WILD SWAN BOOKS
Brian Jackson 200 pages Hardback 1989
Situated on the Dorset coast between Bridport and Weymouth, Abbotsbury was once the terminus of a delightful branch line which shut as long ago as 1952. This beautiful book brings it all back to life, describing the line's rise and fall and subsequent changes on the main line to Weymouth, up to electrification. Out of print from Oct 2008, I have found a few copies and had a new dustjacket produced for them, so available again for a limited period.
Stanley C. Jenkins and Roger Carpenter 100 pages Softback 2005
A delightful portrait of the six mile branch that connected the Midland's cross country line at Alcester with the Great Western's route to Stratford Upon Avon at Bearley. Originating in the 1860s the line wasn't built until over a decae later when the two companies at either end of the route agreed an uneasy truce to allow its operation. This was one of those minor routes that was shut down in both World Wars as an economy measure but somehow managed to survive for freight until 1951, with a couple of miles surviving into 1960 for wagon storage. Not quite as exhaustively comprehensive in its photographic coverage as some books owing to the obscurity of the subject, this book nonetheless allows more than a glimpse of a charming rural railway.
William Hemmings 200 pages Hardback 2004
William Hemmings 200 pages Softback 2004
William Hemings, Paul Karau and Chris Turner 170 pages Hardback 2004
William Hemmings Paul Karau and Chris Turner 170 pages Softback 2004
Roger Simmonds and Kevin Robertson 92 pages Softback 1986
Running from Botley on the Eastleigh to Fareham line, this little known LSWR branch survived in freight only guise until 1962, latterly becoming the haunt of Ivatt tank locomotives. This book provides comprehensive photographic coverage of the line including fascinating views of repairing a landslide in 1936.
Gerry Beale 154 pages Hardback 2016
An intimate portrayal of a late surviving Great Western branch line, from its inception through to the early diesel era. Gerry knew the line well, having been introduced to it early in life through his father's interest, and this book is the culmination of years of interest and study. The photographic coverage is extensive, covering the line itself, stations, rolling stock and the various branch operations over the years, including a good number of shots of the DMUs when they were first introduced. A beautiful book depicting a most attractive branch line railway in its heyday, the level of service offered and evident order and continuity marking a stark contrast to today's World in Bridport and elsewhere.
Paul Karau & Chris Turner 240 pages Hardback 1998
Subtitled "The Story Of The Line From 1872 To 1961", this has got to be the ultimate branch line history book of all time. The Watlington Branch is Paul Karau's favourite branch line, and he has amassed a truly staggering collection of photographs, plans and facts about it. The book is a beautifully crafted piece of work, and as you will by now expect from this publisher, the story and presentation encompasses much more than just the railway. The characters, countryside and customers are all included in this lovely book.
Paul Karau & Chris Turner 214 pages Hardback 1998
This second volume describes the stations along the Watlington Branch with the same style and phenomenal level of detail as the first book dealt with the history. The number and depth of coverage of the photographs which have been collected is truly incredible, including the Cement works at Chinnor and the Timber Research establishment at Princes Risborough amongst many other subjects. If I had a criticism, it would only be that the Watlington Branch isn't my favourite line!
Karau, Parsons and Robertson 220 pages Hardback 2000
A very welcome reprint of a quite magnificent book, beautifully put together and profusely illustrated, including track and signalling diagrams and scale drawings of structures. Promoted by a fiercely independent company, the line crossed the great chalk slopes of the Berkshire and Hampshire downs and was particularly expensive to build, being laid out with shallow curves and easy gradients for high speed running. For various reasons, all covered in this book, the scheme didn't work out as intended and the line had a chequered existence up until its inevitable closure. The promoters' hopes were realised in two World Wars however, the preparations for D Day resulted in the conversion of much of the route to double track and a whole programme of other capacity improvements, all of which are detailed in this superb book.
Brian Hart 300 pages Hardback 2015
A much enlarged edition of an early Wild Swan title, Brian's usual delightful mix of social and railway history, recounting the fascinating story of a by now obscure line that was built as a main route along the battle lines between two warring Victorian railway companies. Subsequently settling down into a single track existence it then burned bright in the last World War (literally) before closing in 1946. Beautifully illustrated and containing extraordinary detail at this great remove in time, this lovely book is a real "tour de force" even by Brian's high standards.
Ian Pope and Paul Karau 234 pages Hardback 1992
A major work of reference and a beautifully illustrated book, covering the Newnham to Cinderford lines of the Great Western and all the associated industrial sidings, quarries and coal mines. The pictures are frequently stunning, and the coverage of coal mining in the area is very well done, including underground photographs, details of coal workings and of course all of the railway facilities and organisation.
Ian Pope and Paul Karau 200 pages Hardback 1997
Continuing on from volume 1, this beautiful book covers the Great Western's routes north of Bilson and the Churchway and the Whimsey branches. Extensively illustrated with a wide range of photographs, it includes comprehensive coverage of the coal mining and other industries which led to so much railway development in this small area. There are comprehensive plans and maps, including full signalling diagrams of stations and sidings.
