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Rail Freight (Paperback)

North West England

Transport > Trains & Railways World History > UK & Ireland > England

By Paul Shannon
Imprint: Key Publishing
Pages: 96
Illustrations: 150
ISBN: 9781913295813
Published: 3rd May 2022
Last Released: 28th July 2022



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This book illustrates the changing face of rail freight in North West England over 40 years. During that time the traction and wagon fleets have been almost completely replaced, freight trains have become heavier and less frequent, the amount of shunting and trip working has been dramatically reduced, and most small freight terminals have closed.

Perhaps the most striking loss has been freight from the oil and chemicals complex around Ellesmere Port and Stanlow and the former ICI complex around Northwich has lost almost all its rail traffic. On the Cumbrian coast, just nuclear traffic remains after the loss of coal, steel and chemicals traffic. However, not all the change has been negative: we now have biomass on rail, increased intermodal traffic and significant growth in stone traffic from the Buxton area.

Illustrated with over 150 stunning photographs, many of which are previously unpublished, this volume looks at the evolution of rail freight in specific localities, detailing the changes in traction, rolling stock and railway infrastructure over four decades.

Paul Shannon is, without doubt, one of the foremost experts on BR and post-privatisation rail-borne freight traffic, and these two new titles are crammed full of detailed information about the various flows and operations that have occupied train operators from the 1980s to the present day.

Both geographical areas - North West England and Wales and the Borders - have been rich in variety of originating, terminating and passing freight, with mineral, steel, oil, chemical and various other traffics. While there’s still much to see today, it’s also sobering to remember how much freight has been lost over the past 40years, and how many routes and locations are almost unrecognisable these days.

The photography throughout is excellent and, for the modeller, there are countless locations that lend themselves to being reproduced in miniature - the stone terminal at Northenden is just one example. The images also reveal lots of fascinating details concerning traction and rolling stock, from classic BR diesels to the ubiquitous ‘66’. Highly recommended.

Model Rail Magazine

About Paul Shannon

Paul's love of railways was triggered by taking the train to school in 1970. He developed a keen interest in rail freight and travelled widely to record the changing railway scene from the late 1970s onwards. He is the author or compiler of around 50 books, mainly covering different aspects of rail freight but also some general titles on railway history and infrastructure. He has also contributed more than 100 articles to enthusiast magazines and written around 40 DVD scripts, some covering railway operations in mainland Europe.

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