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Railways of the South East (Paperback)

Sussex and its Surrounds

P&S History > British History Transport > Trains & Railways World History > UK & Ireland > England

By Andy Thomas
Imprint: Key Publishing
Series: Britain's Railways
Pages: 96
Illustrations: 180
ISBN: 9781913870355
Published: 1st July 2022



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The first of two volumes covering the railways of the South East, this book focuses mainly on Sussex but also includes small sections of Surrey and Kent. It concentrates on locomotive-hauled traffic and details a wide range of trains including inter-regional passenger, parcels and mail, fuel, heavy freight, test trains, engineers traffic, Rail Head Treatment Trains, Snow and Ice Treatment Trains, railtour excursions and the luxurious Orient Express. An extensive range of different liveries, many now consigned to history on the main line, are shown.

There is also a small selection of DEMUs in some of the areas they once operated.

Over 180 colour photographs, the vast majority of which have never been published before, serve to illustrate some of the wonderful countryside to be found in this corner of England as well as the trains that run through it. They are complemented by informative captions detailing not only the trains themselves but also some of the infrastructure and features found along the routes covered.

These two volumes serve up a fascinating overview of operations in the South East from the 1980s to the present day. The Sussex volume is perhaps the most interesting, with plenty of passenger workings featured (including the lamented Virgin Cross Country services from Brighton to the north), along with an interesting variety of freight traffic. The Dungeness branch and atomic flask workings are covered in detail and there’s a pleasing mix of traction on display. Engineers trains aren’t overlooked either. Both titles are great for anyone with an interest in this corner of England.

Model Rail Magazine

Another release in Key Publishing’s “Britain’s Railways” series, this 96 page all colour paperback album is not quite what its title might suggest. Many readers will associate Sussex with its long-standing third rail electrification and with EMUs, but in fact the latter are almost completely absent from the book. The author instead concentrates on diesel (and electro-diesel) hauled trains as well as some of the Southern Region’s iconic diesel-electric multiple units, and the sheer variety of the images is remarkable.

There are infrastructure and test trains, revenue earning freight carrying oil, gypsum and nuclear flasks as well as a range of excursion and tour trains in both historic and more recent colour schemes. The photographer has taken full advantage of the many attractive lineside locations in composing his images, with several fine views of the Arun Valley and the Ouse Valley Viaduct as well as the rolling hills of the North and South Downs. Some photogenic stations and tunnel mouths are also featured. A full range of locomotive liveries is included, and all of these factors together have resulted in a very colourful publication showcasing some of the best of the photographer’s work. Recommended.

West Somerset Railway Association

Featured in

East Kent Railway News

The book has many photos of each model within each of their generation groupings and it will interest the growing number of enthusiasts who are at least treasuring the older units of both electric and diesel, especially with many now being saved by preserved lines.

EPB=Electric Pneumatic Brakevan (Electric Slam Door Train Preservation Group)

"This series of books packs a lot into the content."

BLN=Branch Line News-BL-Society Newletter No: 1410

Each of the series has a lot in, and this is no exception.

The photos in the book are taken between 1980 and 2016, and there a lot of them. The unusual locations of many will intrigue the reader.

Dana Wiffen - Branch Line News, Oct22 No 1409

This is a very handy book looking at the modern day railways of the South East of England with a close up view of Sussex and its surounds. A brief introduction to each line is followed by full colour photographs mostly taken by the author with well detailed and informative captions. This reviewer is pleased to see in the Ashford to Hastings section interesting rare views of nuclear waste flasks on the Dungeness branch.

Branch Line and Light Railway Publications

About Andy Thomas

Andy Thomas initially lived the majority of his life in Kent and then hopped over the border into East Sussex. He was educated locally and went on to college to specialise in business studies before entering the finance department of a local council. He has spent his entire career to date in local government, working for two neighbouring borough councils, the last 30 years of it in an investigative role of revenue protection and latterly running the specialised section. His interest in railways began at a young age and has remained firmly as his prime hobby and interest through life. Photography, mainly of railways, has developed over time and he has had a few photographs in various railway magazines over the years.

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