Black Country Steam, Western Region Operations, 1948–1967 (Hardback)
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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The book seeks to redress that previous lack of attention, by presenting a significant selection of hitherto unpublished photographs, principally by locally based enthusiasts, accompanied by informative captions.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.
As featured in the article: '“Arrow Brettell Lane Station, 1961 Express” trundles into the station'Black Country Bugle
Highlight: 'An invaluable record of the final days
of the steam age in our region.'
Review as featured inBlack Country Bugle
This is another must have book. Containing many previously unseen photographs it covers the industrial heart of the Black Country. It brought back some happy memories of travel before deiselisation.James Simmonds