qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Too Much Nostalgia

Book Review: The Trains Now Departed - Sixteen Excursions into the Lost Delights of Britain's Railways, by Michael Williams
I've really enjoyed previous books by the same author, so I found myself a little disappointed with this one. It's not that it's bad, but rather that some of his examples of lines that closed prior even to Beeching were plainly basket-cases from the beginning, and don't really deserve to be celebrated. But there are some good selections nonetheless: of closed routes, the Night Ferry, the Stainmore line, and the Liverpool Overhead Railway are probably the best. Other chapters focus on aspects of the railway rather than specific lines - named train services, the restaurant car, locomotives piled up in the scrapyard, and the demise of the Euston Arch. There's an interesting what-if posed implicitly by the chapter on the furthest reaches of Metro-land - could the Metropolitan line have become part of British Railways, with a mainline terminus at Baker Street, rather than being absorbed into London Transport? And, despite the title, several of the "departed" lines have had at least some restoration work by enthusiasts; indeed, the book ends with a chapter on the recently (partially) re-opened Borders Railway.
Tags: books, history, travel
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