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A long lost lines - Paul Atterbury
A long lost lines as the title suggests is a fascinating book on the history of British railway and the lines that have been lost over the years. The main focus of the book is the 10,000 miles of lost lines closed but it does also touch on over areas too with the railway vehicles we have lost over the years, the tunnels which many have been buried in our landscape, signals, line side and much more. I love the history of our railway ever since I was a little girl and I walked the lines of the old railway where I grew up along with my nana now part of the Transpenne trail. I loved the mystery of it all and as I have got older it has grown. Whether it has been enjoying the wonderful old railway line of the North Yorkshire Moors at Pickering or visiting the national railway museum at York or even walking old lines like the Tissington trail and Monsal trail in the Peak District I have enjoyed the story behind it all and this book just feeds me more of the mystery behind it all.
The front cover of this book is made up of a nostalgic picture of an ideal old station one many of us picture when we think of the old beautiful stations. Yours eyes are immediately drawn to the public notice board which is positioned on the platform. It reads 'On and from 3rd November 1958 West Wycombe Station will be closed to passenger and parcels traffic' something I reckon became a huge occurrence at stations around the country in the 1960's!The cover gives a sense of history and intrigued me to begin reading it as soon as I received it as a gift.
The book begins with an introduction of the Beeching's report. The railways have been changing from the day they begun but this particular report shaped our railways in a huge way and if you are a fan of the history of our lines you will have heard of this report. It was the 1960's which changed our railway history forever and paved the way we see it today.
The book is split into seven sections, sections across the United Kingdom. This book covers The West country, Southern England, Wales, Central England, East Anglia, Northern England and Scotland. Each section contains some fantastic photos from across the country many from the past but modern day ones too. I love to see the modern day ones too, to see how deserted parts of the railway look now. The book interestingly tells you how old unused lines have hidden back into the countryside. Nature again reclaims back what belongs to it leaving some parts looking like there was never any railway there.
Taking you through what to expect within each of the seven sections there is plenty to keep you interested. Each sections begins with some fantastic photos of land as it is today with no signs of the railway or the little signs that are left behind to remind you it was once present. Then Atterbury goes into detail about some particular routes that were lost in that area. His information is again backed up by pictures and postcards. With what is really a small amount of text he manages to tell you all that you need about how the route came about, what it was used for and it's decline. For example in the Sothern England section he covers the lost lines of the Isle of Wight were there were several routes that were lost. But funny enough some were recovered like many lines today. In some parts of the country they have been revived as heritage lines whilst others work as they did before if shorter. In the Isle of Wight some parts have been revived some are now a preserved line and some has been turned into footpaths and cycle tracks. But much like all over the country has been lost.
The book also touches on many subjects throughout such as
* The tunnels and how many still exist in some way today.
* What some of the old railway carriages have become, not all were destroyed.
* An essential part of the network the signal boxes which are declining these days.
* Different types of wagons used and lost liveries.
* Engine sheds that many today have been abandoned as there is no longer a big use for them.
* Lost railway companies.
And there is so much more you are bond to come across something you are truly interested in.
I have fully enjoyed this book since I received it as a present some years ago. I have to admit on receiving it I did read it from cover to cover first time round. I became engrossed in the history and the romance that the railway holds. Since then I have picked the book up numerous times to look at the pictures and even read up on areas I may be visiting on holiday that particular year. I have found it an excellent information book. Paul Atterbury mixes the right amount of text with pictures. He manages to get the balance just right. There are so many parts of the book I really enjoyed of course I really enjoyed about the lines we have lost although I did feel a tinge of sadness at what our country has lost forever. I also found the fact that a lot of track bed from old lines still exists today with a lot of it being on private land. I like to think that there is prove of our history out there. One thing I have seen on my travels around the United Kingdom is viaducts that still stand and the pictures in this book show some of the best. Tunnels to me are a mystery and interesting points I picked up from this book is there was about 1060 made of which many are bricked up today. As you can see the book talks about our history but also of our modern day too which I loved. The photos that Atterbury using in this book are amazing I found myself spending ages just studying them you can get a lot from a single photo and this book is full of them. I most enjoyed the lost stations though, I am a romantic at heart and I found the old station fascinating.
A long lost lines is a great all round book. Of course it heavily tells the story of the lost lines but there is a lot about our heritage in the railway and a reasonable amount on the trains that ran on our lines. But please note if you are after a book that is full of extensive detail on all the engines this isn't the one. It was published in 2007 so I am guessing there will be more up to date ones then this one but if you can get a good price second hand I would highly recommend. As always Amazon market place have a few currently and it is well worth it.