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Britain's Declining Secondary Railways through the 1960s (ePub)

The Blake Paterson Collection

P&S History > By Century > 20th Century Transport > Trains & Railways

By Martin Jenkins, Kevin McCormack
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
File Size: 143.3 MB (.epub)
Pages: 168
ISBN: 9781473860315
Published: 3rd November 2016


£6.80 Print price £25.00

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Editor's Choice

'Stunning historical portrait' - Heritage Railway magazine, August 2017

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This is an evocative selection of high quality colour views, each of which recaptures the lost age of Britain's branch lines and secondary railways, of which so many were axed following implementation of the 'Beeching Report' during the 1960s.

Most importantly, the previously unpublished views in this book are the work of one man, Blake Paterson, a professional railwayman, who was also an outstanding photographer who some forty-five years ago was determined to record as much of the passing railway scene as possible. He set himself demanding schedules and would often travel vast distances, sometimes using overnight trains, to reach the more remote comers of the rail network.

During this intense period of photographic activity, when he took thousands of colour slides, he followed his own strict rules. He would normally only take a photograph when the sun was shining and he would try to capture the train in its natural setting. For Blake, ambiance was paramount.

This book is a unique record of one man's railway portraits, featuring a wealth of locations, steam and diesel locomotives, DMUs, stations and station buildings, halts, signals, gas lamps, infrastructure, staff and passengers. Anything that was set to vanish, Blake felt should be recorded. His photographs provide a perfect pictorial record of so many of the lost splendours of Britains rail network.

Overall the book is well put together, with good quality photos as I’ve come to expect from Pen & Sword and informative captions. DEMU members might only find it of use however if they model the mid-1960s.

Kelly Harding, Diesel & Electric Modellers United, June 2019

This makes for a great, non-technical read amply illustrated.

Best of British, March 2018 - reviewed by David Brown

Image from the book as featured in

Evergreen, Summer 2017

A work of luxury that can not miss in the library of any lover of the railroads and a priceless documentation that recreates an era in all its splendour.

Read the complete Spanish review here.

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

Books of railway photographs are many, this is better than most.
Very good as a nostalgia inducing record.

Welsh Railways Research Circle No. 150

This is a stunning and atmospheric book. It captures perfectly the pathos of the dying days of the Victorian railway in Britain.

An absolute must for the enthusiast and modeller of railways.

Amazon Reviewer

Only rarely does a book come out with vintage transport photographs in colour and we should be pleased that during the Sixties, Blake Paterson toured the whole of the UK snapping soon to be forgotten social history. The magnificent result is this book.

Evergreen, Spring 2017

This work is likely to appeal to a variety of readers. These could include railway enthusiasts, especially those with a specific interest in Branch Railways within the British Isles. Railway modellers with an interest in transition–era railways of the British Isles are also likely to find this volume of interest, while transport, social and political historians could find the images (especially what appears in the backgrounds) useful in their researching.

NZ Crown Mines

About Martin Jenkins

MARTIN JENKINS was born and educated on Merseyside and has had a lifelong interest in all forms of transport, most particularly Glasgow trams. Starting in the 1990s, he researched, directed and narrated over 100 best-selling, transport-related DVDs for Online Video. He was the first chairman of UK charity Online Transport Archive, and is still a trustee. For much of his professional life he was a drama director with the BBC and today still works as a freelance director, lecturer and performer. He has now authored or co-authored over 20 transport-related books.

About Kevin McCormack

Kevin McCormack has written forty books on railways and road transport and is actively involved in preservation. He owns a Victorian railway carriage at Didcot Railway Centre, Oxfordshire and is a regular steward at the London Bus Museum located at Brooklands, Surrey.

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