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As the modernisation of the former British Railways moved forward into Railtrack and then Network Rail, various schemes to bring the West Country railway network up to date came - and went! During the last forty or so years, Devon has seen a variety of locomotives: the famous HST, Class 57, Class 66, Voyagers, and Class 158 and 159 DMUs, among others. Now the West Country is seeing the Hitachi Class 800 electro-diesels displace the much-loved HST, with a hope that they will improve journey times. With re-signalling on hold, again, the present infrastructure will remain, for the time being. This book aims to bring back memories of traction once common, or not so common, on the rails of Devon and will offer a visual comparison of what was once the mainstay of daily services through to the gradual modernisation of traction and rolling stock. Also included is a tribute to the HST in the West Country.
In 1968, Jimmy James was in his final year as a student at the University of Manchester and realised that steam, as a way of life, was coming to an end all around him. He set about recording this momentous changing of the guard through the lens of his father's camera, and the result is a series of immensely evocative photographs documenting the dying embers of the steam era on the railways of north-west England. Published for the first time here in a selection curated by transport author Stephen Heginbotham, the photographs offer a richly rewarding and nostalgic tribute to the final years of steam.
During the days of British Rail it was possible to purchase a Rail Rover type ticket for unlimited travel over certain areas or regions, over a single day, or for a longer period. While such tickets are still available, they do not emulate those early tickets and the romantic idea of cheap rail travel and adventures over the national rail network. Of course, these tickets were, and still are, popular for journeys into and within the West Country, because of the destinations and resorts within the area, but unlike in the early days of British Rail, many of the locations within this beautiful region are no longer connected to the national rail network. Here, Stephen Heginbotham uses the evocative photographs of his friends David Letcher, Nigel Rowe and Graham Pearse to take you back to an era when carefree excursions to Devon and Cornwall were commonplace, and train travel was more relaxed and an adventure, yet more civilised, with a stunning location at the end of the line.
As the modernisation of the former British Railways moved forward into Railtrack and then Network Rail, various schemes to bring the West Country railway network up to date came... and went! Consequently, the far west of the network from Plymouth to Penzance became locked in a kind of time warp of semaphore signalling and cascaded rolling stock. During the last forty or so years, Cornwall has seen the demise of once common classes of locomotives and the introduction of the famous HSTs, Class 66s and Voyagers, though journey times have changed little - mainly due to the nature of the route, but the largest hindrance to an improved service is the lack of signals. The signalling was over-rationalised, though the issue was partially rectified with minor upgrade schemes. This book aims to bring back memories of traction once common, or not so common, on the rails of the Duchy of Cornwall.