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Rails Through Barnsley (Hardback)

A Photographic Journey

Local History Transport History Yorkshire and Humberside Photo Books Colour Books Trains and Railways Barnsley

By Alan Whitehouse
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 136
ISBN: 9781473892712
Published: 13th December 2016



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Few people realise it, but Barnsley was once the centre of a railway universe. In Victorian times, dozens of competing companies put forward schemes to build railways across, through and around the town. Between them they constructed what some still regard as the most dense railway network in the country more complicated even than Londons commuter system or even the railway networks of our major cities. The reason almost no one knows about it is because many of the lines built never saw a passenger service. They were built for one reason: coal. A maze of semi-unknown branches served every colliery in the district and the network became so overloaded with coal trains that they even had to build a railway bypass around the town to prevent everything grinding to a standstill!

Down the years Barnsleys railway network became something of a backwater, ignored by many enthusiasts and photographers. So the full story of how the railways aided the towns prosperity has rarely been told. This book is an attempt to put that right by giving a relatively short but fact-packed history, looking at each of the railway companies that opened up the town and connecting it with what was going on in the outside world. It includes a collection of high quality images, many of which have not been seen before.

As the coal industry rose and fell, so did the railway system which served it, and this book will show exactly how it all happened and why.

Barnsley's railway history is complex if largely a thing of the past as that history was largely based on coal.

A recommendable volume

Railway and Canal Historical Society

An excellent book from a publisher which is relatively new to railway books.

The Railway Observer May 2017

An excellent account of railways in the Barnsley area.
Heartily recommended.

Friends of the National Railway Museum

I never knew just how important the comparatively little town of Barnsley was in terms of the railways! This superb collection of photos from the authors' own collections is utterly compelling. Mainly for enthusiasts, of course, but some of the photos will be of intense interest to social historians and the like.

Read the full review here.

Books Monthly

The visual documentation that accompanies the work is luxury, nothing more and nothing less than 172 black and white and 22 colour photographs, all of the highest quality.

A very interesting cultural work, and a jewel visually speaking.

Read the full Spanish review here.

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

Essential reading for any lover of Yorkshire's railways.

York Model Engineer March 2017

As featured in

Barnsley Chronicle

About Alan Whitehouse

Alan Whitehouse has been a lifelong railway enthusiast. Born and brought up around Barnsley, he took an early interest in the local railway network and quickly became fascinated by it.
His career spanned 40 years in journalism, working in both print and broadcasting, beginning at the Barnsley Chronicle and ending at the BBC, where he was for many years BBC North’s Transport Correspondent. Over the years he was presented with seven journalism awards.
He has produced many other books, including works on both the famous Settle to Carlisle and Woodhead lines, as well as writing the text for a children’s pop-up book on steam locomotives.
Now retired and living in North Yorkshire, he spends his time working as volunteer footplate crew on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

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