventually there emerged a Western Region which is today a shop-window for much of the best in the modern British Railways - outstandingly so in its 'Inter-City 125', the fastest diesel train service in the world. Geoffrey Freeman Allen, as Editor of Modern Railways, was close to all these events and the personalities involved. In this book he has created a graphic impression in text and picture of what has been both the most turbulent and the most exciting period in the history of railways from Paddington to the West.
Hardback with dust jacket, 160 pages, black & white photographs
Condition: Very Good
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Updated: 29 December 2021