Brian Hart 252 pages Hardback 2000
An immaculately well written and beautifully presented book on an exceptionally pretty branch line which ran for thirteen miles or so across the Weald from Paddock Wood on the Kent Coast main line. The whole story is recorded in exquisite and minute detail, from surveying and construction through the inaugural train to the "last rites", and there is even a chapter devoted to the hop - pickers and their special trains. Full scale drawings and plans of all buildings are included, as are track and signalling diagrams and the wonderful photographs cover every conceivable detail of the railway line - this is as good as it gets.
Brian Hart 168 pages Hardback 1987
A beautifuly written and produced book on one of the shortest branches on the South Eastern Railway. Built with double track and Continental aspirations, it was latterly truncated and singled and closed as early as 1951. Comprehensive photographs, track plans and scale drawings are included and there is a fascinating "bonus section" covering the Hythe and Sandgate Tramway and its travails.
Kevin Robertson and Roger Simmonds 164 pages Hardback 1984
Very few of these now left, an attractive and comprehensive history of the branch which ran from Newbury to Lambourn, famous for its racing stables. The book includes coverage of the line's early independent days, right through the GWR's upgrading up to the line's amazingly late survival into 1973 as a private line run by the USAF. This was to serve an enormous munitions store which had been connected to the branch by a new 2 mile long railway built in 1952. It is possible that the line would have remained in use for even longer had it not been for BR's perceived over-charging for pilots etc. for the last bit of working into Newbury station - a fascinating story well told.
Gerry Beale 220 pages Hardback 2000
A comprehensive and fully illustrated history of this delightful branch line, mainly as developed and operated under the auspices of the Great Western and British Railways. Being a picturesque line in a popular holiday area, the branch has attracted the attentions of various photographers over the years and this book is consequently very well illustrated. The earlier years and mineral workings north of Moorswater are also touched upon and illustrated, as are the various items of rolling stock used over the line. There are also a number of useful scale drawings together with detailed maps and track plans of use to modellers.
Mike Fenton 258 pages Hardback 1990
This magnificent book is the result of years of research by the author, including interviews with many railwaymen and their families. Apart from being complete in every railway detail, it is an excellent account of life and times as they once were in rural Wiltshire. This was the line which was cut back from Dauntsey to Great Somerford in a most unusual way prior to closure, owing to the late development of the Great Western's direct route to South Wales coupled with an early recognition of the need for economy. I have had a new dust jacket printed and so the unjacketed copies I found when I acquired Wild Swan have now become available again.
Paul Karau & Chris Turner 216 pages Hardback 1987
A comprehensive and beautifully produced history of a the short branch line running from Marlow to Bourne End, complete in every respect including scale drawings, timetables, locomotive allocations and signalling details Unusually for a Wild Swan book this last section extends into the contemporary period, as signalling of sorts survives on the line in its present form. Auto trains ruled in the latter steam period and are very well illustrated, as are all other aspects of this line and its operation. An appendix also details the sawmill and its siding installed during World War 2 in glorious detail.
David Bartholomew 238 pages Hardback 1982
Just found, a few new copies of volume one of David Bartholomew's lovely history, covering the whole line in great detail. Unmissable if this is a line that is of interest to you.
Peter Paye 152 pages Hardback 1988
An unusually laid out branch line in East Anglia, crossing a second railway route halfway along its length and with a number of interesting private sidings connected directly to its own route. Constructed relatively late, it was part of an unrealised Great Eastern contingency plan, but passenger services nonetheless lasted into the era of dieseliation, finally succumbing in 1962 with freight services lingering until 1965.
Ian Pope, Bob How & Paul Karau 158 pages Softback 1983
Reprinted as a softback in 2003, this first part of only two volumes published so far covers the history of the Severn and Wye from early tramroad days up until 1947. The photographic coverage extends into the 1960s but does not cover the later (diesel) years. The line from Lydney Junction to Parkend is explored in great detail and the book concludes with a useful selection of scale architectural drawings. Throughout there are numerous scale and signalling track diagrams and maps which explain the complicated developments of both main line and industrial railways. Industries and collieries along the route are well featured, including Norchard Colliery where the current day preservationists have established their base.
Ian Pope, Bob How & Paul Karau 200 pages Softback 1985
This second volume continues the photographic exploration of the first volume onwards from Parkend to Cinderford and includes all the minor branches and industries along the way. The collieries are particularly well explored, with photographs taken underground complementing the extensive coverage of the surface works and their railways. Scenes of heavy industy contrast with their rural setting and the charming narrow gauge Bicslade's tramroad. Although this book covers a very specific area it is one of the best available photographic references for the interaction between coal mining and other rural industries with the railways and tramways that served them.
Ian Pope and Paul Karau 174 pages Hardback 2009
After a very long wait, coverage of the mineral loop - a delightfully obscure piece of freight railway linking Drybrook Road in the north with Tufts Junction in the south. Largely disused from 1940, collieries along the line loom large with extensive photographs showing their features and operation well, less so for the more obscure ones but the whole is nonetheless a great record of a railway backwater from a lost age.