Today there is a nostalgia in Britain for the golden age of the railways, a period usually defined as the first half of the 20th century. Steam was king, and Britain still enjoyed a remarkably comprehensive railway network, a network whose tentacles connected towns, villages and even hamlets across the entire country.
At its heart were rural routes and branch lines, the latter often the creation of small companies driven by local needs and local finance. Firmly at the centre of British life, these lines were, for so many remote areas, a social and economic lifeline.
Today, branch lines are part of a lost world, an era when railway maps of Britain showed lines crisscrossing every county – many of which had distinctive, but also lost, names.
By bringing together old maps, images of old branch lines and modern photographs of relics that can be discovered today, this book celebrates a Britain of fond memories.
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