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Black Country Steam, Western Region Operations, 1948–1967 (Hardback)

Local History British History Transport 20th Century Trains and Railways

By Paul Dorney
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 144
Illustrations: 200 Mono integrated
ISBN: 9781399090322
Published: 30th May 2022

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The railway lines of the heavily industrialised Black Country were of considerable commercial importance to the fortunes of the Great Western Railway and its successor, the Western Region of British Railways. Nevertheless, they received little attention from both photographers of the railway scene and contemporary railway publishers alike. Perhaps understandably, photographers, particularly in the post-war austerity years, chose to eschew the grimy industrial landscape of North West Worcestershire and South East Staffordshire and save their expensive film stock for more idyllic scenery elsewhere.

The book seeks to redress that previous lack of attention, by presenting a significant selection of hitherto unpublished photographs, principally by locally based enthusiasts, accompanied by informative captions. Throughout the period from nationalisation to the ultimate demise of steam it follows the respective former GW routes through the region in a logical manner, depicting the wide variety of the locomotive power employed to haul the diverse traffic generated by the local industry, and the sidings and yards that served it. Coverage is also given to local locomotive running sheds and maintenance facilities.

Most of the featured lines have now closed, as is also true of much of the heavy industry. A resident from the immediate post-war years would find the area unrecognisable, but it is to be hoped that the book will rekindle memories of a landscape now lost forever.

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About Paul Dorney

Paul Dorney was born in Dudley and attended schools in Wolverhampton. After university, where he studied law, he worked for many years in Wednesbury and West Bromwich until being made redundant. Finding employment with Railtrack, later Network Rail, he worked until retirement as a signalman in a mechanical box in the Worcester area. Married, he has lived for many years in the city of Worcester, and volunteers in restoration work on former GWR carriages on the nearby Severn Valley Railway.

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